Pasta Nutritional Facts


Pasta was once considered to be fattening and have very little nutritional value. Nutritional experts now realize the value of pasta in our diet. Grain based foods, such as pasta, are a good source of fiber and complex carbohydrates. The carbohydrates provide our bodies with vitamins, minerals and energy. The carbohydrates come mainly in the form of easily digestible starches. The starch is absorbed slowly by the body, which results in a long lasting feeling of satisfaction in your appetite. Pasta is a good choice for athletes and others that need energy to sustain them for long periods of time.

For individuals that are concerned about their carbohydrate intake, there are low-carb pastas available. The amount of carbohydrates contained in these pastas may vary slightly from one brand to the next but they contain significantly less carbohydrates than regular pasta. The low carbohydrate pastas contain 5 to 10 carbohydrates in comparison to 40 to 45 in regular pasta.

Some of the ingredients used in making the low carbohydrate pastas are soy products, wheat gluten, egg whites, rice flour, and salt. The low-carb products are also higher in protein and fiber than regular pasta.  

Cooked, unsauced, pasta contains little fat and is fairly low in calories. It contains approximately 200 calories per 1 cup of cooked pasta and less than 1 gram of fat. Calories and fat content will vary slightly based on the ingredients used in the pasta dough, such as the type of flour, and whether oil and eggs were added to the dough. Although pasta is nearly fat free, the sauces and other toppings added to the pasta are what add calories and fat. To maintain the low fat, low calorie advantages of pasta, it is important to keep the sauce low-fat also. Some suggestions on reducing the amount of fat added to the pasta are shown below.

  • Use ingredients that are naturally low in fat, such as fresh vegetables, fruits, seafood, poultry, and the leanest meat possible.
  • Replace high fat cheese, cream, whole eggs, butter and oil with low-fat cheese, nonfat yogurt, egg whites, tofu, low-fat milk and soy milk.
  • Add flavor with herbs and spices.
  • When preparing the sauce use cooking methods that require the addition of little or no fat, such as stir-frying, baking, and steaming. Prepare precooked ingredients by grilling or broiling.

Pasta contains very little or no sodium and cholesterol. The protein contained in pasta varies according to the type of flour used. If eggs have been added to the dough, the protein content will go up slightly and the cholesterol will increase. Pasta is also fortified with folic acid according to FDA regulations. Folic acid is a nutrient that helps in the prevention of some birth defects. There have also been findings that folic acid may aid in the protection against some cancers and heart attacks.

Nutrition Facts - Pasta

Based on 2 ounces of pasta = 1 cup of cooked pasta.
Equal to 2 grain servings on the food guide pyramid.
 


 


 

Wheat Pasta Without Egg Wheat Pasta With Egg

The chart below shows how pasta compares nutritionally to other commonly eaten foods.

Nutritional Comparison - Pasta vs. Other Foods
 

Fat

Sodium Cholesterol Protein
Pasta (Macaroni)
(1 cup, cooked)
<1 g 0 mg 0 7 g
Chicken Breast
(3 oz. skinless)
1.5 g 60 mg 70 mg 24 g
Turkey (White meat only)
(3 oz. skinless)
.6 g 48 mg 67 mg 26 g
Ground Beef Patty
(3 oz., extra lean)
11 g 70 mg 85 mg 27 g
Ham
(3 oz., extra lean)
4 g 1215 mg 40 mg 15 g
Cottage Cheese
(1 cup, 1%)
9.5 g 850 mg 31 mg 28 g
Yogurt, Plain
(1 cup, low-fat)
4 g 172 mg 15 mg 13 g

The nutritional value of pasta varies according to the ingredients used in making the dough. Whether the pasta is dry, fresh or homemade, adding ingredients, such as oil, eggs, and flavoring agents, or using different types of flours will have an affect on its nutritional value. The length of time that pasta is cooked can also have an affect on its nutritional value. If the pasta is cooked too long it will start to lose more of its B vitamins into the boiling water. It is best to only cook the pasta to the "al dente" stage to prevent this from occurring.

Nutrition Facts - Asian Noodles

Asian noodles are made from many different types of ingredients, which results in variations of their nutritional value. Shown below are some nutritional facts for a few varieties of Asian noodles. The nutritional value of Asian noodles can also vary from one manufacturer to the next.

Based on 2 ounces of noodles.
 

 

 


 

Chinese Wheat Noodles Chinese Egg Noodles Rice Noodles

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