Barley vs Pasta: Which Is Healthier?
Barley and pasta belong to the grains food group, one of the staple food groups for people on a plant-based diet.
Grains and grain products are an affordable source of carbohydrates, as well as essential vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins (such as thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin), iron, and zinc, minerals that are usually harder to get on a plant-based diet.
They also provide a small amount of protein and healthy fats.
However, it is important to note that whole grains are generally a better source of these nutrients than refined grains.
This article will thoroughly compare barley and pasta and help you learn more about their similarities and differences.
Barley (Hordeum vulgare) is a cereal grain widely grown in many parts of the world and has been a staple food for thousands of years. It is closely related to wheat and oats.
Barley is a good source of carbohydrates, dietary fibers, and small amounts of vitamins and minerals like magnesium, phosphorus, and B vitamins. It is also rich in antioxidants and protein, making it a valuable food for vegetarians and vegans.
Barley is commonly used in brewing beer, animal feed, and as a food grain. It can be used in soups, stews, and as a side dish, either whole or ground into flour. It is also gluten-free and easy to digest, making it a great option for people with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease.
Barley is considered a functional food, as it has been shown to positively impact health when consumed regularly as part of a balanced diet. It is also a sustainable crop, as it can be grown in poor soil conditions and is resistant to pests and diseases.
Barley is an excellent source of Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), and Vitamin B3 (Niacin).
It also contains a good amount of Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), and Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine) and some Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid), Vitamin B9 (Folate), and Vitamin E.
Pasta is a traditional Italian food made from wheat flour and water. The most common types of pasta include spaghetti, macaroni, linguine, and fettuccine. Still, there are many other varieties available.
Pasta is a good source of carbohydrates, which provide energy for the body. It also contains small amounts of protein, fiber, and vitamins and minerals like iron and B vitamins, depending on the type of pasta and the flour used.
It is also low in fat and calories, making it a great option for weight management and a balanced diet. It can be enjoyed as a part of a healthy diet when paired with vegetables and lean protein sources such as legumes and in moderate portions.
Pasta can be enjoyed in a variety of ways; it can be cooked in different sauces, with herbs and spices, and can also be used in salads and soups. There are also different types of pasta available for those who are gluten intolerant or prefer a lower-carb option, such as rice pasta, quinoa pasta, and lentil pasta.
Pasta is not an excellent source of any particular vitamin.
However, it also contains a good amount of Vitamin B3 (Niacin) and some Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid), Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine), and Vitamin B9 (Folate).
Barley vs Pasta Nutrition
Now that we’ve described the origin, taste, and usage of these foods, we can move to the most interesting part – comparing barley vs pasta.
This comparison will start by comparing the caloric value of barley and pasta and their macronutrients and then go more in-depth by analyzing their vitamin and mineral content.
|Energy||354 kcal||371 kcal|
|Carbs||73.5 g||74.7 g|
|Sugar||0.8 g||2.67 g|
|Fiber||17.3 g||3.2 g|
|Protein||12.5 g||13 g|
|Fat||2.3 g||1.51 g|
|Saturated Fat||0.482 g||0.277 g|
Barley vs Pasta Calories
Most calories in grains come from carbs.
Comparing barley vs pasta for weight loss, barley is slightly lower in calories, with 354 calories per 100 grams, compared to 371 calories per 100 grams of pasta.
However, both barley and pasta can and should be a part of a healthy diet, and neither one shouldn’t be avoided if you’re looking to lose weight.
Barley vs Pasta Protein
Grains and most grain products, including barley and pasta, are important sources of plant-based protein.
However, it should be noted that most grains, with the exception of quinoa and buckwheat, for example, are low in lysine and methionine.
That said, you can combine grains with legumes to get a complete protein.
Pasta offers around 4% more protein than barley.
Pasta has 13 grams of protein per 100 grams, while barley has 12.5 grams of protein per 100 grams.
Barley vs Pasta Carbs
Counting carbs can be important for some people for different reasons, including blood sugar control, weight management, or athletic performance.
