In addition to nutrients like protein and fiber, carbs are an important part of a balanced diet; they work to help fuel your body and keep you energized throughout the day. However, while there are plenty of healthy options out there that can help promote weight loss, it’s no secret that consuming too many processed carbs can take a toll on your health and lead to weight gain over time. In fact, there’s one especially unhealthy carb in particular that experts warn against if you’re trying to take inches off your waist: pasta.
To learn more about how pasta can lead to inflammation and belly fat, we spoke to Lisa Richards, RD, nutritionist and creator of The Candida Diet, and Andrea Maxim, MNLP, MChT, ND, licensed naturopathic doctor, master NLP practitioner and weight loss expert. Find all of their expert insight below.
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How wheat pasta leads to weight gain
There’s no denying that some good old pasta can make for a delicious dinner. However, Richards and Maxim both warn that this processed carb can take a toll on your health, leading to inflammation and weight gain when consumed in excess over time.
The main issue here is the fact that most pastas (especially wheat pasta, in particular) are made from highly processed refined carbs. “Many pastas today are processed and enriched which can cause inflammation, gastrointestinal issues, and ultimately weight gain,” Richards explains. Read more about the risks of refined carbs here.
While Richards warns that even seemingly “healthy” types of pasta (such as those made from whole grains or rice) can be detrimental to your health when eaten regularly, Maxim cites pasta made from wheat as one of the biggest culprits of a slowed metabolism, inflammation, and belly fat.
“Any wheat-based pasta will spike blood sugar, which causes more fat accumulation and creates inflammation faster than other versions of pasta,” she says, explaining that the body “really doesn’t digest it well” because wheat is naturally inflammatory. Yikes! All of this can stall your weight loss goals. Here are a few other foods that can lead to blood sugar spikes.
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What to eat instead
If you can’t bear to part with pasta night, all is not lost in terms of weight loss. The key is simply to choose the healthiest possible options in order to keep inflammation and blood sugar spikes to a minimum.
For the best choice, Maximum has some advice: “The healthiest, low carb, high-fiber pasta is made from konjac root,” she says, emphasizing that just one package of this pasta comes in around 25g of carbs while maintaining the shape and texture of wheat-based pasta that we all know and love.
Additionally, konjac root is loaded with fiber, which is crucial for weight loss. You can find more of the best high-fiber foods to eat if you want to shed pounds faster here.
The bottom line
Of course, at the end of the day, the key to any healthy diet is moderation. If you want to treat yourself to a plate of pasta every now and then, it’s not the end of the world. However, prioritizing healthy whole foods is one of the most important steps to take towards your goal weight—and that means cutting back on processed carbs like wheat pasta as much as possible. While it may be difficult, the results will pay off in the end.