Is Pasta Good For Building Muscle?

Trying to figure out what to eat can be difficult, especially if you’re trying to achieve specific health goals. As you decide what to include and take out of your diet, one of the major foods that get discussed is pasta. When it comes to building muscle and putting on size, pasta can be a valuable part of your diet, as long as you include it properly.

In general, eating pasta can help you gain size and muscle mass thanks to its rich source of calories and carbohydrates. As with any other food, make sure you monitor your intake of it, or you’ll overdo it and gain fat instead.

There seems to be an endless number of different influencers, fitness gurus, and internet personalities that claim they have the key to being fit. While they may have some idea on how to be healthy, what they’re selling can be far from the truth of hard work and dedication. Read on to learn how to incorporate pasta into your path to building muscle.

My Paste with veggies
My Paste with veggies

Using Pasta To Build Muscle

While carbohydrates may be detrimental for those who wish to lose weight, the opposite is true for those who wish to gain muscle. People often focus on getting their protein in for muscle but seem to overlook carbohydrates at times.

Since carbohydrates are the fundamental energy source, they’re important to any athlete. However, any substantial size gain should be supported by an abundance of carbohydrates for the following benefits:

  • Restore glycogen levels
  • Prevent muscle loss
  • Post-workout recovery
  • Carbo-loading prepares athletes for upcoming workouts
  • And repairing muscles of any damage

Since pasta is full of carbohydrates, including it is a great way to fuel and recover from your workouts. Of course, adding lean protein sources, vegetables, and some olive oil makes it even more nutritional.

It should also go without saying that skipping out on any workouts makes carbohydrates counterproductive. If you decide for any reason to stop training, extensive carbo-loading should also be cut to avoid storing fat in the process.

What Nutritional Value Does Pasta Offer?

Pasta is heavy in carbohydrates, the macronutrient responsible for creating energy. While this is undoubtedly valuable, a few warnings must be made. Consuming too many carbohydrates and not using them means they get stored in your body as fat. This is counterproductive to most people’s fitness goals, even those interested in gaining muscle.

This is made even worse when pasta is cooked with oil or butter, packing on unhealthy calories. Additionally, adding heavy amounts of sauce and cheese leads to a meal high in carbohydrates and fats, but low in protein and fiber. Indulging in a meal like this too often can easily lead to unwanted weight being gained.

However, this does not mean that pasta is a lost cause.

Adding grilled chicken or shrimp is a great way to add protein to your meal. Spinach, tomatoes, and other fruits or vegetables also enhance the nutritional value of vitamins and minerals.

As usual, moderation is key, and it’s better to have foods complement other foods rather than throwing them out altogether.

Choosing Between Whole Wheat and Refined Pasta

Many would argue that pasta may be unhealthy, but whole wheat pasta is better and healthier. Whole wheat pasta does contain lower amounts of carbohydrates and higher amounts of other nutrients, including fiber.

On the other hand, the carbohydrates in whole wheat pasta are considered complex and take longer to be fully digested.

When it comes to losing weight, whole wheat pasta is certainly the better alternative. The lower amounts of carbohydrates alone make it the better choice. However, the alternative is true for those who wish to build muscle or work on their athleticism.

The carbohydrates in refined pasta are absorbed quicker, making them more useful for quick recovery from intense exercise.


Working towards your fitness goals is a long and hard road, so you shouldn’t cut yourself off from any tool to achieve them.

Of course, cutting out alcohol, candy, and junk food are good ideas, as they contribute to a decline in health and athleticism. Doing the same for real and ordinary food, however, is not so wise.

Pasta usually gets a bad reputation, as it can sometimes get paired with unhealthy ingredients and its carbohydrate count can be too much for others.

However, if you’re trying to build muscle, incorporating pasta can be a great way to energize yourself for your training and recovery. As long as you don’t consume too much, and add healthy foods with it, it’s an invaluable meal.

Read Also: How to Keep Pasta Warm After Cooking

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