It’s also important for people on a keto diet, so let’s compare the carbs content in barley and pasta.
The total amount of carbohydrates is around 2% higher in pasta than in barley. It has 74.7 grams per 100 grams, compared to 73.5 grams in barley.
There’s less sugar in barley than in pasta, 70% precisely.
That said, 100 grams of barley contains 0.8 grams of sugar, while the same amount of pasta contains 2.7 grams.
Lastly, let’s take a look at the dietary fiber in barley and pasta.
Dietary fiber keeps the digestive system healthy and helps with weight management by promoting a sense of fullness.
With 17.3 grams of fiber per 100 grams, barley is a better source of fiber than pasta which barley offers 3.2 grams per 100 gram portion.
Barley vs Pasta Fats
Like most other grains, barley and pasta are low in fat.
Fats in barley and pasta are mostly healthy unsaturated fats. They are naturally cholesterol-free and trans-fat-free.
Total fat in barley and pasta:
- Barley: 2.3 grams per 100 grams
- Pasta: 1.5 per 100 grams
Speaking of saturated fats, pasta is 40% lower in saturated fats.
Pasta and barley contain 0.3 grams and 0.5 grams of saturated fat per 100 grams, respectively.
Barley vs Pasta Vitamins Content
This section will discuss the vitamin content of barley and pasta.
Vitamins are micronutrients, meaning we need only a small amount. However, they are very important for many processes in our bodies.
Barley has a higher amount of vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid).
However, pasta has a higher amount of vitamin A, vitamin B1 (Thiamine), vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), vitamin B3 (Niacin), vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine), vitamin B9 (Folate), vitamin E, and vitamin K.
Barley and pasta contain the same amount of vitamin C, vitamin D, and vitamin B12 (Cobalamin).
The following table shows the exact amount of vitamins barley and pasta contain side by side, so you can easily compare them.
|Vitamin A||22 IU||0|
|Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)||0.646 mg||0.09 mg|
|Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)||0.285 mg||0.06 mg|
|Vitamin B3 (Niacin)||4.6 mg||1.7 mg|
|Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)||0.282 mg||0.431 mg|
|Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine)||0.318 mg||0.142 mg|
|Vitamin B9 (Folate)||19 µg||18 µg|
|Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)||0||0|
|Vitamin E||0.57 mg||0.11 mg|
|Vitamin K||2.2 µg||0.1 µg|
Barley vs Pasta Minerals Content
Minerals are important for our body to function properly. We need only a small amount of minerals, so they are called micronutrients.
Some minerals, like iron, calcium, zinc, or iodine, are relatively hard to get on a plant-based diet, so it’s important to choose your foods thoughtfully. This part of the barley and pasta comparison focuses on their mineral content.
Barley is a better source of selenium than pasta.
On the other hand, pasta is a higher amount of calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and zinc.
Barley and pasta contain the same amount of fluoride.
Check out the table below to learn how barley and pasta compare when it comes to mineral content.
|Calcium||33 mg||21 mg|
|Copper||0.498 mg||0.289 mg|
|Iron||3.6 mg||1.3 mg|
|Magnesium||133 mg||53 mg|
|Manganese||1.94 mg||0.917 mg|
|Phosphorus||264 mg||189 mg|
|Potassium||452 mg||223 mg|
|Selenium||37.7 µg||63.2 µg|
|Sodium||12 mg||6 mg|
|Zinc||2.77 mg||1.41 mg|
The Final Word
This article highlighted the similarities and differences between barley and pasta.
Grains, also known as cereal grains, are an important source of nutrition for many people around the world. They are a rich source of carbohydrates, which provide energy for the body.
Whole grains contain important vitamins and minerals, such as B vitamins and iron. Whole grains, in particular, are high in dietary fiber and can help with digestion and weight management.
They may also have other health benefits, such as reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer.
Grains are also a staple food and an important source of food security in many parts of the world.
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- We cite relevant studies and trusted sources.
- It's regularly updated.
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