In general, pasta is good for bulking because of how the extra carbs will help fuel your training and the multitude of nutritional benefits that it can provide!
It is mostly low in fiber and will not leave you feeling too full while on a caloric surplus.
Pasta is widely regarded as one of the staple foods for bodybuilding because of its affordability, ease of preparation, and how you can easily combine it with other ingredients to create a phenomenal dish – not to mention how great it is as an alternative to potatoes or rice!
The delicious taste and convenience factor are among the several reasons why athletes love adding pasta to their diet.
For many individuals in a bulking phase, pasta is their main source of carbs for pre-workout, post-workout, and even before going to sleep.
If you’re looking to gain muscle mass and wondering whether pasta is a good food choice for bulking, this article has all of the information needed to help you reach your goals.
We’ll break down all of the scientific data and share essential insights into the following topics:
- Nutritional facts and benefits of pasta
- Advantages and disadvantages of pasta for bulking
- Ways to effectively add pasta into a bulking diet.
Let’s get into it!
Table of Contents
Are There Any Nutritional Benefits of Pasta?
Aside from serving as a tasty and inexpensive food, pasta provides a wide range of health benefits for building muscle, losing weight, and raising energy levels.
You can easily prepare it in large quantities and effortlessly store it for a week’s worth of meals.
Certain varieties of pasta contain higher amounts of vitamins and minerals that help your body break down, use, and create new proteins to build muscle at a faster rate.
If you are somebody who is watching your cholesterol levels, studies show that pasta is an ideal choice as it is very low in fat and sodium.
Many pasta types contain B vitamins and iron which help your body function at an optimal level, making recovery potential significantly more effective.
Your calorie count is one of the most important aspects to consider when it comes to bulking up. If you intend to gain weight, you need to be in a caloric surplus – and pasta dishes can offer exactly that.
When it comes to calories, common pasta dishes without sauce can provide approximately anywhere between 200 to 500 kcal per serving. This number can either go up or down depending on the ingredients used.
The micronutrient profile of each pasta meal will ultimately vary depending on what exactly is in it.
Although most individuals do not traditionally account for the micronutrients in their pasta dishes, it is an essential component that should be noted.
While pasta isn’t typically associated with high micronutrients due to its white wheat flour foundation, it’s worth considering that most commercially available pasta is now fortified.
This simply means that additional vitamins and minerals have been incorporated into the pasta to increase its nutritional value.
Some of the key micronutrients found in pasta that can contribute to bulking include:
- Folate – This is an essential nutrient that is responsible for facilitating the formation of new and healthy red blood cells. The increased red blood cell production leads to an improved transportation of oxygen and nutrients to the muscles, which assists in muscle growth.
- Thiamine – Thiamine is a vitamin that plays a crucial role in helping convert carbohydrates into energy that your body can utilize. Increased thiamine levels can enhance glucose metabolism and assist in heart and muscle and heart contractions.
- Niacin – Niacin also plays an important role in the transformation of food into usable energy. It is especially beneficial for bulking because having sufficient energy for your training sessions is vital.
- Magnesium – This mineral provides several benefits to bodybuilding or those in a bulking phase.
It is a key part of different enzymatic processes and can help you get more quality sleep, which is essential for muscle recovery and growth.
Most of the macronutrients in pasta are carbohydrates, given that one cup contains approximately 37g of total carbs. This is a great option if you are bulking and require at least 50% of your daily calories to come from carbs.
Pasta is easily digestible and provides fast-acting energy that won’t lead to as much bloating as other foods.
It can also be a source of high protein, depending on the ingredients used! If it uses legumes as a base or is made with eggs, the pasta dish will be on the higher side when it comes to protein.
Pasta is also not very high in fat either. To increase the fat content of your pasta meal while on a bulk, all you have to do to add more calories is to incorporate fat sources such as butter, olive oil, or cheese.
|Amount per 100g
Pros and Cons of Eating Pasta for Bulking
To gain a better understanding of whether utilizing pasta in your diet plan is ideal, let’s take a look at the advantages and drawbacks of eating pasta while on a bulk:
- Carb Loading – Selecting the right foods that won’t make you feel too stuffed after eating is crucial when beginning a bulking phase. Pasta is one of the most practical food choices to add calories and carbs into your diet because it is incredibly energy-dense and excellent for those who have a hard time eating while on a surplus.
