The Italian Secret to Staying Slim While Eating Pasta

By Alexa Sooter | 2 July 2020 1449 views
does pasta make you fat

Here’s How To Enjoy Pasta Without Gaining Weight (Like The Italians Do)…

The Italian Secret to Staying Slim While Eating Pasta

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It seems like the last few decades have just been one diet trend cycle after another. One enduring trend, however… has been the idea that cutting out carbs is the way to lose weight. 

And for some people—especially those with PCOS—this can certainly help.

Whenever this advice comes up, however, a few groups of people always call carb-cutting into question.

One such group is the Italians. They are a people known for their love of pasta… and yet the average BMI of an Italian is markedly lower than that of an American.

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There are overweight people in Italy, of course. Some people simply carry more weight or react differently to the food they eat.

But Italians are, for the most part, thinner than their American counterparts. The reasons for this are varied but easy enough to pinpoint.

And with a little bit of work you can just as easily work these Italian habits into your life. Before you know it… you’ll be eating pasta while slimming down, too!

The Italian Secret to Staying Slim While Eating Pasta

The Content & Quantity Of The Pasta Italians Eat

The most obvious difference between American pasta eaters and Italian pasta eaters… is how much pasta they eat.

Americans tend to view pasta as the main course. We’ll coat it in sauce… and we might add some ground beef or sausage, too. But generally speaking, we eat pasta with bread… and that is our full meal.

Italians treat their pasta more as a side dish. While Americans eat 4 to 8 ounces of cooked pasta at a time… Italians will only eat about 3.5 ounces at the most (100 grams) according to Dr. Masley, M.D.

This is a huge difference—not only in the amount of food a person eats, but also the number of calories they take in and the food’s effect on their insulin levels.

Insulin is a very necessary chemical in your body. But when your levels get too high, you start craving food—sugary foods especially—to balance it out again.

If you eat the wrong foods, you can get caught in a cycle of highs and lows. This can cause a lot of weight gain.

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The amount of pasta Americans eat leads to a larger fluctuation in their blood sugar and insulin levels than Italians experience.

But it’s not just the amount of pasta we eat whenever it’s on the menu. It’s also how we eat that pasta.

As said before, Americans treat pasta as the body of their meals… while Italians treat it like a side. This means that when Italians eat pasta, their focus isn’t really on the noodles at all. It’s mostly on the vegetables and lean proteins that they add to it. 

That’s not to say that Italians don’t eat pasta with red meat… or that all-pasta meals are unheard of. But they are more like comfort food and eaten only rarely.

Standard Italian meals are much more focused on the vegetables and lean meats that are more common in the area. This means that their meals are lower in calories and higher in different nutrients.

Focusing on vegetables also has the secondary benefit of further evening out the Italians’ insulin and blood sugar levels. Vegetables are loaded with fiber—some more than others—and fiber is one of the best ways to control your blood sugar.

So Italians eat fewer calories in the form of carbs… they eat more fiber… and they eat more lean protein rather than the unhealthy fats of red meat. These factors alone could explain why Italians are so much leaner than Americans in spite of their more frequent pasta consumption. 

But there are even more reasons… and they go beyond the contents of a meal.

does pasta make you fat

The Way Italians Eat Pasta

Many Italians treat their meals as much more than a way to get food into their bodies. Meals are a time when they can enjoy what they are doing. It is a time for them to enjoy the company of those around them.

This means that Italians are focused on their meals. Americans, on the other hand, tend to be distracted while they eat.

This, unfortunately, can lead to weight gain. You have probably seen evidence of this when you go out or eat with friends. Most restaurants have TVs mounted in the corners… and even at home, some people will leave the TV running while they eat dinner.

It’s one thing to check your phone for a second or look something up before setting it back down. But turning most of your attention to something other than your meal and your company is a surefire way to eat more than you need to.

This is even true if you’re eating alone and trying to multitask while you eat. Yes, you need to read more or practice that new language or check the news. Just not while you’re eating.

When you multitask while eating, you pay less attention to the way your body is reacting to the food in front of you. You’re a lot more likely to eat until you’re stuffed… rather than simply “not hungry.” And if you do this regularly, you’re going to gain weight.

