Is Gluten-Free Pasta Good For You?
Is Gluten-Free Pasta Good For You?
For those who love pasta but want to follow a gluten-free (GF) diet, there are an ever-increasing number of delicious options to cater to the staggering rise in gluten intolerance. One third of Americans are said to be following a gluten-free diet, with many in the UK following suit.
So, is gluten-free pasta good for you? There are nutritional benefits to most food types, and the same holds true for gluten-free pasta alternatives. GF pasta contains amino acids and high levels of fibre, minerals, and folic acid that contribute to healthier muscles, skin, and bones.
That said, there are other dietary considerations to take note of, such as calorific value, sugar content, carb content, and how gluten-free pasta works with your dietary requirements. Read on to take a deep dive into the world of gluten-free pasta, and find a selection of our favourite GF pasta options.
Is Gluten-Free Pasta Healthy?
The biggest health benefit of gluten-free pasta is that it can be consumed without the negative side effects associated with the gluten found in traditional pasta. This is especially relevant if you have an intolerance or allergy to gluten or wheat. Gluten intolerance symptoms include headaches, fatigue, constipation, diarrhoea, and anaemia, among others. When you eat gluten-free pasta alternatives, you can enjoy delicious meals without risking your health.
But what about the calories and the carbs?
Is Gluten-Free Pasta Low Carb?
Going gluten-free is not the same thing as going carb-free, but there are plenty of options to choose from when it comes to gluten-free pasta. For those trying to avoid copious amounts of carbohydrates, bean pastas like Liberto’s Organic Edamame Fettuccine provide a delicious, naturally low-carb choice of gluten-free pasta - with up to 4 times fewer carbs than the equivalent serving of regular white pasta.
However, it is worth noting that some gluten-free pasta alternatives (e.g. corn pasta) contain similar (if not more) carbs than traditional pasta - so it’s always worth checking the packaging for a list of ingredients and nutritional information.
Is Gluten-Free Pasta Lower in Calories?
Not necessarily. Gluten-free does not necessarily mean lower-calorie. In fact, some gluten-free alternatives may even be higher in calories and carbohydrates than their glutenous counterparts. It’s always a good idea to check the nutritional label to find out what the calorie content of your pasta of choice is.
Does Gluten-Free Pasta Fit Into My Dietary Requirements?
We know that pasta is not included on many dietary plans, and gluten-free pasta shares many of the same properties when it comes to calories and carbs - so whether GF pasta is on the menu depends on the dietary plan you are following.
Can You Eat Gluten-Free Pasta On Keto?
Most pasta is to be avoided on a keto diet as it is high in carbs, so even a small serving can cause you to drop out of ketosis. However, gluten-free pasta offers a wider variety of ingredients to choose from. Bean pasta, generally made out of edamame, is way lower in calories than most other regular and gluten-free pasta.
A 50g serving of this Organic Black Bean Spaghetti contains just 7.5 g of carbohydrates, while also being high in both fibre and protein, providing an excellent, keto-friendly and gluten-free alternative to regular pasta. A 50 gram portion contains 23g of protein which is 46% of your RDA.
Can You Eat Gluten-Free Pasta On The Paleo Diet?
A Paleo diet limits the consumption of grains and legumes, so most gluten-free pasta is, unfortunately, off the menu. Instead of pasta, why not serve meat or fish over spiralised vegetables, a cooking trend that shows no sign of slowing down.
Can You Eat Gluten-Free Pasta On The Atkins Plan?
There is no room for pasta, nor gluten-free pasta in any phase of the Atkins diet. The high glycemic index of such carbs only spikes your blood sugar and leads to weight gain, Atkins contends. Despite this, there is research to show that chickpeas can help with the regulation of blood sugar levels.
Is Gluten-Free Pasta Vegan?
Good news - there are countless stockists of vegan gluten-free pasta. So for those following a strict vegan diet, you’ll be pleased to know that pasta is still on the menu. There are countless bases for gluten-free pasta, from corn to black beans and soy, and these are generally made with minimal ingredients that do not include any eggs or other products of animal origin.
All Le Veneziane pasta, for example, is made of 100% cornflour and water, making it the perfect gluten-free base for delicious pasta dishes.
Gluten-Free vs. Regular Pasta - What is, what isn’t?
Many different variations of gluten-free pasta can be found using different ingredients. Gluten-free pasta is typically derived from legumes, rice, corn, quinoa, or a combination of these ingredients. Alternatively, you can find gluten and grain-free pasta made from almond or cassava flour.
Is Whole Wheat Pasta Gluten-Free?
No - whole wheat pasta is not gluten-free. Gluten is the protein found in wheat, barley, and rye and, as such, whole wheat pasta is the very opposite of gluten-free. If you have a gluten intolerance, then this pasta type is one to avoid.
Does regular pasta have wheat in it?
Yes. Most regular white pasta is made from refined wheat flour, which is processed to strip the grain of its bran and germ to create a finer texture and lighter colour. Most regular pasta is therefore not suitable for anyone suffering from a gluten or wheat intolerance.
