Pasta is one of those few foods that is universally agreed upon as being delicious. This dish is synonymous with Italian culture, yet legend states that the explorer Marco Polo first imported pasta to Italy – from China! However, wherever this delicacy originated – it’s fair to say that the Italians certainly mastered it. And thankfully, the rest of the world has since been introduced to it we now get to enjoy it on a fairly regular basis.
When it comes to eating for physique goals however, pasta can be both your worst enemy and your best friend, depending on whether your looking to bulk up or lean out. There are numerous reasons for this – and it’s important that you know them.
1. White Pasta is a Simple Carb.
White pasta is refined & milled by manufacturers turning it into a fingerless, calorie-dense products with a much-higher glycemic index than it should have. It’s far more popular than the wholegrain pasta due to its texture and taste. Now there are plenty of studies on groups eating simple carbs vs complex carbs resulted in very little difference in weight gain/loss – there are some undeniable scientific facts that need to be taken into consideration.
Foods such as simple carbohydrates that are quickly digested in the body and do not stay in the stomach for a long time. This means they can contribute to over-eating. Whole-grains leave you fuller and more satisfied for longer!
We’d always recommend opting for wholegrain pasta – but if you’re looking to pack in calories, then all kinds of pasta are acceptable. The real issue is when you’re looking to tone up and lean out. You want to feel as full and as satisfied for as long as possible – but white pasta just won’t do this for you as well as it should.
2. Pasta is Calorie-Dense.
When cutting or toning up, we ideally want to be eating foods that are voluminous that contain as little calories per 100g as possible. Pasta unfortunately, is one of the most calorie-dense sources of carbohydrates there is. When looking to lean out, in order to satisfy your hunger & appetite, we’d recommend opting for white potato or sweet potato as your source of carb rather than pasta. You’re looking at a difference of 250g of food each time. This means a lot to people on a strict diet!
On the flip-side – pasta is a fantastic source of carbohydrates for those looking to pack on mass. Bulking and training intensely can mean you will need 400g of carbs plus for some people, and fitting all these in can be an issue. If you’re sticking to using sweet potato as your source of carbs, you’re looking at putting away two kilos of it daily – versus just over 500g of pasta.
3. You need to eat it with a Sauce.
Who eats plain pasta? Not us anyway! We love smothering our dishes in delicious sauces, but unfortunately, sauces contain calories, sugars, fats… the list goes on. So therefore, it’s important to make a wise decision when electing for a sauce.
One of the all time favourite pasta dishes is the legendary carbonara. The original carbonara was created with egg white & parmesan, but the Irish version sees the eggs replaced with cream – and a whole lot more calories. For those struggling to get their calories in, and those who require very high calorie diets, this is not too much of an issue, but it certainly is for those on restricted diets.
Our vote: eat it with a tomato-based sauce, preferably a home-made one. You’ll be shocked at how little calories are in jars of tomato-based sauces, but there will be preservatives & chemicals in them. We make our own sauces here in Clean Cut Meals, that take no time to prepare, and are simply a blend of vegetables & spices – and a very small amount of sugar to keep you happy.