The study also only examined Italians, who happen to eat pasta as part of a deep cultural tradition that's been around for centuries.
Food studies are an in-vogue marketing strategy
Barilla is hardly the first major food company to fund a study that shows its product is healthy. Coca-Cola, for example, came under fire for creating the now-defunct Global Energy Balance Network nonprofit, which released a couple studies promoting the idea that exercise was more important than ditching junk food for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Most people who have lost a significant amount of weight will tell you otherwise.
Extra-dark chocolate has also been widely considered a health-food staple, thanks to the antioxidant properties of raw cocoa. But there have been studies released linking chocolate's health benefits to things like sharper memory, better blood pressure, and heart health -- all funded by Mars, Inc., one of the world's largest candy companies.
Even foods that are widely accepted as good for you can have sneaky industry funding behind studies on their health properties. Take this review extolling the myriad benefits of avocados; all the way at the bottom, after heaps of praise for avocados' healthy fats and ability to aid weight loss, there's an acknowledgment that reads, "This review was supported by the HASS Avocado Board." Yes, there's such a thing as the HASS Avocado Board. Big Avocado strikes again.