Is Corn Pasta Gluten-Free?
YES - Corn pasta is made from ground corn. It is usually offered as a gluten-free alternative to regular pasta for people who are intolerant or sensitive to gluten and or wheat. Corn pasta is made the same way as regular wheat pasta: corn is ground into flour, and then blended with water. The flour is then rolled out or extruded into the desired shape.
Corn pasta is an excellent gluten-free alternative, as cornflour gives it the ideal texture to hold your favourite sauces and keep its consistency throughout the cooking process. Our go-to choice of corn pasta is Le Veneziane range, made with traditional Italian methods in the Veneto countryside and widely recognised as Italy’s best selling gluten-free pasta brand.
Is Bean Pasta Gluten-Free?
YES - Bean pasta, such as edamame or black bean pasta, is not only a great gluten-free option, but also packed with protein and fibre, and much lower in carbohydrates than regular white pasta.
Our go-to bean pasta is Liberto’s delicious range of organic, high-quality edamame and black bean spaghetti, and fettuccine. Packed with natural goodness, this bean pasta is a highly nutritious twist on any regular pasta.
Is Brown Rice Pasta Gluten-Free?
YES - rice pasta is gluten-free and one of the most popular GF options available. They work well as a substitute for most traditional pasta dishes.
With nearly three grams of fibre per cup (195 grams) of cooked pasta, brown rice pasta is a good source of fibre compared to most other types of pasta. Moreover, brown rice contains high levels of essential micronutrients such as manganese, selenium and magnesium.
Plus, research shows the bran found in brown rice has powerful antioxidant compounds that can help prevent oxidative damage to cells and promote a healthier lifestyle.
Is Buckwheat Pasta Gluten-Free?
YES - despite having the word "wheat" in its name, buckwheat is a naturally gluten-free food that is related to the rhubarb plant. As a versatile grain, it can be eaten steamed in place of rice or ground into fine flour for pasta. As a good source of fibre and protein, buckwheat is a great gluten-free food option.
Is Spinach Pasta Gluten-Free?
YES - Spinach pasta is low in calories and high in calcium, fibre, antioxidants, and B vitamins. Not only is it packed with nutrients that can help your vision, heart health, bones and energy levels, but it also tastes great and works very well with fresh pesto.
Try this gluten-free spinach gnocchi for a delicious and simple meal or as an irresistible side dish.
Is Durum Wheat Semolina Pasta Gluten-Free?
NO - Because durum wheat is semolina's source, this product is not suitable for people who need to follow a gluten-free diet. If you're looking for flour like semolina, but in a gluten-free version, there are quite a few alternatives available such as almond flour and cassava flour.
Is Soybean Pasta Gluten-Free?
YES - This GF pasta is made from a single ingredient - soybeans, making it a great source of protein and fibre, with a much lower carbohydrate content. Not only does it taste similar to regular pasta it contributes important vitamins and nutrients to your diet.
Is Chickpea Pasta Gluten-Free?
YES - chickpea pasta is a gluten-free variety of pasta that has gained a lot of attention lately among health-conscious consumers.
There's a hint of chickpea flavour and a more chewy texture in this pasta, but it is not unlike regular pasta. It’s also a high-protein, high-fibre alternative, packing about 13 grams of protein and 7 grams of fibre into each two-ounce (57-gram) serving.
Chickpeas and their protein and fibre qualities have a filling effect and can help reduce your calorie intake throughout the day to aid weight control.
Our Favourite Gluten-Free Pasta Recipes
Now that you've chosen a GF pasta alternative it's time to find a recipe. Our top tip for finding awesome pasta recipes is to cheat, take traditional pasta recipes and simply swap in your GF pasta alternative.
Or why not use our GF lasagna sheets to make this indulgent mushroom & garlic lasagna from Mob Kitchen that contains a staggering 40 cloves of garlic. Or for a dinner party, you might want to try this fusilli alla vodka with tomato and basil which works well with our GF cornflour fusilli pasta.
A few more frequently asked questions when it comes to cooking your GF pasta:
Can You Reheat Gluten-Free Pasta?
It is advised that you do not reheat gluten-free pasta. This is because the absence of gluten means that the pasta does not hold together as well as traditional pasta. So, it is best to eat your GF bowl of goodness fresh.
Can You Freeze Gluten-Free Pasta?
You can freeze uncooked gluten-free pasta, but we’d advise you to eat cooked pasta fresh. Gluten-free pasta does not hold up well to defrosting, as the absence of gluten makes it harder for the pasta to hold together when reheated.
Order Gluten-Free Pasta Online at Lavida Food
At Lavida Food, we believe that when it comes to food, your senses should be able to have it all, despite your allergies, or dietary choices.
That is why we have researched and travelled the world to supply the UK market with the best allergy-sensitive, healthy, and wholesome products that do not compromise on taste, quality, or texture.Our gluten-free pasta offering includes amazing GF alternatives from brands such as Liberto and Semper - choose from eye-catching black organic soy fettuccine noodles, gluten-free tagliatelle, corn penne rigate, and many more.