The Unexpected Dinner Meal That Dietitians Say Is Actually So Bad For You

People eating food on a dinner table
People eating food on a dinner table
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Processed foods have become a staple in many people’s diets. Unfortunately, though, these types of foods can take a serious toll on your weight loss plans in the long run. That’s why you should avoid them as much as possible, especially if you want to lose weight, support your gut microbiome, or simply maintain overall health. In fact, there’s one especially unhealthy processed carb in particular that experts warn against if you’re trying to shed weight in your midsection: pasta.

To learn more about how pasta can lead to inflammation and belly fat, we spoke to Andrea Maxim, a licensed naturopathic doctor, master NLP practitioner, and weight loss expert, and Lisa Richards, a nutritionist. Read on to learn more!

Wheat Pasta Can Lead To Visceral Fat

Who doesn't love a nice old plate of pasta for dinner? This popular Italian food is undeniably delicious—but if you're not careful to eat it in moderation, wheat-based pastas can seriously hinder your weight loss goals. Richards and Maxim both warn that this processed carb can cause inflammation and lead to visceral fat.

The main issue here is the fact that most wheat-based pastas are made from highly processed refined carbs and are chock full of calories and sugar. "Many pastas today are processed and enriched which can cause inflammation, gastrointestinal issues, and ultimately weight gain," Richards, who was the creator of The Candida Diet, explains. That's why experts highly recommend avoiding refined carbs to prevent inflammation, weight gain, and digestive issues.

While Richards warns that even seemingly "healthy" types of pasta, like those made from rice or whole grains, can be detrimental to your health and weight loss plans when eaten regularly, Maxim says that pasta made from wheat is one of the biggest culprits of a stalled metabolism, gut inflammation, and visceral 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 explains. Maxim says that the body "really doesn't digest it well" because wheat is naturally inflammatory. All of this can impede your weight loss goals. Other foods and beverages that can lead to blood sugar spikes include baked goods and sports drinks.

Healthy Alternatives

We get it—pasta is too tempting to completely cut from your weight loss diet. So, if you can't bear to part with pasta night, the key is simply to choose the healthiest, high-fiber possible options in order to reduce inflammation and blood sugar spikes.

Maxim advises, "The healthiest, low carb, high-fiber pasta is made from konjac root," she says. She emphasizes that just one package of this pasta comes in around 25 grams of carbs while still having the shape and texture of wheat-based pasta that we all enjoy. Additionally, konjac root is loaded with fiber, which is crucial for weight loss.

Of course, it's also crucial to eat your pasta with non-starchy vegetables like broccoli, cucumbers, and carrots to really reduce inflammation, lower blood sugar levels, and lose stomach weight.

The Bottom Line

At the end of the day, the key to any healthy diet is moderation. So, while it's perfectly healthy to enjoy a plate of wheat-based pasta every now and then, it's still important to prioritize healthy whole foods if your goal is to reduce inflammation and blood sugar spikes and lose visceral fat. That's why experts like Richards and Maxim agree that cutting back on processed carbs like wheat pasta as much as possible is best. Your body will thank you for it!