With so many different alternatives to regular pasta to choose from, I know how hard it can be to figure out which pasta is the healthiest for you. Whether you are looking for the healthiest alternative to traditional pasta, on an anti-inflammatory diet, monitoring your blood sugar levels, focused on weight loss, supporting heart health, or gut health, I’ve got you covered in this post.
In our ever-evolving health-conscious world, the good news is you have so many options to choose from in the pasta aisle to help you create your favorite pasta dishes. This blog post will cover nutritional value and health benefits in comparing brown rice pasta vs whole wheat pasta, so you can make the most nutritious choice for your body.
Key Differences in Brown Rice Pasta Vs Whole Wheat Pasta
The main difference is that brown rice pasta is gluten-free, and whole wheat pasta is not. Both are considered to be whole grain pasta. Both contain roughly the same amount of calories, which may vary by the type of pasta noodles and the pasta brands
Brown rice pasta and whole wheat pasta are fairly comparable nutritionally; however, whole wheat pasta does contain slightly more iron, calcium, protein, and fiber than brown rice pasta.
Therefore if nutritional content is your focus, whole wheat pasta is a better choice. If you are trying to reduce or avoid gluten intake in your diet, brown rice pasta would be a better choice for you. You may even consider alternating the two kinds of pasta as a healthy, balanced diet that contains a variety of different types of whole grains.
|Brown Rice Pasta||Whole Wheat Pasta|
|Ingredients||Brown Rice & water||Whole wheat flour, water|
|Calories per 50 g||184||187|
|Protein per 50 g||4.4 g, 9%||5.3 g, 10%|
|Complete Source of Protein||No||No|
What is Brown Rice Pasta?
Brown rice pasta has become a popular gluten-free alternative to traditional white pasta. Brown rice pasta has a chewy texture and a subtly mild flavor, allowing it to blend right into your favorite pasta dish.
Brown rice is considered to be whole grain and is naturally gluten-free. Whole grains are naturally high in fiber, which helps you to feel fuller longer, which may support weight management. Whole grains have also been shown to lower the risk of many health issues such as heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers along with other health issues.
Gluten-free pastas are a great alternative for anyone experiencing a gluten sensitivity or anyone on a diet full of processed foods or refined grains looking for more variety in their diet.
My favorite brown rice pasta is Jovial, as they use only organic rice flour and water in making their brown rice pasta. Jovial states that their brown rice is made from whole rice grains being soaked for 48 hours. The soaked rice is “then steamed, rolled like oatmeal, dried at low temperatures, and milled into flour. The flour is mixed with water to form a very dry dough; then it is extruded through bronze dies to create the shape.”
Choosing high-quality brown rice pasta is essential for a healthy diet to ensure you aren’t consuming empty calories, GMOs, or filler ingredients. A high-quality brown rice pasta will also maintain low levels of arsenic in its pasta. All rice contains some level of arsenic.
What is Whole Wheat Pasta?
If you love traditional white pasta, whole-wheat pasta is a healthier version that will taste similar, with a slightly nutty flavor and a coarser texture than regular pasta has.
Whole wheat pasta is made by using the entire grain kernel, the bran germ, and endosperm during its milling process. When making refined grains or white pasta, the bran and germ are stripped away during the milling process, leaving only the endosperm. This refining process strips away parts of the grain but also strips away nutritional content.
Whole wheat pasta like brown rice pasta is a whole-grain pasta as they both use the “whole” grain or the entire grain during the milling process. Pastas that use refined grains would be white rice pasta and regular pasta or white pasta.
In looking for a high-quality whole wheat pasta, you want a pasta that is labeled 100% whole wheat or 100% whole grains. Some pasta may be labeled whole wheat pasta, but also contain refined flour and other additives making them inferior nutritionally.
