Is pasta healthier than rice?

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: Is pasta healthier than rice? We will talk about the benefits and the risks of consuming pasta and rice, and whether we should consume these products for dinner or exclude them completely from our meal plan.

Is pasta healthier than rice?

Many people believe that pasta is not as healthy as rice. Although both foods are two important sources of carbohydrates, it is important to note that they come from two different sources and, therefore, their transformation into glucose in our body is different.

To begin with, let’s know that there are two types of carbohydrates, simple and complex. The former refers to processed foods such as bread, cookies, and pasta, among others. Due to their origin, they increase the level of glucose in the blood very quickly, which could trigger long-term insulin resistance if you eat frequently, excessively and there is no physical activity

On the other hand, there are complex carbohydrates, which do not go through refinement and include foods such as quinoa, brown rice, grains, and fruits, among others. This source of carbohydrates retain their natural vitamins and minerals

Although at first glance it seems that it has already been said if pasta is more fattening or rice, the truth is much deeper. The effect of carbohydrates on the body depends on the amount in which they are eaten and what your health status is. 

According to The Washington Post, “Carbohydrates are not the enemy”, says Julie Jones, emeritus professor of food and nutrition at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota (…) “overconsumption, of anything, is the enemy”.

Also, it should be said that white rice (not whole wheat) is what is most consumed in Mexico and in this fact, it is food as processed as pasta, which indicates that if one or the other is chosen, moderation is the key to avoiding obesity, diabetes mellitus or any other metabolic syndrome disorder, as well as inflammation of the body.

To assess which of the two affects us negatively to a greater extent, we must review our physical activity: are you a high-performance athlete, a moderate athlete, or is your life sedentary? Athletes are recommended to eat pasta because it raises blood sugar immediately, just what they need to perform better on their physical tests. If your life is spent in an office chair, it is best to consider this food, otherwise, it could be stored as fat.

So what is better to eat? According to the Jakarta Times “, a package of instant noodles can reach up to 400 calories. If you consume 100 grams of rice with a serving of lean meat, your calorie intake may not reach more than 300 calories.”

To consider:

Whole grain noodles are better compared to white rice (as stated, it is a refined grain). It is also best to choose brown or wild rice. If you suffer from obesity, overweight, diabetes, or hyperinsulinism, among other metabolic syndrome disorders, the ideal is to consult your doctor.

Is it advisable to have pasta and rice for dinner?

One of the great diet myths is that eating pasta and rice, as well as other carbohydrates, makes you fat, causes heaviness, insomnia, or is bad for your health. But this is not always the case, as these effects largely depend on the ingredients in the recipe and the amounts consumed. 

Nutritionists point out that carbohydrates do not make you fatter at night, but this depends on the total daily carbohydrate consumption. Pasta and rice do not cause heaviness or insomnia, with a few exceptions.

Is it good to have pasta for dinner?

The myth that eating pasta is fattening is wrong. No matter what time of day you consume it, a cup of boiled pasta contains about 140 calories. But if you maintain a balanced diet, pasta is not fattening, as it is a carbohydrate with a low glycemic index.

This means that pasta does not dramatically increase blood sugar levels, and therefore does not increase body weight or fat. Pasta is fattening if you accompany it with fatty foods, such as butter, sauces, or meats. But it is irrelevant whether you consume them during the day, at lunch, or at night, at dinner.

The myth that eating pasta causes insomnia is partially true. In the first place, the fact of having pasta for dinner is related to consuming foods that are not recommended at bedtimes, such as tomato sauce, peppers, and paprika. But pasta by itself does not cause insomnia if you consume it in moderate amounts.

Is it advisable to have rice for dinner?

Rice is another carbohydrate and, like pasta, it is not fattening just because you eat it at night. A cup of cooked rice has the same amounts of calories as pasta and a higher glycemic index, which is why it raises blood sugar, makes you fatter and predisposes you to diabetes.

Instead, you can consume brown rice, in small amounts, and combine it with healthy foods. A good option is to dine on whole wheat pasta or brown rice with raw vegetables, as they will improve your intestinal transit in the morning.

The bottom line

When it comes to how healthy a type of food is, we have to take many factors under consideration: how often we consume it, in what quantity, what do we combine it with, do we use sauce or not, how often we exercise, etc. 

Even though pasta, bread, potatoes, or rice have a high percentage of carbohydrates in their composition, it is not advisable to eliminate them from our daily diet, even if we are looking to lose weight. The ideal is to include them but in a sensible way.

Remember that carbohydrates provide the same calories as protein and less than fat, so there is no reason to eliminate them from the diet. We should prefer whole grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruits and avoid high sugar consumption and refined products. A healthy and balanced diet is always associated with a decrease in the incidence of many diseases.

If you have any comments or questions on the content, please let us know!



Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.

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