Research suggests that Americans consume some 20 pounds of pasta per person every year. Many of them seek out alternatives, but the nutrients associated with some types of veggie pastas may surprise you. Many are higher in calories than you expect, or contain significantly less fiber than you hope. If you’re watching what you eat and want to make healthier choices, then it’s important to know what you’re getting with each bite of veggie pasta.
Given that it’s usually a pureed or powdered form of a vegetable that lends the pasta its color and “veggie” title, the pasta itself does not come loaded with a full-fledged slate of benefits linked to whole vegetables. Once the vegetable is processed, it loses many of its minerals, vitamins, and fiber. This is why it’s helpful to be mindful of your intake, says Tufts Medical Center dietitian Alicia Romano to Today’s Dietitian. “Although these pastas offer an opportunity to get a ‘vegetable serving’ in the diet, I counsel my patients to make room for vegetables in their whole form, rather than relying on pasta as a vegetable serving,” she states.
Fiber is an especially important factor, since many people turn to vegetables in an effort to increase their daily intake. Sometimes, though, that fiber is derived from konjac flour. What’s more, while many types of white pasta are enriched with beneficial nutrients like iron and folic acid, the same can’t be said for alternative veggie pasta.