Can Pasta be Healthy?

Authors in a recent scientific article evaluated the impact of synbiotic pasta. A synbiotic is normally a combination of probiotics and prebiotics. In this case, the researchers evaluated a combination of BC30 (a commercially available Bacillus coagulans) and B-glucans from barley given as part of a pasta to healthy overweight and obese adult humans.

Researchers observed that while the overall group was mostly not affected when consuming the test pasta (containing BC30 and B-glucans) compared to control pasta, the obese subgroup showed favorable weight management signs (lower hsCRP, lower LDL/HDL ratio, lower GGT, and lower resitin) after 12 weeks of consumption.

Interestingly microbiome affects were also evaluated. The test product elicited lower levels of Bifidobacteria and higher levels of Faecalibacterium prausnitzii in the obese subgroup.

Some Commentary:

Bifidobacteria reduction is not normally associated with improved health. However, both the BC30 and B-glucans typically elicit gut health benefits. It is likely there is deeper complexity behind this unexpected change. It’s possible that the addition of BC30 to the gut resulted in competition in healthy bacterial populations (ie, Bifidobacteria).

F. prausnitzii findings are generally in line with expected outcomes. Previous research has shown F. prausnitzii to be associated with improved glucose metabolism. Its route of action may be through its production of butyrate, a gut active short-chain fatty acid. F. prausnitzii has also been shown to be at higher levels in normal weight compared to humans with metabolic syndrome.

Continued understanding of gut microbiome changes will likely unlock better ways to address the obesity epidemic.

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