A surprising new study reveals that pasta, a food you've probably been avoiding, may be actually quite necessary to weight loss.

If a new study is to be believed, much of what you believed about dieting may be quite wrong.

The study claims that if you want to lower your body mass index (BMI), the long-villified pasta may be your ticket, according to the paper, which was published in the journal Nature.

Considering the popularity of the Mediterranean diet, which relies heavily on pasta, this may not be a shock to some. But most people who diet are warned off breads and grains like pasta because of its high carbohydrate content, and if the body gets overloaded with carbs they turn into fat.

The study examined 23,000 people at least 18 years of age. They found that its actually a good idea to eat pasta as long as its paired with vegetables, olive oil,, fish and lean poultry. So apparently, cutting carbs is not the be-all, end-all to weight loss.

The reality is that whole wheat noodles have a lot of good stuff in them, like iron, b vitamins, protein and fiber, so its not a good idea to throw out the baby with the bathwater and avoid carbs altogether because of a few extra carbs, the study found.

The key to making it work: portion control. Although theres no ideal pasta portion listen in the report, limiting your intake can help you avoid eating too much carbs and voiding those healthy benefits.

In popular views, says Licia Iacoviello, Head of the Laboratory of Molecular and Nutritional Epidemiology at Neuromed Institute, pasta is often considered not adequate when you want to lose weight. And some people completely ban it from their meals. In light of this research, we can say that this is not a correct attitude. Were talking about a fundamental component of Italian Mediterranean tradition, and there is no reason to do without it. The message emerging from this study, as from other scientific analyses conducted in the context of the Moli-sani Project and INHES, is that Mediterranean diet, consumed in moderation and respecting the variety of all its elements (pasta in the first place), is good to your health.