- Quick to Prepare and Affordable – Another notable benefit of pasta while bulking is that it is easy to cook and store. You can effortlessly make a batch for an entire week’s worth of meal prep in around 15 minutes. When compared to other carb sources such as Basmati rice, which is priced at 1.16 cents per gram, wheat pasta only costs around 0.61 cents per gram.
- Versatility – Whether it’s hot or cold, you can have pasta with just about anything! You can even add a wide variety of proteins and veggies to mix to create a number of creative pasta dishes.
- Not as Nutrient-Dense – Regardless if you are in a bulking phase or not, it’s important to make sure that you are consuming foods that are high in vitamins and minerals. While pasta is a great source of carbs, it is not as nutrient-dense compared to other whole-food choices such as beans, legumes, and fruits.
- Low in Protein – Generic brands of pasta are not very high in protein. While there are different types of pasta that are produced with a higher amount of protein, it is still primarily a carb source that you may need to add other sources in order to meet your nutritional bulking requirements.
How to Incorporate Pasta into a Bulking Diet?
Whether you are having pasta before or after a workout session, the type of pasta that will best suit your goals will depend on your required protein intake and personal preferences:
- White Pasta – White pasta is a practical option to eat before training because it is a simple carbohydrate. This simply means that it doesn’t require extensive digestion and can promptly supply energy
- Legume Pasta – Legume pasta is the best choice for bodybuilders seeking to raise their intake of plant-based protein. Ingredients like quinoa, edamame, beans, and chickpeas are typically used in their production
- Whole Wheat Pasta – Whole grain pasta is an excellent addition to daily meals because it offers a more sustained energy release compared to white pasta.
It digests at a slower pace which means that there will be a gradual energy release.
Tips for Cooking Pasta While Bulking
If you’re aiming to use pasta as an effective food source in your bulking diet and bodybuilding lifestyle, let’s dive into some tips and tricks to help you maximize its benefits:
- It’s necessary to ensure accuracy in your portion sizes and measurements while on a calorie surplus. You can effectively incorporate pasta into your meal plan by making sure that it fits the common bulking macro split of 25% protein, 25% fat, and 50% carbs.
- When on a bulk, it is highly likely that you will need to add an extra source of protein to your pasta dishes in order to meet your daily macronutrient requirements. Combining pasta with high-protein foods such as chicken, ground beef, turkey, and fish is a fantastic way to balance out your dish!
- While pasta is primarily a carb source, including a variety of other whole-food carbs will ensure that you consume plenty of necessary micronutrients. Some additional carb sources you can try include oats, black beans, chickpeas, sweet potatoes, bananas, and many more.
Most people understandably assume that protein is the sole macronutrient responsible for building mass, which is why they mainly focus on consuming beef, chicken, and fish.
However, the truth is that foods that are rich in carbohydrates such as pasta are just as essential for the maintenance and growth of muscles.
Incorporating pasta into your daily nutrition can be a healthy and effective way to develop muscle mass because of the overall macros and micros that it has to offer.
Adding lean meats and low-fat cheeses to your pasta dish is recommended to boost your protein intake, while including olive oil will help infuse a dose of healthy fats.
Staying on top of your overall nutrition is critical to staying fit and ensuring muscle hypertrophy while in a bulking phase. So it’s important to remember that carbohydrates such as carbs play an essential role in giving you the energy needed for productive workout sessions.
Aside from being a great food source for daily energy, pasta can also:
- Assist in boosting the immune system
- Regulate your digestion cycles for optimal levels of absorption and extraction
- Help enhance the nervous system
- Help lower blood sugar levels
- Assists in the absorption of calcium and prevents osteoporosis.
All that is to say: Dig in!