Many commercial, processed food items can make you gain weight. The big question is – does pasta figure into the equation? Pasta has loved the world over, especially Italian pasta, so it makes sense that people want to know if it eating pasta regularly can cause unwanted weight gain.
Does Pasta Increase Weight?
Before we answer this question, it’s essential to understand first how weight gain occurs first. Weight gain occurs for many reasons. While a person’s diet is the number one cause, other potential problems may cause sudden weight gain.
Some of the well-known conditions that trigger this physiological event include hypothyroidism, clinical depression, insomnia, menopause, Cushing’s disease, polycystic ovarian syndrome or PCOS, and congestive heart failure. Now, if you don’t have any of these conditions, then it’s likely that the culprit in your weight gain is consuming too many calories.
This brings us to the original question, which is a complex one because nutrition is multi-faceted. Many factors affect how much any type of food causes weight gain over some time.
Some experts believe that in a healthy and well-balanced diet, pasta isn’t necessarily the odd one out. According to researchers, pasta may be made from more refined grains, but on the whole, they still occupy a low rung in the glycemic index.
The glycemic index is a measure of how much food causes a spike in a person’s blood sugar level. The GI score or extent of any food is influenced not just by the composition of the food but also by preparing and cooking.
Whole grain pasta, for example, has a glycemic index of 37, which is lower than other pasta types that have a glycemic index of 45 or 53. Some kinds of pasta can have a glycemic index of 75 or even more.
We can confidently say that if you select whole wheat pasta and you keep your consumption under control, the pasta will not cause you to gain weight uncontrollably. Other food and beverages might do that, especially soda and other sugared drinks.
Is Pasta Bad for You When Trying to Lose Weight?
As we have discussed earlier, it is not likely for a person to gain weight by eating pasta alone. If you have been eating pasta regularly for years and you suddenly start gaining weight, it might be a good idea to begin evaluating what else you eat so you can get a survey of your total calories for the day.
One or two servings of pasta per day are fine, and it is even better when you are a little picky with the kind of pasta that you cook at home. Whole grain pasta is more appropriate for people who want to eat pasta regularly but do not need or want the high GI spike brought by some types of flour.
Pasta is categorized as having moderately high caloric content. This being the case, it can add around 500 calories of extra energy to your total caloric consumption per day. It is packed with calories, which is a double-edged proposition if you think about it.
If you exercise regularly or physically active without even trying it, perhaps the extra 500 calories from pasta won’t make a dent in your goal to remain at a certain weight or lose weight. However, suppose the expended calories are lower than what you are eating. In that case, the excess calories will eventually end up as fat, especially if you have a high-calorie and high-carbohydrate diet.
What Foods Make You Gain Weight?
Let’s say you want to be careful about your weight and you are now only realizing that food choices influence weight gain or weight loss. Or perhaps you are underweight or have started exercising a lot, and as a result, you need more energy. Either way, below are food items that are considered top contenders for adding weight to the body.
- Cereals and bread are definitely on the top of our list when it comes to increasing body weight. Cereals and bread have always been packed with a ton of energy and sugar, and for the most part, they provide so much power in small packages. This means that if you continue eating food items like bagels, you can quickly gain weight.
- Noodles and pasta can also contribute to weight gain if you eat more than what you usually consume. Again, it’s all about the portions. Pasta can be a part of a great diet and not cause you to gain weight, and it can also be used as a nutrient-dense food item for gaining weight. Some people need to gain weight for medical reasons, so we are not entirely shutting out that possibility.
- Dried fruit products are the horror of some nutritionists because they are packed with sugar. There is the natural sugar content of the dried fruit, and then you have the added sugar that manufacturers add to make the final product more pleasing to consumers. Either way, you will get a ton of calories from a single bag of dried fruit. This is also a far better choice than chocolates and other conventional sweets or candies.
- Oils can add pounds in a short period. Suppose you wish to gain weight for medical reasons. In that case, we recommend that you choose healthier oil variants such as olive oil and avocado oil as these fats provide additional heart-healthy benefits on top of the calories. However, keep in mind that calories are still calories, so if you end up overeating, well, you will gain weight.
- And finally, we have seeds and nuts. Tiny as they may be, seeds and nuts are known for having copious amounts of oils and protein, which means you are getting hundreds of calories per serving. They’re a healthier choice for gaining weight or if you need more energy for exercise.