Pasta or rice: what nutritional differences? - The360 Healthy

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  • Friday, January 3, 2020

    Pasta or rice: what nutritional differences?

    Pasta or rice: what nutritional differences?

    Starchy foods widely consumed around the world, rice and pasta are loyal allies in our daily meals. However, do they look as much alike as we think? Is there one better for the health than the other? Composition, how to cook them, nutritional verdict, Santé Magazine takes stock.

    When dinner time arrives, the choice often fluctuates between one and the other. Here are some arguments to successfully decide between them.

    1. The pasta

    Nutrition side

    Composition: it is a mixture of water and flour (commonly durum wheat) to which eggs can be added. they are found dry (humidity below 12%) or fresh (above 12%).

    Carbohydrate profile: they are rich in carbohydrates (65.8 g / 100 g, raw), mostly complex: 62 g come from starch, composed of chains of glucose molecules. Before being broken down into glucose molecules to be assimilated, they are slowly digested.

    Calorie intake: 336 calories per 100 g of raw standard dry pasta, or 126 calories per 100 g when cooked. Those with eggs are more energetic: 168 calories per 100 g cooked.

    Protein content: 11.5 g per 100 g of standard dry pasta. These proteins form a sticky substance, gluten, not easily digestible for some people and not tolerated by celiac patients. Of vegetable origin, these proteins do not contain all the essential amino acids and must be associated with other vegetable proteins (legumes...) to replace meat or fish. egg pasta is richer in protein (14 g) and egg pasta contains all the essential amino acids.

    Satiety index: the pasta is satisfying over the long term thanks to the slow absorption rate of its carbohydrates. their low glycemic index (iG) varies from 44 to 55 depending on many parameters including the degree of refinement and the cooking time. thus, the iG of spaghetti cooked al dente is 44, which remains very moderate.

    Kitchen side

    Cooking time: short, 8 to 12 min depending on the variety of pasta, 3 to 5 min for fresh ones.

    Difficulty: There is none, just immerse them in boiling salted water: 1 l per 100 g. we check the cooking by tasting: they must be a little firm, not crunchy.

    Possible combinations: Simple (olive oil fillet + chopped aromatic herbs...) or more sophisticated (poached fresh salmon + Greek yogurt + chives...), they go well with vegetables, meats, fish... Cold or hot!


    Satisfying, easy to prepare and accommodate: pasta is a must.

    Their main drawback is the digestive discomfort they can generate in some people, due to their high gluten content. For these people, there are pastas prepared with rice flour, legumes...

    2. Rice

    Nutrition side

    Composition: it is a cereal. Depending on the stage of transformation after harvest, it is found complete or brown (with germ and bran), white (germ and bran removed) or parboiled (subjected to a heat treatment to prevent the grains from sticking). it is also distinguished by the variety and size of the grain.

    Carbohydrate profile: the carbohydrate intake is high - 78.6 g per 100 g of cooked parboiler - but it is mainly starch: 72.1 g / 100 g. These contents change little according to the variety and the transformation undergone by the grain. these complex carbohydrates are transformed into simple glucose to be digested.

    Caloric intake: 356 calories per 100 g of raw parboiled rice, or 146 calories per 100 g cooked. The energy intake is almost identical for all varieties.

    Protein content: 7 g per 100 g of raw parboiled rice, which is low since a cooked 150 g portion provides only 5 g. Devoid of gluten, it is more digestible than wheat products, and is a starch of choice for celiac patients. Furthermore, it does not contain all of the essential amino acids.

    Satiety index: Its glycemic index is average: 64 for white rice, which means that it is fairly quickly assimilated. But many parameters influence this index such as the degree of refinement, the variety and the cooking time. for example, where refined quick-cooking rice has an iG of 87 (more than candy!), that of basmati rice is 58 and that of brown rice is 50.

    Kitchen side

    Cooking time: at least 10 min for parboiled rice, up to 20 min or more, depending on the variety and the degree of refinement.

    Difficulty: complex, ideal is an electric rice cooker (30 to 50 €) which ensures perfect cooking by absorption.

    Possible associations: it benefits from being spiced up with spices (curry, saffron...). fish and poultry like it, and it can be used as a base, combined with meat, for stuffing vegetables. Round, it forms the basis of risottos and makes rice pudding.


    Rice is a good energy supplier, particularly rich in complex carbohydrates. For better satiety, it is better to choose it unrefined (especially not fast cooking!) Or to opt for varieties like basmati rice, wild...

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