Pasta is a staple food in many countries and traditionally it’s made of wheat flour. However, in recent years gluten-free alternatives have become popular and one of them is chickpea pasta.
If you already eat whole-wheat pasta and you have now discovered chickpea pasta you may wonder which one is healthier. Chickpea pasta is made from chickpeas and water while whole wheat pasta is made from whole wheat flour and water. But which one is nutritionally better?
In this article, we analyse the nutritional values of both types of pasta and compare their health benefits.
Chickpea pasta vs whole wheat pasta – Nutritional values
Both types of pasta are high in carbohydrates and contain no saturated fats. Chickpea pasta has more protein than whole wheat pasta but less fibre.
Below you can see a comparison of their nutritional values side by side. For this comparison, we picked two popular pasta brands: Barilla and Banza.
|Nutritional values||WHOLE WHEAT PENNE PASTA (Barilla)|
per 2 oz, dry (56g)
|CHICKPEA PENNE PASTA (Banza)|
per 2 oz
|Total fat||1.5 g||3 g|
|Saturated fat||0 g||0 g|
|Total Carbohydrate||39 g||35 g|
|Dietary Fiber||7 g||5 g|
|Sugar||1 g||1 g|
|Protein||8 g||11 g|
|Calcium||2 % DV*||4% DV*|
|Iron||10 % DV||20 % DV|
|Thiamin||40 % DV||0|
|Potassium||6% DV||10% DV|
|Riboflavin||25 % DV||0|
|Niacin||45 % DV||0|
|Folate||20 % DV||0|
|Phosphorous||20 % DV||10% DV|
|Magnesium||15 % DV||10% DV|
|Zinc||20 % DV||0|
|Manganese||70 % DV||0|
There is no information online on whether Banza chickpea pasta contains any B vitamins, but chickpea flour does contain various B vitamins on its own.
Chickpea pasta vs whole wheat pasta – Calories
Chickpea pasta has more calories per serving than whole wheat pasta but the difference is not big.
Banza chickpea penne pasta has 190 calories per 2oz serving while Barilla whole wheat penne pasta has 180 calories. A 10-calorie difference will only matter if you obsessively count calories, otherwise, we can safely say these two types of pasta have almost the same amount of calories.
However, if you are trying to lose weight, it’s not only the calories you should be looking at. You should also consider how much a particular type of food fills you up. Since chickpea pasta contains more protein, it’s also more filling and therefore better for weight loss.
Chickpea pasta vs whole wheat pasta – Carbs
When we compare carbs in chickpea pasta vs carbs in whole wheat pasta, we can see that chickpea pasta has fewer carbs (35 g per serving vs 39 g per serving in whole wheat pasta).
If you follow a low-carb diet you won’t be able to have a whole portion of either whole wheat pasta or chickpea pasta as they are considered to be high in carbs. However, it’s worth pointing out that these carbs are not bad for you as they also contain fibre, protein and various minerals and vitamins, which can all be beneficial if you are trying to lose weight.
Both types of pasta contain 1g of naturally occurring sugars per serving.
Whole wheat pasta has more fibre than chickpea pasta, containing 7g of fibre per portion vs 5g in chickpea pasta.
Fibre is important for healthy digestion and can make us feel fuller so from this point of view, whole wheat pasta is a better choice.
We should all eat around 30g of fibre per day and having a portion of whole wheat pasta can supply us with around 23% of the daily needs of fibre.
Chickpea pasta vs whole wheat pasta – Protein
Chickpea pasta has more protein than whole wheat pasta containing 11 grams of protein per 2 oz serving, while whole wheat pasta only contains 8 grams per serving.
So, if you are trying to increase your protein intake, then chickpea pasta is a better option.
Chickpea pasta vs whole wheat pasta – Health benefits
Both types of pasta have a range of health benefits.
Chickpea pasta comes with the following benefits:
- It is high in protein, therefore a great choice for those trying to build muscle and recover after exercise.
- Contains no wheat, so it’s allergy friendly and suitable for those who cannot tolerate wheat.
- Contains a good amount of iron, therefore can help prevent iron-deficiency anaemia. Getting enough iron will also ensure your immune system is working optimally.
- Provides a higher amount of potassium than whole wheat pasta which is an important mineral responsible for regulating muscle contractions and fluid in the body.
- Contains twice the amount of calcium of whole wheat pasta which is a mineral important for strong bones and regulating muscle contractions.
Whole wheat pasta is also beneficial for health in many different ways:
- Its high fibre content means that it will help you keep your digestive system healthy and will lower inflammation. It will also keep you full for longer which can help with weight management.
- Whole wheat pasta contains a good amount of several B vitamins which help to convert food into energy and are important for a healthy nervous system.
- Eating whole grains such as whole wheat pasta can help lower the risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.
Both whole wheat and chickpea pasta will give you plenty of energy due to their high content of carbs.
Is whole wheat or chickpea pasta healthier?
Both types of pasta are a good choice if you are switching from regular pasta as they are higher in protein and fibre and contain more nutrients.
However, chickpea pasta has fewer carbs and more protein which makes it more filling and therefore a better choice if you are trying to lose weight.
Chickpea pasta is also better for you if you don’t tolerate wheat well or if you like to avoid gluten.
Whole wheat pasta, on the other hand, contains a wide range of B vitamins and zinc and manganese, which don’t appear in chickpea pasta. But chickpea pasta has more iron and calcium.
Both whole wheat and chickpea pasta are healthy and which one you choose depends on your personal preferences and health goals. If you aim to increase protein in your diet or you would like to eat less wheat, then chickpea pasta is your best bet.
On the other hand, if you are trying to eat more fibre, then whole wheat pasta wins although both types of pasta are fibre-rich.
For weight loss, chickpea pasta may be a better option as it contains more protein and it’s more filling.