A lower starch (carbs are also in vegetables like broccoli – we don’t want to eat less of that we need more!), higher protein diet is extremely satiating, meaning you stay full for longer, have fewer hunger pangs and cravings, and are less likely to overeat. It also helps keep sugar levels more steady meaning better energy levels, so It’s therefore very useful when trying to lose weight or even just become more healthy and have fewer energy crashes throughout the day.
Whilst you don’t have to abstain from starches completely whilst eating low carb, most people’s idea of a bowl of pasta is way out of proportion to what is considered a balanced diet even by non-low-carb standards.
If opting for a low starch lifestyle then the quantity of pasta eaten at one sitting would be less than most people, so you begin to wonder whether it’s worth cooking it at all. Certainly I’m usually lazy when it comes to this and conclude it’s not worth the effort. So when I came across high protein, low carb pasta that would enable me to eat a more reasonable portion without drastically increasing my starch intake, I thought I’d give it a go.
Looking at the label, the ingredients list is an impressive only four ingredients, and since I dislike ‘fake’ and ‘chemical’ food not only because of the lack of taste but because I believe ‘real’ food is more compatible with our bodies and therefore more beneficial to health, I was very happy to eat this so long as it tasted ok.
Pea Protein Isolate (55%), Durum Wheat, Semolina, Fresh Eggs (13%).
The wheat means in contains gluten, so sorry this isn’t suitable for coeliacs and people with gluten sensitivity. I don’t feel great if I eat too much gluten containing foods, so for me this is a treat. But using pea means it’s ok for people with a dairy intolerance, in pact pea protein is my favourite protein supplement – it’s easy to digest and keeps you full.
Nutrients Name / Per 100g (For 100g ‘average’ dried white wheat pasta)
Energy (kcal) / 396 (355)
Protein / 50.0g (11.5) <<<<< much higher than ‘regular’ pasta
Carbohydrate / 31g (73g) <<<<< less than half of ‘regular’ pasta
of which Sugars / 2.3g (3g)
Fat / 7.5g (1.3g)
of which Saturates / 1.5g (0.3g)
Fibre / 2.0g (2.8g)
Sodium / 1.5g (0g)
Nutritionally, it is obviously much higher in protein (from both the pea protein and the eggs) and lower in carbs than ‘regular’ pasta. It has more fat, but that’s due to the presence of eggs, and my comparison was against wheat pasta that did not contain eggs; an egg based one would contain more fat. In any case fat is absolutely essential to health – it’s sugar, or starch that gets broken down into sugar that we should eat less of, but you know that if you read my blog regularly. I would have likes to have seen more fibre, but since vegetables are such an important part of any healthy diet not just a fat loss promoting one, you should get all the fibre you need there. Sodium, whilst so often vilified, is actually naturally present in many foods, including eggs.
Moving on to the cooking and eating part, the pasta takes no longer to cook than dried wheat pasta, and has an equally long shelf life.
I would advise sticking to the recommended 12 minutes boiling time – this gives it a lovely ‘bite’, but over cook it and it easily goes a bit mushy and starts to taste chalky. Adding a little oil to the cooking water or whilst serving would prevent it sticking together, though this is the case with regular pasta too.
Other than that it tasted exactly the same as wheat pasta, though, by no surprise, it was much more satisfying. The recommended portion is 100g (uncooked weight) per person, and whilst someone with high calorie requirements might need that, 50g with a little bit of cheese sauce and lots of vegetables was plenty for me.
It’s been a while since I’ve eaten a good portion of pasta, and whilst I haven’t missed it, this product I would buy again.
Other ideas for alternatives include quinoa pasta, black bean spaghetti (both of which are higher in protein) konjac pasta or noodles (a virtually calorie free fibre, tastes ‘different’, try it and decide for yourself), or using a spiralizer to create spaghetti out of courgettes, carrots, or butternut squash.