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Listening to their hunger cues is another reason the average Italian is slimmer than the average American. In America, we tend to clear our plate no matter how full it is.

This is because of a parenting practice known as the Clean Plate Club (that was an actual thing). Kids weren’t allowed to leave the table until their plate was clean.

This might cut down on food waste… but it also teaches kids to eat, eat, eat—even if they’re not hungry. As adults they continue this habit and eat, eat, eat—until they’re stuffed. Over time, this naturally leads to weight gain.

Rather than make your child—or yourself—eat until your plate is empty while still serving a standard American portion, start with smaller portions. Or, if that doesn’t work, use smaller plates.

If you or your child clears the plate and are still hungry… you can always take another small serving. But when you start with large portions, you’re already pushing yourself a step closer to overeating.

Small portions and permission to stop when they’re full—even with food left on their plate—are two more reasons Italians are generally leaner than Americans.

These habits… combined with knowing when they are full and should stop eating… are all behaviors that Americans can adopt to aid in losing weight.

does pasta make you fat

It’s Not Just The Food That Keeps Italians Slim

Of course, the weight difference between Americans and Italians cannot be laid entirely at the table. It bears mentioning that Italians are generally more active than Americans as well.

Even if citizens of both countries ate the same number of calories… Italians would burn more on average as well. This means they would still be leaner. 

That’s not to say Italians are obsessed with exercise. Only 2/3  of them get enough exercise. 

They do, however, spend more time going places on foot. They also have a habit of taking a walk after dinner… which aids the digestion while encouraging the body to burn off a few of the calories they have eaten.

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Americans, on the other hand, rarely go for walks. In fact, unless they live in a large city, it isn’t likely that they are going to walk anywhere.

And it’s important to note that while only 2/3 of Italians get enough exercise… only 1/4 of Americans do. That is a drastic difference. 

The Italian Secret to Staying Slim While Eating Pasta

The Takeaway

The difference in American and Italian waistlines might seem like a mystery at first glance. But with everything mentioned above… it becomes obvious that it all boils down to a few key concepts.

With a little time, effort, and patience… you can put these concepts to work for you.

Serve yourself smaller portions… and refocus your meals on vegetables and lean meat rather than the pasta or other starchy carb. Add more fiber to your diet and reduce the amount of sugar you eat so that your insulin levels stay steadier.

Turn off distractions while you eat. A little music and good company is fine… but skip the TV, the news report, and the new book you’re reading. After dinner, take a stroll around the neighborhood to keep your body running and aid your digestion.

Some of these tips aren’t easy to work in when you live a busy life. Work, school, and extracurricular activities all take up precious time.

But if you put in the energy to instill these habits in you and your family, there is a good chance you will see improvement in your weight… your relationship to food… and even your mood.

And that makes the investment more than worth the effort!

The “Sweet Carb-Burning Treat” Italians Eat That Keeps Them From Gaining Weight

This is probably the biggest “takeaway” you’ll get from Italians as far as staying slim while eating carbs… and it’s certainly the most delicious. 🙂

If you’ve ever been to Italy… you’ve probably noticed the stunning architecture… the art… the beautiful, thin people… the mouth-watering pasta dishes that you dream of for years after… 

And if you look closely… there’s something else they have a TON of in Italy that we don’t in the U.S.:

Fruit carts!

Italians love eating fruit… and they often scarf fruit down immediately before and after meals…

And when an Ivy League doctor looked into the specific fruits Italians eat most… he made a shocking discovery:

The 5 fruits Italians eat most contain potent compounds that actually burn carbs and fat!

These compounds are called “Flavonoids”… and they work on the cellular level to break down carbs and fat quickly… before they get stored in fat deposits.

This Ivy League doctor had a short, free video made that will show you:

  • What these 5 “fat-burning fruits” are
  • How much of each to eat, and
  • The optimal time to eat them for MAXIMUM weight loss

I like weight loss strategies that include me eating more delicious things. These fruits are a delicious way to keep going strong with your weight loss goals!

Simply click the link below to see which delicious, carb-burning fruits to eat more of & start enjoying your favorite carbs again as soon as tonight:

Click Here To See The 5 Delicious Fruits You Should Add To Your Diet To Start Burning Carbs (And Losing Weight)