White vs whole wheat pasta?…… This is a common question we get asked when educating the public about nutrition. But the answer isn’t a strong yes or no answer to be realistic. Yes, there is more fibre in whole wheat pasta than white, which is great if you are looking to increase your fibre intake and feel a big fuller for longer, whilst feeding some of those helpful bacteria inside your gastrointestinal tract. But the difference isn’t mind-blowing, with an extra 3.7g of fibre per 100g.
However, we should aim for 30+ per day of fibre for a tonne of health benefits. This can be achieved with a wide variety of plant-based foods such as fruit, veg, beans, pulses, grains, nuts and seeds etc. A 100g of cooked wholemeal pasta can offer 15% of that, which might be worth considering if you have a chronic disease such as diabetes that you are looking to manage via dietary changes, such as your weekly spaghetti bolognese pasta (1). But ff you already have a high fibre diet and you aren’t worried about your fibre intake and enjoy white pasta, then there isn’t a strong argument against this in terms of macronutrients.
The does seem to be a stronger argument for white vs wholemeal pasta when you compare the vitamin B3 and iron levels, with whole wheat offering some extra benefits here with 1.7g of iron per 100g cooked. In Australia, 25% of the female population struggle to achieve the recommended dietary intake of iron, so this fact about whole wheat pasta might be worth taking a little bit more seriously (18mg RDI for under 50-year-old females).
1) Vitamin B3 – wholemeal does offer 10% of your daily intake per 100g (aids with energy production & digestion).
2) Iron – wholemeal also offers more iron, which is a respectable amount at 1.8mg (males need 8mg, women 18mg per day up to 50 years).
3) Fibre – an extra 3.7g of fibre can be achieved per 100g of cooked pasta.
White vs Whole Wheat Pasta Key Factors
✔️ Higher fibre intake in whole wheat
✔️ More vitamin B3 in whole wheat
✔️ More plant-based iron in whole wheat
❌ Takes longer to cook
❌ Some people prefer the taste of white pasta
14 Day Meal Plans
Our team of Dietitians and nutritionists has created easy-to-follow 14-day meal plans that follow the Australian Dietary Guidelines with a Meditterian twist. They are accessible via a smartphone app and have helped 100s of people to reduce their LDL cholesterol levels over the years. Access the plan here.