Everyone is looking for healthier options for eating better. I know that I have been pushed into cooking healthier since my husband was diagnosed with Diabetes. what I have found is that cooking healthier doesn’t mean more expensive, nor does it take longer to cook. What I have found is that by cooking healthier, we enjoy eating and I find that I look for ways to make recipes healthier and cooking with pasta is no different.
I have found over the years that if you only make whole wheat pasta in all of your recipes, you will begin to enjoy it and find that regular white flour pasta is very doughy and pasty tasting. I understand that the first time you taste whole wheat pasta your first thought will be is “Am I eating cardboard?” Trust me that will change and you will to enjoy it, knowing that you are taking another step into eating healthier.
I have just learned some very valuable information. I found this article:
The Differences Between Whole Grain Pasta & Regular Pasta
by Erica Kannall, Demand Media
Refined vs. Whole Grain
Regular pasta is made from refined flours, such as wheat flour. The milling process involves stripping the grain of its bran and germ, which gives the flour a finer texture, but also alters the nutritional content of the grain, according to MayoClinic.com. Whole-grain pasta is made from flour as well, but the grain is not as highly processed. Most of the bran and germ are retained in whole-grain pasta, giving it a hearty flavor and texture. The best way to identify a whole-grain pasta is to read the nutrition label. The first item in the ingredient list of a whole-grain pasta will say “whole-wheat flour.” You can also get whole-grain pasta made from grains such as brown rice and quinoa.
Whole-grain pasta contains the bran and germ of the grain, which contribute dietary fiber. You’ll get 6.3 grams of fiber from a serving of whole-wheat spaghetti and only 2.5 grams of fiber from regular pasta, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Dietary fiber is indigestible so it adds bulk to your meal, which helps you feel satisfied after eating and helps regulate your digestive system. According to MayoClinic.com, dietary fiber may also aid in lowering your cholesterol and regulating your blood sugar.
Because whole-grain pasta has more indigestible fiber, it’s lower in calories. One cup of regular spaghetti provides 221 calories, while 1 cup of whole-grain spaghetti provides only 174 calories, according to the USDA. That’s a savings of 47 calories per cup when eating whole-grain pasta. If you’re trying to lose or maintain your weight, these little calorie differences help you meet your daily calorie goals.
Vitamin and Mineral Content
Some nutrients are lost when grains are milled to make regular pasta. Eating whole-grain pasta gives you more of the minerals potassium, magnesium and phosphorus. You’ll also get more of the B vitamins thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid and B-6 from whole-grain pasta than regular pasta. These B vitamins are essential for converting food you eat into usable energy, for regulating enzymes and chemicals in your body and for keeping red blood cells healthy.
I looked up the nutritional facts on the 2 most popular styles at a local chain store. They show that the only differences between these two is that the regular pasta only has 1 gram of fat per serving and only 2 grams of fiber vs. 1.5 gram of fat and 5 grams of fiber in the whole wheat version. If you just look at nutritional facts it can be quite confusing. I was going to stop eating the whole wheat version since there showed not a lot of differences, but reading other articles that break down the differences in flour itself.
I found this article that really explains the best description for finding the best product for your body and health:
Should I Eat Whole-Wheat Pasta?
Make sure to read your labels, though. You want the term “whole” in front of any grain on the label, like “100% Whole Grains” or “100% Whole Wheat Flour.” Anything without 100% or whole—including the vague term “wheat flour”—is probably refined.
In white pasta, however all but the starchy endosperm is stripped away, and with it goes about 25% of the grain’s protein, according to the Whole Grains Council. “We have many studies showing that people eating these refined starches have higher rates of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease compared to those who consume whole grains,” says Walter Willett, MD, DrPH, chair of the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. “If you care about your health, the choice is clear.”
All in all I have found that while the nutritional facts on the label do not show much difference between either. You have to do your research and find out the whole story. I am going to stay with the whole wheat pasta, when I choose to make pasta. I still try to use other grains for a better choice of carbohydrate for a balanced meal.