Best whole-grain pastas 10/12
(This article is adapted from the October 2012 Consumer Reports magazine.)
To find out if higher fiber pastas actually taste good, Consumer Reports trained tasters sampled 13 such good-for-you spaghettis, sans sauce.
Taste test results
Among whole-grain pastas, the two rated “Very Good” were store brands: Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. They both tasted sweet and nutty, with a good, chewy texture. The Whole Foods pasta had slightly fewer calories per cup.
Other pasta choices lost points for, among other issues, crumbly texture and cardboard-like flavor. The tasters tried the lower-rated brands with tomato sauce to see whether it masked their faults. It didn’t.
Most of the spaghettis earned a nutrition score of “Very Good” or “Good,” based on calories per gram, fats, sodium, sugars, iron, calcium, and fiber. Almost all have more fiber than regular spaghetti—5 or 6 grams per 1-cup serving (cooked), vs. about 2 grams for regular spaghetti.
The recommended daily value for fiber is about 25 grams for a person eating 2,000 calories per day. Just keep in mind that 1 cup of pasta isn’t much. Scarf down the contents of a big bowl, and you’ll consume far more calories than advertised.
What “whole grain” means
Whole grains contain 100 percent of the original kernel—bran, germ, and innermost part (endosperm). Whole wheat is just one type of whole grain. (Other types include oatmeal, millet, or brown rice.) For all the grains you eat in a day, according to Department of Agriculture guidelines, half should be whole. Eating whole grains regularly may help reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. To find whole-grain products, look for “whole grain” as one of the first listed ingredients on the label.
No pasta is pricey, but whole-wheat and added-nutrient types tend to cost a bit more than the regular type. But Trader Joe’s at 17 cents a serving was one of the least expensive pastas tested.
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