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Thread: Whole Wheat Pasta - enlighten me

  1. #1

    Whole Wheat Pasta - enlighten me

    After hearing about the benefits of whole wheat pasta on this board, I decided to give it a try since I am a total pasta junkie and thought if I could make it healthier, why not? So I bought my first package of whole wheat spaghetti at TJ's the other day, brought it home, held it up side by side with my regular spaghetti to compare nutritional info, expecting to see some HUGE nutritional difference (or well, at least SOME difference), and...they seem to be practically identical! The ONLY difference I could see was that the whole wheat had .5g more fat, 1 g less carbs and 1 g more fiber. That's it?? That's why I'm eating whole wheat pasta - 1g of fiber? Oh, and the regular seemed to have more vitamins! Am I missing something here or did I get a lame brand of whole wheat pasta? Shouldn't there be more of a difference?
    Here's the nutritional info:
    WHOLE WHEAT________________REGULAR
    Cal: 190__________________Cal: 200
    Fat: 1.5g_________________Fat: 1g
    Chol: 0mg__________________Chol: 0mg
    Sodium: 0mg________________Sodium: 0mg
    Total Carb: 41g____________Total Carb: 42g
    Dietary Fiber: 3g__________Dietary Fiber: 2g
    Sugars: 1g_________________Sugars: 1g
    Protein: 7g________________Protein: 7g
    Iron: 10%_________________Iron: 10%
    ___________________________Thiamin: 35%
    ___________________________Niacin: 15%
    ___________________________Folate: 30%
    ___________________________Riboflavin: 35%

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Hmmm... I am not an expert on whole wheat pasta, but I actually like the taste more than the white. Plus, it isn't "processed" and I like that.

  3. #3

    Wink that's not the half of the whole!

    There may be many reasons for the seeming discrepancy:

    1. The nutrition labeling requirements have both scientific and political roots. There may be important nutritional qualities of the WW pasta that are not reported because no one requires reporting (e.g., lignans).

    2. The WW pasta was made outside of the US. A law passed in the 1990s required that all cereal flours be supplemented with folate. This appears to be the case with my WW and regular pastas -- the former was imported from Italy and has NO folate, while the latter (Barilla) was made in Illinois and has 30% USDA folate!

    3. The process of processing may still have its hazards -- but I'm not really up to intellectual snuff on this -- sorry! If your WW pasta is organic, all the better way to avoid contaminants.

    4. The WW pasta tends not to ramp up your blood glucose as much as the regular pasta. (This is the glycemic index). Good news for the WW pasta.

    5. At least one of the manufacturers in stretching the truth!

    Granted, most folks prefer the semolina stuff -- there IS a radical difference in texture and taste. But if that difference is not important to you, I'd say lucky you!

    Hope this helps!
    Last edited by guavagirl; 07-27-2001 at 11:44 AM.

  4. #4
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    OK Sorry to all you health enthusiasts but I'm Italian and their isn't anything like semolina pasta. Sorry, I have tried the wheat and was not impressed with the taste or the texture...Just my opinion from the Italian...

  5. #5
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    Hm..
    My whole wheat pastas have 5 to 7 grams of fiber per serving. Which brand did you buy?
    "What contemptible scoundrel stole the cork from my lunch?"
    By W. C. Fields

  6. #6
    Originally posted by emilycat
    Hm..
    My whole wheat pastas have 5 to 7 grams of fiber per serving. Which brand did you buy?
    Emily - its at home in the pantry and I, sadly, am at work - so, couldn't tell you! Whatever they had at TJ's - thought that would be a good place to get it but maybe I need to be more particular!

  7. #7
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    I have a feeling it may not truly be whole wheat pasta -- kind of like all that so-called whole wheat bread that has 1 gram of fiber per serving. The ingredients should list stone-ground whole wheat flour as the main ingredient, and thus should have more nutrients than refined pasta flour, as well.

    If you can find Hodgson Mills, Whole Foods' brand, or Bionaturae, those are excellent brands.
    Last edited by emilycat; 07-27-2001 at 12:23 PM.
    "What contemptible scoundrel stole the cork from my lunch?"
    By W. C. Fields

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    I love whole wheat pasta but I think for us it really depends on the form it takes. We LOVE whole wheat spaghetti, and I use it exclusively. I tried Whole Wheat 'spirals' (forgot the legal name) and we enjoyed them...however the two different brands of Penne Pasta and Elbow Macaroni we tried were grainy and had a weird surface texture and mouth feel. I use semolina for those two, but I use Whole Wheat Spaghetti in nearly everything!

