Lunch/dinner ideas, nutrition, nutrition advice, product review, Uncategorized, vegan food

Is bean pasta really better than regular pasta?

Pasta seems to get an incredibly bad rep from many people. Many different claims about pasta and it’s health or not-so-healthy benefits. Now a days there are lots of different alternatives to pasta, everything from bean pasta, noodles, calorie free noodles and raw foodies favourite: zoodles.

I’m not a huge fan of pasta and it is definitely not a regular food item i have at home, however for many people i know pasta is a regular food in their diet, and i thought i would answer the question… is chickpea/bean pasta really better than regular white pasta?

I recently got a package of chickpea pasta from my mum which i decided to cook up and eat. When i do eat pasta it is usually soy bean pasta and that is pretty much the only pasta type i like – however i was excited to try chickpea pasta after hearing alot of good about it. I was not impressed. Infact i would much rather eat plain white pasta than the chickpea pasta…. maybe it’s just me. Maybe i cooked it too long or maybe because i ate it when it had cooled down – i still have half a package left so maybe it will taste better then.  So far though, it’s not a favourite.

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So, is chickpea pasta really better than regular white pasta? 

Per 100g dry weight Calories Carbohydrates Fiber Protein Fat
Chickpea pasta 360kcal 50g 14g 20g 5,8g
Fusili pasta (Durum wheat) 360kcal 73g 2,6g 12,5g 1,4g
Whole wheat penne pasta 334kcal 62,2g 7,2g 12,1g 2,5g

Nutritional values taken from Tesco brand fusili pasta, whole wheat penne pasta and Risenta chickpea pasta – all based on 100g dry weight.

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First off from a nutrition-number related point of view. Yes, chickpea pasta (and bean pasta in general) has a much higher protein amount as well as fiber and fat than regular white pasta. However, normal white pasta has quite alot of protein already (i.e gluten is a protein!). Calorie wise… really not that much difference, and carbohydrate wise… well the bean pasta has less glycemic carbohydrates as there is so much fiber which makes less of the carbs “available”.

Is bean pasta better than regular pasta? For people who have celiac or are gluten intolerant or people with diabetes then yes… bean pasta can be a better option because it has no gluten and won’t spike your blood sugar as fast because of all the fiber.

If you are planning on working out after your pasta meal or you have already worked out and you arent sensitive to gluten, then normal pasta is better because it will give you a quicker energy source to fuel your workouts or help your muscles recovery. Or optimally, you could combine both wheat pasta and chickpea pasta – as long as you aren’t gluten intolerant – because then you have a complete protein source from the beans and the wheat i.e all essential amino acids.

Bean pasta – because of the protein and fiber amount – can leave you feeling full for longer, but also won’t spike your blood sugar as much as regular white pasta. Whole wheat pasta – because of the fiber content – will also help leave you feeling fuller compared to regular white pasta. Also doesn’t spike you blood sugar as much which can be positive for certain people at certain times.

What about whole wheat pasta vs normal white pasta? The answer to that is that most people eat too little fiber in their diet so then yes, a whole wheat pasta is better recommended because of the fiber. However, if you eat your plain white pasta with some vegetables or beans or tofu or other fiber rich food then you don’t need to worry so much whether you eat white pasta or whole wheat pasta.

Usually bean pasta is alot more expensive – unless you go for one of the 50% bean, 50% wheat pasta types.

My ultimate recommendation is to go for the pasta you like best – as long as you eat balanced and pasta isn’t the only thing you eat, then eating plain white pasta  (with toppings/sauce) isn’t going to harm you. HOWEVER if you eat alot of pasta and you have insulin resistance or you have celiac disease then bean pasta is a great option, or if you are a vegan who doesn’t eat alot of fake meat or tofu then it can be a great source of protein. My ultimate recommendation though would be to go for a pasta that is 50% beans/50%wheat (or similar ratio usually 70/30 flour/beans), as then you combine whole grain flour, bean flour and get lots of fiber and protein and of course good carbs into your meal!

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I hope this helps!  Also i don’t personally recommend people substituting spiralized vegetables i.e zoodles instead of pasta, of course you can mix it into your pasta so you do 50/50, but if you just replace a plate of pasta with zoodles and some suace and think that will fill you up or be enough – then you are wrong and will more than likely end up with alot cravings & feeling extra hungry.

Pasta isn’t a bad food or something you should be scared to eat. If you don’t like it, don’t eat it. HOWEVER, if you DO like it… then eat it. Find moderation with pasta so that you eat it and enjoy it, but that it is not the only thing you eat… or that you atleast vary what type of pasta you eat!

*Let me know what you think about these posts* 🙂

(P.s i apologize if anyone finds the calories/nutrition information triggering – however in this case i thought it was fine to add when comparing foods from a nutritional point of view. )

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12 thoughts on “Is bean pasta really better than regular pasta?”

  1. I think it was a great post:)I like pasta and eat it like once a week or every two weeks and I always eat sipmle durum pasta as thats the cheapest. For me it’s actually nice to see the products compared, as I can see there’s really no harm in white pasta, and it’s not a bad thing to not eat bean pasta instead. I’ve never even seen bean pasta where I live, whole wheat yes, but that’s soo expensive:D

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    1. I am glad you liked this post! And as you wrote, there really is no harm eating white pasta! If its the only thing you eat it’s not so good, but most people eat it with other things and eat it in a balanced way which is perfectly fine and healthy!

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  2. I’m a Registered Dietitian with a Masters degree in Nutrition Science. I like and agree with everything you said. Furthermore, I love what you’re doing online. It’s educational, inspiring, nutritionally accurate and supportive!

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  3. Jag har aldrig provat pasta gjord på baljväxter men blev sugen efter att ha läst detta inlägg! Du skriver att din favorit egentligen är en sojabönspasta, vilket märke är det och var kan man köpa den? Jag vill hellre pröva en pasta du tycker om än denna som du inte tyckte så mycket om 🙂

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  4. I`m not a great lover of pasta and don`t eat it very often. Up until recently the only GF pasta available in the shops was corn pasta – which I cannot have as I`m intolerant to corn – so for awhile pasta was off the menu. Then I discovered they sold brown rice pasta on Amazon so I have been buying that, its quite nice but not something I`d eat very often. They have now started selling different types of pasta in the supermarkets – so far I have seen pea, lentil and black bean. I brought some pea pasta and lentil pasta to try but haven’t done so yet. I know pasta is filling and versatile but I much prefer rice, quinoa or potatoes!
    I find posts like this one really interesting and useful – its good to be able to read and learn about the comparison of products. Perhaps you could do more of these? A very useful one would be of the different vegan “butter” spreads that you can get. The majority here are soya based but it would be good to find out about the other ones that are available. Is soya spread better than the other plant based oil spreads?

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  5. Another useful and interesting one would be about potatoes. I`ve heard a sweet potato counts as one of your five a day, whereas a normal potato does not. Why is this and are there any nutritional differences between the two and is one better for you than the other?

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  6. We just had chickpea pasta for the first time today in a loaded pasta salad. We really enjoyed it. I brought the water to a boil added the pasta brought it up to a rolling boil again and then moved it off the burner and let it cook just sitting in the water. I stirred it several times and when al dente about 5 to 8 minutes I drained it rinsed it and added it to the salad. We saw noted no big difference in the taste or consistency 😀

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