Are Rice Noodles Better For You Than Pasta

Rice Noodles vs. Regular Pasta

In terms of calories, fat, and fiber, as well as carbohydrates, rice noodles and pasta are about equal (if you’re on a low-carb diet like keto, stick to zoodles). Rice noodles are almost completely sugar-free, but regular pasta has roughly two grams of sugar per serving. Both are also free of cholesterol.

The biggest difference is the sodium content. Rice noodles have 103 milligrams of sodium per serving, while pasta only has 3 milligrams. Regular pasta also contains 4 more grams of protein than rice noodles, as well as higher counts of some nutrients like iron and folic acid, since most dry pastas are enriched.

White rice noodles are made from white rice, a grain that only turns white after being stripped of its germ and bran (aka where most of its nutrients come from) in processing. While white rice is not devoid of benefits, medical professionals and studies often cite higher-fiber brown rice as nutritionally superior. Thankfully, whole-grain or brown rice noodles also exist. Look for those to boost the nutritional content a bit, or opt for soba, kelp or shirataki noodles instead, which are all higher in fiber and nutrients than rice noodles.

Are Rice Noodles Better For You Than Pasta

Pass the pad Thai, please

Are Rice Noodles Better For You Than Pasta

You can only feed your noodle cravings with spaghetti and meatballs for so long before it becomes unbearably monotonous. Presenting rice noodles, a popular Southeast Asian culinary substitute for pasta that is chewy and light. Rice noodles are gluten-free, but are they healthy? The answer is (thankfully) overwhelmingly yes. Whether you’re avoiding gluten or not, rice noodles are a healthy option because they have a moderate calorie and fat content.

Are Rice Noodles Better For You Than Pasta

However, the number of calories in a half-cup serving of rice noodles and regular pasta is roughly equal—96 for rice noodles and 111 for pasta. Additionally, both have very little fat—roughly zero. 5 gram per half-cup serving (via the San Francisco Chronicle).

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, rice noodles are the second most popular rice product in Asia, after whole grains. Spaghetti and other pastas made with flour are more popular in the US. In terms of calories and fat, both options are comparable, but one noodle is superior in terms of particular nutrients.

Eating a balanced diet that includes both whole and enriched grains guarantees a diet full of vital vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that support health and lower the risk of chronic illness, according to Oldways. However, if you are gluten-free, then rice noodles are the best option. Rice noodles don’t contain gluten because they’re made with rice flour rather than wheat flour (source: San Francisco Chronicle).

Rice noodles can’t match the variety of nutrients that enriched pasta can provide, and whole-grain pasta is even more beneficial (source: Body and Soul). According to Healthline, “enriched pasta” is simply pasta that has had nutrients removed from the grain during processing added to it. Additionally, raw whole-grain pasta has the wheat kernel, which is rich in nutrients in both the bran and germ.

When it comes to vitamins and minerals, enriched pasta contains more iron, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, and folic acid (via So Delicious). The difference is truly noticeable when you compare folic acid, aka folate — pasta delivers 83 micrograms of folate per serving, while rice noodles have 3 micrograms. Regular pasta also has ten times more thiamin and riboflavin, eight times more iron, and twice as much niacin as rice noodles (via Rigatoni and Things).

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