Is Vermicelli Good for Weight Loss?Does it Cause Weight Gain? Let’s Find Out!

Dr. Pakhi Sharma (MBBS)
Dr. Pakhi Sharma (MBBS)

General Physician | 6+ years

vermicelli Good for Weight Loss
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It would be fair to say that vermicelli is a popular and favourite breakfast food in South India. Our very own semiya or sevai is a versatile ingredient that can be used to make delicious sweet and savoury dishes. However, is vermicelli good for weight loss? Does it have any nutritional value? Can you include it in a weight loss diet? Keep reading to find out!

Contents:
  • blog_single_bullet_icon
    What is Vermicelli Made up of?
  • blog_single_bullet_icon
    Vermicelli: Nutritional Profile
  • blog_single_bullet_icon
    What are the Different Types of Vermicelli?
  • blog_single_bullet_icon
    What are the Pros and Cons of Vermicelli for Weight Loss?
  • blog_single_bullet_icon
    How Much and How Frequently Can You Eat Vermicelli to Maintain Your Weight?
  • blog_single_bullet_icon
    What is the Best Time to Eat Vermicelli for Weight Loss?
  • blog_single_bullet_icon
    How to Eat Vermicelli for Weight Loss?
  • blog_single_bullet_icon
    What are the Risks of Overconsumption of Vermicelli?
  • blog_single_bullet_icon
    Are There Any Health Benefits of Eating Vermicell
  • blog_single_bullet_icon
    Don’t Have Time To Read?
  • blog_single_bullet_icon
    FAQs
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What is Vermicelli Made up of?

Vermicelli was originally made in Italy, as a type of pasta that is thinner than spaghetti. It is generally made with refined flour or maida, water, and salt. Vermicelli is known around the world by different names, and the ingredients made to use it may vary from country to country. 

In India, vermicelli is known as seviyan, semiya, shemai, sevai, shavige, and many other names depending on the state. Most commercially available vermicelli in India is made of refined flour or semolina (also known as rava or sooji, made of coarsely ground wheat). In South-East Asian countries like Vietnam, Thailand, and Singapore, vermicelli noodles are made of rice flour. 

Vermicelli: Nutritional Profile

Vermicelli has a very high carbohydrate content, and is high in calories when compared to other breakfast foods like daliaoatmeal, or poha. It has a moderate amount of protein and fibre, with little to no other micronutrients present. The calories in vermicelli can be considered empty as they have almost no nutritional value.

The following is the nutritional profile for 100 g of uncooked vermicelli.

Nutrient

Amount

Energy

360-380 kcal

Protein

10.5 g

Total Fat

  • Saturated
  • Monounsaturated
  • Polyunsaturated

1 g

0.2 g

0.1 g

0.6 g

Carbohydrate

82.5 g

Fibre

2.5 g

Calcium

2 mg 

Sodium

0 mg

Potassium

0 mg

Iron

2 mg

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What are the Different Types of Vermicelli?

The following types of vermicelli are available around the world:

  • Refined Flour

This is the most common and widely available type of vermicelli. Refined flour is made from ground wheat that is sieved to remove the husk and then bleached. This process removes most of its nutritional value. Refined flour has a high glycaemic index (GI) score and is high in calories. Vermicelli made from whole wheat flour has a slightly higher vitamin B-complex content. 

  • Semolina

Semolina is made from coarsely ground durum wheat. Vermicelli made from semolina has a slightly higher nutritional value as it has more essential minerals and B-complex vitamin content. Its calorie content, however, is equal to that of refined flour vermicelli.

  • Rice

Rice noodle vermicelli is popular in South-East and East Asia. It is made of rice flour, which is equally high in carbohydrate and calorie content as refined flour, but has higher amounts of trace minerals like selenium, manganese, and zinc. It is gluten-free.

  • Soya

Vermicelli made from soybean flour is slightly lower in calories but has a similar carbohydrate content to refined flour and rice flour vermicelli. It is a gluten-free option that has some trace minerals like copper and zinc.

  • Sweet Potato

Starch from sweet potatoes is used to make “glass noodles” or vermicelli in Korea. It is a gluten-free version but has a high GI score. It is slightly lower in calories.

  • Millet

Made from different types of millets, this variation of vermicelli is equally high or higher in calories and carbohydrates when compared to refined flour or semolina vermicelli, but may have a lower GI score. However, it does have some nutritional value as it has a decent amount of essential mineral content. There are various types of millet vermicelli available, made from foxtail millets, finger millets (ragi), little millets, etc.

What are the Pros and Cons of Vermicelli for Weight Loss?

  • Pros

      • It is a versatile food to which you can add various protein or fibre-rich ingredients.
      • It has a moderate amount of protein and fibre, which can keep you feeling full for some time
  • Cons

      • It is high in simple carbohydrates, and thus high in calories. Regular or excessive consumption can lead to weight gain.
      • The carbohydrates can be considered empty as vermicelli has almost no nutritional value. A good diet filled with essential minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants is crucial for weight loss.
      • As most types of vermicelli have a high GI score, they can cause blood sugar spikes, which can promote sugar cravings, hunger, and overeating.

