Big Pasta

Pasta’s good for you (say pasta companies)

How much should big companies get involved with research that helps them sell stuff?

This month we found out eating pasta is actually good for us. Now we can't be so sure.

What it means: Pasta's got itself a bit of a bad rep. Fashion for high-protein, low-carb diets means those delicious lumps of pure carb have fallen out of favour. It's bad news for us, and bad news for pasta manufacturers. Until halleluljah! A piece of research was published linking eating pasta to weight loss. It went viral on a couple of news sites. We all rejoiced.

What the news sites didn't report is that three of the scientists involved in the research had 'financial conflicts-of-interest' – which basically means they may have been getting a few bucks for saying the right things (right according to the person paying them).

One of them was linked to one of the world's biggest pasta companies, Barilla. According to Buzzfeed, Barilla has outright paid for at least 10 studies which talk about the benefits of eating pasta. Barilla also sponsors big scientific conferences about nutrition and pasta.

The question here isn't about whether or not pasta is good for you (in fact, lots of very trusty people think it is in moderation) – it's about how much influence big businesses should have over research when their primary aim isn't to make us healthier, it's just to sell more stuff.

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