This photo is from my meal prep this week. For years, I have eaten the same thing for lunch: organic pasta with pesto and lean meat.
I have had MANY people say they wish they could eat pasta every day and not gain weight. Unfortunately, most people don’t understand that I’ve had years of practice to go along with my formal education in human performance in order to dial in my nutrition.
On the surface, a meal like my lunch may seem like an indulgent dish. However the real question is: Will it make me fat?
Get Rich Analogy
“Investing in mutual funds will make me rich right?!” ..Whoa, slow down there young lad. Just because you put your money into something doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to make more. There are many variables that weigh into the net outcome: How much did you invest? How long do you plan to hold before you sell? How is the rest of the economy doing?
Similarly, gaining (or losing) weight is a multifactorial change in your body. It is difficult to isolate one singular aspect of your nutrition as the sole cause of your bodily changes. Ultimately, our physiology is quite complicated. When people tell me that eating pasta makes you fat, I cringe. While it’s easy to make broad, generalized statements, health and nutrition are nuanced.
Quantity and Quality
Both of these concepts are important in food. I used to think that ‘a calorie is a calorie is a calorie.’ While this may be true in some scientific contexts. Lately, I’ve adopted a different mindset with my personal nutrition. I do think the quality of your food matters. As a general rule, it’s important to avoid putting garbage in your body. Pasta isn’t something that is made equally across the board. All over the world, grains are different. Quality is an important nutrition variable that most people overlook when they are trying to decide which foods to eat and avoid.
The quantity that you ingest is of obvious importance, but it’s worth noting here. If we’re sticking with my pasta meal prep example, I keep the calories relatively low. Because of my intermittent fasting, my pasta lunch is my first meal of the day. I eat roughly 3-4 hours before I go to the gym. Because of this, I don’t want to have a heavy meal. This keeps my portions relatively light and allows me to have a smaller portion of a food that I really enjoy.
People who are quick to give you advice on nutrition should be vetted before you trust their opinion. Just because someone has a six pack doesn’t necessarily mean they are qualified to tell you how to eat. Pasta, like many other foods, sometimes wrongfully gets a bad name. While it’s easier to pool certain foods into a ‘never eat’ category, it isn’t always necessary.
The nuances in your nutrition are important to understand and perhaps discuss with a trusted professional. If nothing else, don’t fall into the same trap as many others and demonize pasta.
Do you have a favorite ‘bad’ meal? Let us know what your meal prep looks like in a comment below and until next time.. Stay moving!