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Study: Eating pasta linked to lower BMI

Cup of regular pasta provides 6.7 grams of protein

A group of Italian researchers found pasta intake is actually associated with a lower body mass index.

The study, published in Nutrition and Diabetes, looked at more than 23,000 people. It found that those who enjoyed noodles were less likely to be overweight and obese.

Although Americans often see pasta as "empty calories," Italians use it as the basis of their food pyramid.

In fact, a cup of regular pasta provides 6.7 grams of protein, along with a small amount of calcium and potassium.

The researchers did not, however, specify how much pasta is ideal, or how much is too much.