As the cons outweigh the pros, eating vermicelli is not advisable if you are on a weight loss diet. 

How Much and How Frequently Can You Eat Vermicelli to Maintain Your Weight?

Ragi, though more filling, is a relatively calorie-rich grain when compared to others like jowar (sorghum), bajra (pearl millet), or rice. Consumption of a moderate amount of ragi may help you maintain a healthy weight. 

It is best to limit your consumption of ragi and other whole grains to a total of three servings a day. Each serving size is roughly 15 to 16g of uncooked ragi grains or flour. This roughly amounts to 45 to 50g of uncooked ragi grains or flour a day.

What is the Best Time to Eat Vermicelli for Weight Loss?

To balance out the empty calories in vermicelli, make vermicelli upma (around 240 kcal in a 120 g serving) by adding lots of veggies to make it a fibre-rich and filling breakfast dish. Vermicelli noodle soup, pasta, or pulao with added protein such as paneer, tofu, chickpea, etc. can make for a satiating dinner. Remember to exercise portion control in order to avoid weight gain.

How to Eat Vermicelli for Weight Loss?

  • When making vermicelli upma or vermicelli pulao, up the nutritional value of your dish by adding plenty of fresh vegetables like carrots, beans, peas, broccoli, onions, tomatoes, corn, etc.
  • When making vermicelli pasta, try using a healthier sauce with fresh vegetables, such as basil pesto or tomato sauce, along with low-calorie cheeses.
  • Try making a South-East Asian style vermicelli noodle soup and add healthy sources of protein like fish, chicken, tofu, or paneer to round up the dish.
  • Limit the use of fats like oil, ghee, butter, or cheese while cooking, and use healthier versions of vermicelli made of millets such as ragi.

What are the Risks of Overconsumption of Vermicelli?

As most commercially available vermicelli is high in simple carbs and empty calories, eating too much of it can lead to weight gain. Vermicelli is also high on the glycaemic index, which makes it a not-so-ideal breakfast option for diabetics.

Are there any Health Benefits of Eating Vermicelli?

As vermicelli is a processed food composed of refined flour or other simple carbohydrates, it does not have many health benefits per se. It is, however, low in fats, cholesterol, and sodium, and is easy to digest. 

Don’t Have Time To Read?

  • Vermicelli is a type of thin pasta that is widely available and used around the world.
  • Vermicelli is commonly made from refined flour, semolina, and rice flour, but gluten-free variations made from soybean, sweet potato starch, millets, etc. have also gained some popularity.
  • Vermicelli has a very high simple carbohydrate content, with moderate amounts of protein and fibre. It has no mineral, vitamin, or antioxidant content, and is high in empty calories.
  • As it is high in carbohydrates, regular consumption can lead to weight gain.
  • If you are on a weight loss diet, limit your consumption of vermicelli to one serving (140 g) once a week.
  • Add plenty of vegetables and protein sources (fish, chicken, tofu, paneer, etc.) to your vermicelli dishes to make them more nutritious and filling.
  • Most forms of vermicelli have a high glycaemic index (GI) score and can cause blood sugar spikes. Thus, they should be avoided by diabetics.
  • Vermicelli is low in fats, cholesterol, and sodium, and is easy to digest.
  • Use the Phable Care App to consult India’s leading nutritionists and dieticians to get real-time remote care from the comfort of your home. Check out our store to order healthy treats, weighing scales, fitness bands, and more! We also have a Weight Management Program which provides 360º care. Start your weight management journey with Phable.

Frequently Asked Questions

As vermicelli is a high-calorie food rich in simple carbohydrates, it is not a good meal option for weight loss.

As vermicelli is high in simple carbohydrates, it is not a good meal option if you are trying to lose weight. Adding a lot of vegetables and protein sources to your vermicelli upma can improve its nutritional profile, though it is still best consumed sparingly and in moderation.

Though semolina vermicelli is made from a healthier source (i.e. durum wheat) when compared to refined flour, it is not effective for weight loss as its calorie count is similar to vermicelli made from refined flour.

Vermicelli is a high-carb and high-calorie food with little to no nutritional value, so it is not a healthy or balanced meal option by itself. However, as it is low in fats, cholesterol, and sodium, it is not intrinsically harmful to your health if consumed sparingly and in moderation. The addition of fresh vegetables and protein sources to it can also improve the nutritional value of vermicelli-based food items. 

No, as vermicelli kheer is made from high carbohydrate and high fat ingredients like vermicelli, milk, sugar, nuts, and dry fruits, it is not an effective option for weight loss. 

Dr. Pakhi Sharma
Dr. Pakhi Sharma, MBBS
(General physician, 6+ years)
An expert in obstetrics and medical emergencies, Dr. Pakhi Sharma, an alumni of Sri Devaraj Urs University of Higher Education and Research Centre, is a general physician working at Phablecare. She has 6+ years of work experience spread across gynaecology and obstetrics, family medicine, and medical emergencies at renowned hospitals and clinics.
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