T Nation

Why Avoid Pasta/Carbs?


I have been doing well with my diet, lots of steak, shakes with oats, peanut butter, and weight gain powder, milk, etc...

However, with almost every steak ( or anything with meat) meal I have pasta with it...(not whole grain just regular white rotini) but I sometimes see people on here seem to have a carb phobia or avoid pasta unless it is whole grain..Am I missing something or is everyone just being a health freak?
I feel it is a great way to get my carbs on my bulk...I am tall and skinny (but not for long)so is pasta ok?


Go ahead and eat the carbs - you're bulking. Only avoid them is you are cutting or gaining fat at a higher rate than you are gaining muscle. If it's working, don't fix it.


some people dont respond well to carbs. If you do then great. If what your doing is working then stick with it.


Do what works for you.


This, especially as you've indicated you're bulking.


My only critique is that I think steak with potatoes would taste better.


The main reason people avoid pasta is to control insulin. Wheat products spike insulin pretty hard, which in turn promotes fat gain. Furthermore, there is nothing beneficial in pasta, rice, or bread that can't be gained from more nutritious carb sources like fruit, beans, squash, or nuts.

That said, do what works for you. Experiment with pasta, then try replacing it with different carb sources for a few weeks. If you're bulking, the insulin spike may actually be beneficial.


Many people do not respond to carbs, and there are a lot of training experts like Poliquin that espouse that gluten (a protein found in most grains) is highly inflammatory and should therefore never be consumed.

People on the pro-grains/pasta/bread side don't think that this is an issue. Also, some on this side are misinformed and think that carbohydrates are an essential nutrient.


For progressing in training in terms of strength and muscle carbs are essential.


Untrue. Tell that to the people on the Anabolic Diet, or other Caveman type diets. Carbs are not "essential" for strength and hypertrophy. When used properly can they get the subject closer to his/her goals faster? Absolutely.

The bottom-line is that your body is an adaptation engine. It grows muscles because it constantly finds itself in situations where it perceives its chance of survival will increase if it is better suited to lift heavy objects (i.e. by constantly lifting with progressively larger loads, your body will gain muscle).

Why then doesn't your body just make it extremely easy to grow muscle, I mean who wouldn't want the ability to toss around heavy objects? That's got to help from an evolutionary standpoint right? Wrong. The caloric expenditure required for maintaining such mass means that your body demands even more fuel and it is just not economical from an energy standpoint.

Wait what was I talking about?

Oh that's right. Adaptation engine. If you don't consume carbs, your body will learn to utilize other sources of energy. Carbs are not essential. I personally have a much better body composition without them.


Again, this entirely depends on the person.... Some definitely do not need carbs and they arnt essential. Others (like myself) actually end up with a worse body composition when eliminating carbs. ( I jumped on the low/no carb bandwagon and jumped right back off as it back fired big time for me.)

So really the best advice someone can give you is.....trial and error!! If it works, great! if it doesnt, you have learnt something.


Do you have any examples of people who built a lot of strength and muscle living on a low carb diet? I don't see a whole lot if any floating around.


steak with spuds FTW .not only that but spuds are a more natural option and for me i find them more filling .
i avoid pasta not cos of the carbs but because of the flour i avoid nearly all food with flour .


I'm an example. I stay 30g or lower carb relatively year round with a weekly carb up. I've bulked with zero carbs and bulked with carbs before and tend to respond much better to bulking without carbs. Should be able to hit an elite total at my next meet while still being quite lean.


Even if you are, there are very few people (at least on this site) who have bulked on very low carbs successfully and put on a lot of quality weight.

So why act like this is the norm?


I simply presented a requested example. I did not say it was the norm or even the best way for the OP or others. Just wanted to show that there are examples out there and that high carb intake is not necessary for strength and size gains, though it may indeed be beneficial for many people.


Is that why you look so tired rowing in your picture?
just kidding

But anyways, when you guys say "see what works best for you" what is the best method? eating alot of pasta and carbs and stuff for a few months, and see if there is no fat gain, etc?

Also, does it maake a difference if the pasta or carb source is white as opposed to whole wheat??


remember carbs dont make you fat carbs in the presence of excess calories makes you fat . i used to be carb phobic and ill never go back carbs are very usefull if eaten at the right times and in the right amount .


What does "do not respond" mean? Most people don't absorb calories from carb sources?!

What does "many people"? 5? 50%? 5 million?


Totally agree with this as is just common sense.
But also agree with the point that if it works, don't try to fix it.

I saw a news article about Michael Phelps and 80% of his diet seemed to be bread and pasta!!!
Of course he's an Olympian but look how ripped he is in the picture.

Here's an example of his daily intake.

""A typical daily meal plan in the life of Michael Phelps, looks like this:
Breakfast: Three fried-egg sandwiches loaded with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, fried onions and mayonnaise, two cups of coffee, a five-egg omelet, a bowl of grits, three slices of French toast topped with powdered sugar and three chocolate-chip pancakes.
Lunch: One pound of enriched pasta and two large ham and cheese sandwiches slathered with mayonnaise on white bread and 1,000 calories worth of energy drinks.
Dinner: One pound of pasta and an entire pizza and another 1,000 calories worth of energy drinks.""


Not sure about the zero carb mentality as have never tried it but you would be hindering yourself if not always doing what is best and works for you...
Plus I enjoy carbs too much to give them away completely.
Trial and error, trial and error, etc, etc...