Why Do Bodybuilders Eat Rice And Not Pasta?

beef and rice
October 12, 2022 0 Comments

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In this article I will be answering the question “why do bodybuilders eat rice and not pasta?”. There are many reasons for this which I will outline in this article. It must also be said that both rice and pasta are great carb sources.

Both have very good utility in a bodybuilding diet and there are still some bodybuilders who do incorporate a lot of pasta into their diets.

Why Do Bodybuilders Eat Rice And Not Pasta?

The main reason bodybuilders choose to eat rice over pasta has to do with cost and convenience. Rice is cheaper than pasta – white basmati rice currently is around £2.50 per kg, whereas pasta is more expensive on the whole.

This is especially true for higher quality premium brands of pasta. Rice is cost effective when bought in bulk. It is also convenient in the sense that you don’t need to prepare extra sauces like you do with pasta.

Rice cookers can make the cooking process more efficient and it is easier to digest than pasta. You can get more servings of rice for your money than you can with pasta.

Bodybuilders Need Faster Energy For Their Workouts

The big case for rice is in the fact that it is easier to digest than pasta, rice has a higher glycemic index. The GI of white rice is around 80, whereas the corresponding number for pasta is 50-55.

Higher glycemic foods digest faster and the energy is more readily available to be used. Therefore bodybuilders can benefit from eating rice both pre and post workout for the fast energy.

White rice is a clean carb and all the glucose and starch it contains is available for glycogen synthesis in the muscles. Wheat is high in carbohydrate proteins called lectins. These proteins form glycosidic bonds with some of our own hormones.

This results in additional inflammation and can disrupt the endocrine system. Pasta can also make you feel more lethargic and sluggish than rice. 

beef and rice

Rice Is Economical And Convenient

Another one of the major reasons why bodybuilders prefer rice as their main carb source over pasta is down to cost and convenience.

On the whole, rice works out cheaper than pasta and you can make good savings buying it in bulk. If you own a rice cooker it can make preparation of rice a lot simpler and more convenient.

You also don’t need to make extra sauces like you do when preparing pasta. Stan Efferding, one of the strongest bodybuilders in the world, swears by rice and beef as the staple of his vertical diet.

The vertical diet is one of the best approaches to nutrition that bodybuilders can adopt. You can learn more about the vertical diet HERE.

The Case For Pasta

There is also a case to be made for pasta. Pasta is great for bodybuilders who want to bulk up. It also contains more protein and fibre than rice.

Pasta contains around 5g of protein per 100g, rice contains around 3g of protein per 100g. Pasta also has more fibre.

Whole grain pasta is healthier and it contains more vitamin E, vitamin B, fibre and healthy fats. Whole grain pasta has lower calories.

Whole grain pasta retains all the parts of the whole grain – bran, germ and endosperm. The endosperm contains 25% of the protein of the grain. Therefore you benefit from more protein with whole grain pasta. 

White Rice vs Brown Rice

When it comes to rice you can choose from many options. The most common is white rice and this is my personal favourite. There are some people who often claim that brown rice is healthier.

It is true that you do benefit from additional vitamins and minerals with brown rice. But, white rice is more convenient as it cooks faster.

In addition, the differences in nutrient content between white rice and brown rice are not significant. Brown rice does have quite a bit more magnesium though which is significant. Although, you can always supplement with extra magnesium. My magnesium supplement of choice is magnesium glycinate.

There is a good article from WebMD on the benefits of brown rice, you can read this article here.

Rice vs Pasta In My Diet

In my own diet, I only consume pasta once a week. For the rest of the week I consume rice pretty much every day. I prefer the fact that it makes me feel less bloated and I can digest it faster.

Rice is simply more convenient for me and cost effective. Pasta can taste better with the right sauces and additions but it takes more time for meal preparation.
I have tried both brown rice and white rice and prefer white rice. I may consume some brown rice if I go out to certain restaurants. 

Final Thoughts

Why do bodybuilders eat rice and not pasta? It should be stated that in many cases bodybuilders eat both rice and pasta for their carb sources. It is just that rice is more popular amongst bodybuilders than pasta.

This comes down to convenience and cost effectiveness by and large, as well as the fact that rice is easier to digest and energy from the rice is available faster. Rice is fantastic for pre workout meals for this reason. You can eat rice every day in multiple meals with no problem.

Rice and beef is the staple of Stan Efferding’s vertical diet. Other people like Matt Wenning are also big proponents of rice as the primary carb source. You can manipulate your carbs easily by simply changing the amount of rice you consume.

If you consume more rice then you will get more carbs into your diet. It is easy to track and measure. This is something about nutrition that is very important. If it is hard to track certain variables it becomes difficult to manipulate the macros in your diet.

If you have any comments on this topic please leave them below. As always, stay safe and enjoy your training.

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