    I made a Spicy Lo Mein a few nights ago that would have served 4 or 5 people, but DH and I inhaled the entire big bowl between us for dinner. We were so embarrassed! It's just that the WW tasted like soba noodles, and mixed with broccoli, green and red pepper, onion, carrots and chicken, and then covered with a spicy Schezuan style sauce, we couldn't stop eating!! (burp!)
    ~ "The right shoe can change your life...."- Cinderella ~

  9. #9
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    I simply refuse to believe ANY whole wheat pasta contains less than 5 grams of fiber per serving. All Hodgson Mills pastas I've seen list 6 grams per serving, but I have seen some with 5. I can almost promise that if this really is TRUE whole wheat pasta with no ingredinets but whole wheat flour, there is some error in the fiber.

    I only eat whole wheat occasionally for the bran when my digestive system needs an extra "push" if you get my drift.

    I have always wondered where that 2 grams of fiber comes from in a serving of white pasta. I know that regular white flour has less fiber, and I can't figure out what makes white semolina flour different.

  10. #10
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    I think I know what the difference is - some "whole wheat" pastas are made from whole DURUM wheat, which differs from the "red" wheat that is also used to make bread (and is the reason the bread and/or pasta has a brown color). I think that Durum wheat (looks more yellow/off white - more like the color of regular pasta) just naturally has less fiber than what we consider "regular" red wheat has. Check the ingredients label. Does it say Durum wheat as the first ingredient or something else?

  11. #11
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    I have to admit, I have tried, but I just can't develop a taste for whole wheat pasta. But I probably don't even eat pasta once a week, and I do eat a lot of other whole grains...Wheat bread, brown rice, barley, etc....and I love Kashi! (Thanks to this BB). So I guess I can't feel too bad about not eating whole wheat pasta. Oh, and I also use whole wheat flour in a lot of my baking.

  12. #12
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    Cool Three brands in my cupboard...

    I bought 3 boxes, due to suggestions from other BBer's re: whole wheat pasta:

    Hodgson Mill fettuccine: this one was excellent, I used it in the CL Fettuccine Alfredo from May 1994, it has 6g of fiber per serving, and is made from "100% durum whole wheat flour".

    DeBoles angel hair: used this one tonight, and we loved it! It has 5g of fiber per serving and is made with "100% organically grown durum whole wheat flour and jerusalem artichoke". Served it with garlic, lemon, good extra virgin olive oil and pine nuts and it was yummy!!

    De Cecco linguine: have not tried this one yet, but it has 7g of fiber per serving and is made from "whole semolina, niacin, ferrous lactate, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid". This one, obviously, as the box states, is "enriched whole wheat macaroni".

    Hope this helps...

    Thanks to all of you that have made me expand my taste buds into trying new things !!!
    Last edited by gabbyh; 07-29-2001 at 06:43 AM.
    "I expect to pass through life but once.
    If, therefore, there be any kindness I can show or any good thing I can do any fellow being, let me do it now and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again."
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  13. #13
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    After I saw this thread, I checked my box of whole wheat spaghetti -- brand is Westbrae Natural and claims to contain 9 grams of fiber per 2 0z. serving. Tastes good too! -- Betsy

  14. #14
    Originally posted by Grace
    I think I know what the difference is - some "whole wheat" pastas are made from whole DURUM wheat, which differs from the "red" wheat that is also used to make bread (and is the reason the bread and/or pasta has a brown color). I think that Durum wheat (looks more yellow/off white - more like the color of regular pasta) just naturally has less fiber than what we consider "regular" red wheat has. Check the ingredients label. Does it say Durum wheat as the first ingredient or something else?
    Well, I checked the brand (Trader Joe's 100% Organic Whole Wheat Pasta) and the ingredients (100% Durum whole wheat) - so I've obviously gotten a lame brand (shame on TJ's! I thought they were so up on all that!) and the wrong kind of wheat because it definitely says only 3g fiber. Next time I guess I'll have to read the back more closely BEFORE I buy it! Thanks for all the input!

  15. #15
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    Peeps, you reminded me that I wanted to try some whole wheat pasta after reading about it here.

    This weekend I bought DeCecco Whole Wheat Linguini and it was delicious! It was heartier than regular pasta and I like that it has 7 grams of fiber.

    I made veal meatballs and a red sauce and it was quite yummy.

    Dana

  16. #16
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    To come to TJs defense, I just checked my TJs whole wheat pasta (I have spirals, penne and linguine) and it reads 5g fiber and is made with Organic Whole Wheat Durum Flour. This is Trader Joe's brand Organic Whole Wheat pasta. Not sure which TJs kind you got but check again because the higher fiber stuff is out there.

  17. #17
    Originally posted by LGBurns
    To come to TJs defense, I just checked my TJs whole wheat pasta (I have spirals, penne and linguine) and it reads 5g fiber and is made with Organic Whole Wheat Durum Flour. This is Trader Joe's brand Organic Whole Wheat pasta. Not sure which TJs kind you got but check again because the higher fiber stuff is out there.
    I got the spaghetti and it only says 3g of fiber - how did I pick the one shape that seems to have less?! That is very strange. Next time I'll try linguine or another shape - AND will check the label first. I guess I have learned that all whole wheat pastas are not created equal!

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