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Food Face-Off: Which is Healthier?

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Whole-Wheat Spaghetti

(1/4 cup, dry)

Category

Gluten-Free Spaghetti

(1/4 cup, dry)

210

Our whole-wheat pasta and rice-flour pasta are identical in calories.

210

1.5 g

But gluten-free has a gram less fat.

0.5 g

10 mg

Sodium isn’t a concern here, since both kinds only deliver about 1% of your daily max.

15 mg

6%

Regular pasta packs more muscle-building potassium.

2%

14%

And GF-pasta packs even more carbs, believe it or not.

15%

19%

Whole-wheat sweeps in the fiber category.

4%

2 g

But hey, at least rice spaghetti has no sugar!

0 g

14%

Protein abounds in whole-wheat spaghetti.

8%

2%

But gluten-free has double the calcium.

4%

10%

And twice the oxygen-delivering iron.

20%

Whole-Wheat Spaghetti: 5WINNER: Whole-Wheat SpaghettiGluten-Free Spaghetti: 4

THE BOTTOM LINE: Cooked al dente and chowed in moderation, pasta can be part of a healthy meal. Regular trumped gluten-free in this round, but take the winnings with a pinch of salt. We compared two non-enriched products that contained only flour and no added vitamins or minerals: the wheat spaghetti had only durum whole-wheat flour and artichoke flour, while the gluten-free pasta was just rice flour and rice bran extract. GF pasta can be made from all kinds of things from quinoa to corn—ingredients matter most here, so your nutritional mileage may vary.

WHAT TO BUY: Pasta is a refined food, so too much isn’t a good idea. When you do indulge, choose high-quality noodles to better their nutritional profile and avoid artificial colors and flavors.

JUST SO YOU KNOW: We used nutritional data from a popular brand of high-quality pasta.

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