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Nutritional values of pasta

Pasta

Range of products

The oldest pasta recipes show that meals were being combined with pasta over 4,000 years ago in China. Around 1290, Marco Polo is said to have brought several long and thin examples of pasta from China to Italy.

Every German consumes on average 5.5 kilos of pasta every year. This doesn’t include instant pasta meals from tins, from the frozen food cabinet and from the deep freeze. Pasta is supplied in diverse forms and in the shops these are divided into three groups: Long pasta (e.g. spaghetti and macaroni), short pasta (e.g. penne, spirals and Spaetzle) and soup pasta (e.g. small stars and letters). However, there are also special types of pasta, including vegetable and wholemeal pasta. Right at the top of the popularity scale when it comes to pasta sales are spaghetti, macaroni and tagliatelle. In addition to pasta supplied as dry products, there’s also a wide range of fresh pasta, for example filled ravioli or tortellini. Pasta is also a big seller as an instant product onto which you simply pour hot water, or as country-specific specialities. Here, the products on offer range from Swabian Spaetzle and Asian glass noodles, to types of Italian pasta.

Ingredients and nutritional values

Pasta has long since discarded its reputation as a fattening food. Its fibre content is highly sought after today and not just in sports nutrition. Of course, the proportion of fibre in wholegrain pasta is higher than in traditional pasta. The basic recipe for pasta is extremely easy: wheat, water, possibly egg and salt. Pasta consists of up to 70% carbohydrates in the form of starch. The main minerals are phosphorus, iron and magnesium. However, pasta supplies little vegetable protein and fat.

Nutritional values

based on 75 g uncooked weight, which corresponds to around one large portion of egg pasta on the side

Energy: 270 kcal/1,130 kJ
Protein: 10g
Fat: 2.1g
Cholesterol: 65mg
Carbohydrate: 53g
Fibre: 2.5g (8% of the recommended daily intake of 30g)
Iron: 2.3mg (17.6%)*
Phosphorus: 115mg (16%)*
Vitamin B1: 0.13mg (11%)*
Niacin: 1.5mg (10.7%)*
Magnesium: 32mg (10%)*
Vitamin A: 45 µg (5%)*

* of the recommended daily intake|

Source: The large GU Nutritional Information table, 2006/07.

The recommended daily intake amounts correspond to the reference values for nutrient intake (2000) for an adult.

Buying and storing pasta

Pasta

The low price makes pasta in any form a healthy and affordable food. Somewhat more expensive are special types and varieties which are usually available in stores with a wide selection of pasta. Pasta can be stored for a very long time in dry form. A dry, airy place at room temperature is best suited for this, preferably not directly next to other foods with a strong odour. The attractive pasta glass on the kitchen shelf is rather unsuitable for storage purposes however. The light causes the pasta to lose vitamins, colour and taste. When properly stored, pasta will retain its taste and quality for approximately three years.

Preparation

Pasta is a very versatile staple food. Whether served as an accompaniment, a meal in its own right, as a soup ingredient or as a dessert – pasta offers almost unlimited possibilities for a varied and healthy diet. There’s no doubt that pasta is also popular because it is relatively uncomplicated and quick to prepare and simple to serve out. The mains things you need to succeed are a sufficiently large saucepan and plenty of water. For 100g of dry pasta, you should add approximately one pinch of salt to one litre of water and bring it to the boil. The pasta is cooked with the saucepan uncovered and with briskly boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes until it is firm to the bite (al dente). If you like your pasta somewhat softer, just let it boil for a bit longer. Now and then, take a piece of pasta from the saucepan, cool it and taste it – in this way you’ll discover just the right consistency for your taste.

Pasta

Particular characteristics

Whether as a bake, accompaniment or in soup, pasta can be prepared in numerous ways and always tastes good to both young and old. Anyone watching their figure needn’t think twice about eating pasta. This is because it’s not the pasta which is fattening but the pasta sauces. Pasta with a fruity tomato sauce, for example, contains fewer calories and less fat than sauces with cream and cheese.

But pasta is a good choice in another respect as well: pasta made of just durum wheat contains no egg and therefore is suitable for anyone with a high blood-fat level. For people who suffer from coeliac disease/sprue (intolerance to gluten), there are special types of pasta which are gluten free instead of containing wheat, spelt or rye. These can mainly be found in health food shops or special departments of supermarkets. Diabetics should calculate that approximately 45g of cooked pasta equals one carbohydrate unit. With wholegrain pasta (uncooked), approximately 15g equals one carbohydrate unit.