Brown Rice Pasta vs Whole Wheat Pasta Nutrition
We’ll look at the key nutritional values of 50 grams each of cooked brown rice pasta compared to an average whole wheat pasta in comparing brown rice pasta vs whole wheat pasta.
|Brown Rice Pasta (50 g), %Daily Value||Whole Wheat Pasta (50 g), %Daily Value|
.9 g (0 g added sugar)
|Cholesterol||0 mg||0 mg|
|Protein||4.4 g, 9%||5.3 g, 10%|
|Total Fat |
0 g, 0%
|Vitamin D||0 mcg||0 mcg|
|Calcium||9 mg||35 mg|
|Iron||.6 mg||2.4 mg|
|Potassium||140.5 mg, 6%||0 mg, 0 %|
Brown rice pasta and whole wheat pasta have fairly similar nutritional values. It’s important to note these values may vary based on the type of pasta noodles and the brand of pasta. In this comparison of a higher quality brown rice pasta vs a whole wheat pasta, brown rice had just a bit fewer calories, but not really enough to make much of an impact on daily caloric intake.
Both whole wheat pasta and brown rice pasta have a good source of fiber content. However, whole-wheat pasta contains a higher amount of dietary fiber content at 5.4 grams of fiber, which is just under 20% of the daily recommended value compared to brown rice pasta at 1.8 grams per 50-gram serving.
In regards to protein, whole wheat pasta contains more protein than brown rice pasta at 5.3 grams of protein compared to 4.4 grams of protein. However, it’s only about one gram of less protein.
Overall, whole wheat pasta has more iron, calcium protein, and fiber than brown rice pasta. Brown rice pasta contains more potassium than whole wheat pasta.
Whole-wheat and brown rice pasta are both made from whole grains. In general whole grains are known for health-promoting properties and are much healthier than refined grains, pasta, and other foods made with white flour. Whole grains can be great sources of fiber, protein, antioxidants, B vitamins, and vitamin E.
Whole grain pasta takes longer to digest than traditional pasta. They have a lower glycemic index rating than their refined white pasta counterpart, making it a better choice for anyone with blood sugar concerns. Whole grain pasta is known to be diabetic-friendly; however, always consult your doctor first for personal guidance.
There are pros and cons to eating a gluten-free diet. A gluten-free diet is not for everyone, but is a necessity for anyone with celiac disease or experiencing a gluten sensitivity. However, it’s important to note that there are many people suffering from gluten sensitivity who don’t even realize it. Gluten sensitivities may show up as a headache, bloating, acne, skin rashes, inflammation in the body, digestive issues, etc. If you suspect you may have a gluten sensitivity you may consider experimenting with a gluten-free diet for a period of time. Many people find 30 days to see results when removing aggravating foods from their diet.
As with any dietary changes, when you are choosing to eat foods to improve your health, it’s essential to eat whole foods. To focus on minimally processed foods, while maintaining a nutritionally balanced diet. The most common mistake people make when removing gluten from their diet is replacing it with other highly processed foods, which aren’t healthy for your body. The best dietary plans have a variety of real, whole foods as their foundation.
Is Brown Rice Pasta or Whole Wheat Pasta Healthier?
Whole wheat pasta offers slightly more nutritional benefits, however, they are very similar in what they each offer, making both a healthy choice. The main consideration to make is that brown rice pasta is a gluten-free pasta. Some people find their body responds well to limiting or avoiding gluten. Gluten intolerance or gluten sensitivity may show up as gut or digestive issues, inflammation in the body, bloating, skin issues such as rashes or acne, and headaches, among other physical reactions.
For a variety of healthy pasta alternatives, you may also try veggie pasta, quinoa pasta, egg noodles, chickpea pasta, black bean pasta, or soba noodles.
Karla Kueber is a Certified Evidence Based EFT Practioner and Health Coach, with a double Masters Degree in Education. She works with people to overcome emotional eating, curb cravings, and overcome resistance to eating new healthy foods. You can learn more about coaching with her here.