Which is better for gaining muscles, pasta or rice?

When it comes to gaining muscle volume, we know that the contribution of carbohydrates is essential. Carbohydrates will allow us to recharge the glycogen reserves, which are the main energy in the muscle. However, many times it is difficult for us to choose which is the best source of carbohydrates, the best-known example being the doubt between choosing pasta or choosing rice.

At first glance, pasta and rice are very similar in their muscle-gaining effects. With similar calories and similar prices, it is honestly difficult to choose one of the two when planning our diet. In this way, we have to analyze each one more thoroughly, in order to determine more accurately which food is better for gaining muscle, whether pasta or rice. Keep reading!

Does rice help you gain muscle mass?

Rice is a cereal that has approximately 380 calories per 100 grams of weight. It has a glycemic index of 35, somewhat higher than other legumes or grains. Its flavor is quite delicious, plus it can be combined with many typical bodybuilding foods, such as chicken, eggs, or tuna.

This food will allow us to quickly replenish muscle glycogen stores, making it a good meal for training days. By having a higher glycemic index, we can fill in muscle glycogen right away, thus gaining volume and increasing strength.

Regarding its distribution of macronutrients, they are 86 grams of carbohydrates, 7 grams of protein, 6 grams of water, and maybe only 1 gram of fat. For this reason, it is one of the star foods in the diet of bodybuilders, since it allows you to gain a lot of energy by stopping training with reduced amounts.

Does pasta help you gain muscle mass?

Pasta is a wheat-based food, which has 360 calories per 100 grams of weight. Its distribution is in 70 grams of carbohydrates, 12 grams of protein, 10 grams of water, and 1.5 grams of fat, in addition to 5 grams of fiber.

Pasta is also complex carbohydrates, with a fairly low glycemic index of about 15 points. The pasta can also be mixed with foods such as tuna, crushed tomato, or simply eaten alone, with a little oil. It has a large amount of protein to be of plant origin, in addition to slow carbohydrates that will allow us to release energy more slowly, thus avoiding hunger and muscle catabolism at night.

In this way, the pasta becomes an ideal meal for the days when we do not train since the pasta will be released slowly and will keep the muscle glycogen stable during those days when we rest.

So what food is best for bulking?

All in all, we can say that both foods are ideal for gaining volume, as long as they are combined with a weekly training plan adapted to the physical conditions and needs of each individual.

The high glycemic index of rice makes it an ideal meal for before training, and especially on refeed days since it is almost all carbohydrates. As for pasta, it has a greater potential for the days that we do not train, since its low glycemic index and its union with proteins, allow a slow release of macronutrients to the muscles, thus avoiding the dreaded catabolism.


Shawna Anderson

Bsc in Human Nutrition and Dietetics from the Complutense University of Madrid. I love writing about nutrition and health and related topics. I have written for some famous newspapers and magazines for the last 6 years.

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