Does pasta make you gain weight?

[Article updated on 19/09/2023]

Pasta is a very popular ingredient among most diners. Thanks to its versatility and ease of cooking, this typically Italian dish has become one of the most adored options in the world. Since it is mainly made up of carbohydrates, many people ask themselves the following question: does pasta make you gain weight? To answer this question, I will try to learn more about these foods.

Before reading on

I’m not an expert in this field, but I am passionate about nutrition and health.

The articles you’ll find on my site are the result of in-depth research that I’d like to share with you. However, I would like to stress that I am not a health professional and that my advice should in no way replace that of a qualified physician. I’m here to guide you, but it’s important that you consult a professional for specific questions or medical concerns. Your well-being is important. So be sure to consult the appropriate experts and take the best possible care of yourself.

A few words about pasta

Icons of Italian gastronomy, pasta is a type of dish generally made from durum wheat flour mixed with water or eggs. Rice flour or legumes such as beans or lentils are sometimes used. Pasta is divided into two broad categories, namely dried pasta and fresh pasta. Dried and fresh pasta comes in a wide variety of forms.

Different pasta
There are around 310 specific forms of pasta which are known by more than 1,300 names.

The origin of pasta is the subject of controversy. Historians continue to argue on the subject. Although the Chinese origin is the most commonly accepted, it must be admitted that the pasta may have arisen spontaneously in different parts of the world. The Arabs claim that it was they who discovered them in the East and made them known throughout the Mediterranean. Traditionally, the introduction of pasta to Italy is attributed to Marco Polo. It was the Italians who gave it international fame.

What is the composition of the pasta?

Pasta contains 75% carbohydrates. They also contain a small percentage of proteins (10 to 15%), including the famous gluten which can cause intolerance problems or celiac disease in sensitive subjects. I will also talk to you in more detail about gluten in my dedicated article. Pasta contains almost no fat.

Numerous studies have shown that among great athletes, pasta is the best source of carbohydrates. They represent the substrate which allows glucose to be best assimilated. For this reason, pasta is widely adored in sports. Many nutritionists recommend them to professional athletes.

100 grams of pasta contains a maximum of 75 grams of carbohydrates. These carbohydrates provide around 300 calories, an important but not excessive amount, since it represents around 15% of the needs of a person who develops normal activity. You can eat up to 100 grams of pasta per day, without fear of gaining weight.

The reality is that most pasta is made from durum wheat semolina (the richest of all grains). Therefore, the intake of vitamins and minerals is very interesting. Many pastas also contain eggs, milk, vegetables, protein supplements, and vitamin and mineral supplements (enriched pastas).

Does pasta make you gain weight?

To the question “does pasta make you gain weight?” “, The answer is no. A survey published in 2018 in the famous British magazine “Nutrition and Diabetes” showed that pasta consumption is not linked to being overweight. On the contrary, the consumption of pasta slims down. So, contrary to what many people think, pasta consumption is not associated with weight gain. It allows you to have a normal BMI, a slimmer waist and more balance between the waist and hip.

The fact that pasta does not make you gain weight has been demonstrated by Canadian researchers from the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Toronto and St. Michael’s Hospital. In this study, researchers conducted an in-depth review and meta-analysis of data from 30 ad hoc searches. More than 2,500 people were involved in these analyzed studies. These people consumed an average of 3.3 servings of pasta per week, as part of a healthy, balanced, low glycemic index diet.

Another study obtained results similar to those of Canadian researchers. This study, published in the magazine BMJ Open, was conducted by researchers from IRCCS Neuromed in Pozzuoli. According to his results, pasta is not the cause of obesity in certain subjects. Additionally, they are also able to reduce body mass index. Endocrinologists have recently praised pasta, noting that this food helps us relax and sleep. It promotes weight loss and is an excellent ally for good humor.

Eating pasta does not make you gain weight.

How to avoid gaining weight by eating pasta?

The most important thing to keep in mind is that they are not responsible for extra pounds. However, cheese, mayonnaise, most sauces (especially industrially prepared ones), and many of the condiments and accompaniments they are served with, can make you gain weight.

For many people, adding plenty of cheese and butter is essential. It is not a question of permanently banning these supplements. But, it is better to ingest them in moderation.

Desserts and drinks should also be included in the list of extra kilo generators. A simple glass of soda provides the same calories as a plate of spaghetti, without adding anything positive to the body. Therefore, it’s not the pasta that makes you fat, but the accompaniments added to make it tastier and more succulent.

There are other ways to eat pasta, other than the famous Neapolitan barbecues and carbonara sauces, etc. These are recipes also from Italy. But they are prepared in many other ways. Pasta, especially in summer, can be eaten in salad. A good vinaigrette with garlic, lemon and a few spices will be enough to make our dish very appetizing.

Does eating pasta in the evening make you gain weight?

It would be best to eat pasta during lunch, to give the body time to digest it. However, this is not a hard and fast rule. We can eat pasta for dinner. In fact, not only is it not a cardinal sin, but in some cases it can also prove useful.

This is the case for those who suffer from sleep disorders, for example. They can include pasta, as well as bread, barley and rice brown in their evening diet, at least 2-3 times a week. These foods are particularly rich in tryptophan, a substance that stimulates the production of serotonin. Serotonin is the hormone that promotes relaxation and improves sleep quality.