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Whole Wheat vs. Regular Pasta: Which Type is Better for Cyclists

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You know that whole wheat pasta is better for you than white pasta, but do you understand why? 

Most people think that whole wheat pasta is just a healthier version of white pasta, but there are actually a lot of differences between the two.

Whole wheat pasta is made of complex carbs, which means they are digested more slowly and provide lasting energy. White pasta is made of refined carbs, which means they are digested quickly and cause blood sugar spikes.

Whole wheat pasta also contains protein, fiber, iron, magnesium, and zinc- all essential nutrients our bodies need to function properly.

Pasta tricolore

But there is much more. Let’s find out which pasta is better for cyclists: white or whole wheat.

Which has more calories? 

White pasta has around 10% more calories than whole wheat pasta. One serving of regular white pasta contains 200 calories ( 42 grams carbs, 7 grams protein, 3 grams of fiber ). In comparison, one serving of whole wheat pasta contains only 180 calories ( 39 grams carbs, 8 grams of protein, and 7 grams fiber ).

Read more: Are bananas good for cycling?

What makes a grain whole?

When a grain is harvested, it contains the bran, endosperm, and germ. The bran protects the seed ( kernel )while it’s growing in the field and provides fiber to help your digestive tract stay healthy. 

The endosperm is mostly starch with protein and small amounts of vitamins and minerals. This part stores energy to help the seed grow.

Wind blowing wheat

Then there is the germ, which contains antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids ( good for heart health ), and B vitamins ( helps break down carbs ). Whole grains can be ground into flour; refined grains are not whole because they have been treated to remove the nutrient-rich bran and germ.

White pasta is made from refined grain. The bran and germ are removed during the refining process, mainly leaving endosperm- which is why white pasta has lower nutritional content than whole wheat pasta.

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Why do cyclists eat pasta?

Cyclists eat pasta because it is a good energy source for their long rides. The carbs provide them with energy, while the protein and fiber help keep them full until they find something more substantial to eat. White pasta has less nutritional value than whole wheat pasta; whole wheat pasta is healthier for cyclists because it’s packed with nutrients.

On the other hand, white pasta is a great post-workout meal because you get carbs in as quickly as possible.

What about the glycemic index?

White pasta has a higher glycemic index than whole wheat pasta, but this metric is essential only to people with diabetes; for healthy cyclists, the higher the glycemic index of a meal, the better.

Read more: Keto Diet for Cyclists – Everything You Need to Know

Final Thoughts

Choose whole wheat pasta if you want more energy and a healthy digestive system. If you’re more concerned about getting the carbs as quickly as possible after a workout, choose white pasta instead.

In conclusion: whole wheat pasta is healthier for cyclists because it contains fiber, protein, iron, magnesium, and zinc- all essential nutrients your body needs. Refined pasta- like white pasta- is not necessarily healthy for your body, while whole grain pasta ( like whole-wheat ) is nutritious and provides you with more energy during long rides.

But if you don’t like the taste of whole wheat pasta ( like I don’t ), eat white pasta and forget about it.

So, which type of pasta do you prefer? Let us know in the comment section below!  

Read more: Healthy Grocery List for Cyclists

About Alek Asaduryan

Alek Asaduryan is the founder of YesCycling and has been riding bikes and in the cycling industry since 1991. Since then, his mission is to make cycling more accessible to everyone. And each year, he continues to help more people to achieve that. When he's not out riding his beloved fitness bike, Alek reports on news, gear, guides, and all things cycling related.

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