WASHINGTON — A letter from the grains industry to the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee used a series of pasta research studies to further demonstrate the healthfulness of grain-based foods.

While the research has not been published, abstracts presented from four studies demonstrate that pasta consumption is associated with higher diet quality, including higher intake of whole grains, total vegetables and a number of key nutrients. Additionally, lower body weights and reduced waist circumference were seen in adult females who consumed more pasta. No association was seen between body weight and pasta consumption in adult men.

The letter was addressed to Kristin Koegel of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service, Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion and updated the Grain Chain’s comments to the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee.

A second study found that pasta consumption was associated with higher dietary quality in children, including intake of vegetables and key nutrients, lower intake of sugar and saturated fat than was the case for children who do not consume.

The third study found that pasta consumption is associated with improved intake of many foods encouraged in the dietary guidance, including higher intake of vegetables, tomatoes and whole grains in the U.S. adult population. At the same time, pasta intake is linked to lower intake of solid fat. For children, findings were similar.

In a fourth study, pasta consumption was associated with improved nutrient adequacy and increased dietary fiber, whole grains and vegetable consumption in U.S. adults.

Each of the studies was conducted by Yanni Papanikolaou, vice-president, nutrition, Nutritional Strategies, Inc., Toronto.