Bulgur vs Pasta: How Do They Compare?

This article explains the key similarities and differences between bulgur and pasta, foods from the grains food group. Read on to learn more about the bulgur vs pasta comparison.
Catherine Toledo, Journalist

Written by Catherine Toledo, Journalist. Updated on February 3, 2023.

Bulgur 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 bulgur and pasta and help you learn more about their similarities and differences.

Bulgur

Bulgur (Triticum aestivum) is a type of whole wheat that is made by steaming, drying, and then coarsely grinding wheat berries.

It is a good source of carbohydrates, dietary fibers, and small amounts of vitamins and minerals like iron, zinc, and B-vitamins. It is also rich in antioxidants and protein, making it a valuable food for vegetarians and vegans.

Bulgur is a staple ingredient in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines, often used in dishes such as tabbouleh and kibbeh. It can also be used in soups, stews, and as a stuffing. It is also gluten-free and easy to digest, making it a great option for people with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease.

Bulgur 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.

Bulgur is an excellent source of Vitamin B3 (Niacin).

It also contains a good amount of Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid), and Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine) and some Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), and Vitamin B9 (Folate).

Pasta

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).

Bulgur 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 bulgur vs pasta.

This comparison will start by comparing the caloric value of bulgur and pasta and their macronutrients and then go more in-depth by analyzing their vitamin and mineral content.

BulgurPasta
Energy342 kcal371 kcal
Carbs75.9 g74.7 g
Sugar0.41 g2.67 g
Fiber12.5 g3.2 g
Protein12.3 g13 g
Fat1.33 g1.51 g
Saturated Fat0.232 g0.277 g

Bulgur vs Pasta Calories

Most calories in grains come from carbs.

Comparing bulgur vs pasta for weight loss, bulgur is slightly lower in calories, with 342 calories per 100 grams, compared to 371 calories per 100 grams of pasta.

However, both bulgur 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.

Bulgur vs Pasta Protein

Grains and most grain products, including bulgur 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 5% more protein than bulgur.

Pasta has 13 grams of protein per 100 grams, while bulgur has 12.3 grams of protein per 100 grams.

Bulgur 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 bulgur and pasta.

The total amount of carbohydrates is around 2% higher in bulgur than in pasta. It has 75.9 grams per 100 grams, compared to 74.7 grams in pasta.

There’s less sugar in bulgur than in pasta, 85% precisely.

That said, 100 grams of bulgur contains 0.4 grams of sugar, while the same amount of pasta contains 2.7 grams.

Lastly, let’s take a look at the dietary fiber in bulgur and pasta.

Dietary fiber keeps the digestive system healthy and helps with weight management by promoting a sense of fullness.

With 12.5 grams of fiber per 100 grams, bulgur is a better source of fiber than pasta which bulgur offers 3.2 grams per 100 gram portion.

Bulgur vs Pasta Fats

Like most other grains, bulgur and pasta are low in fat.

Fats in bulgur and pasta are mostly healthy unsaturated fats. They are naturally cholesterol-free and trans-fat-free.

Total fat in bulgur and pasta:

  • Bulgur: 1.3 grams per 100 grams
  • Pasta: 1.5 per 100 grams

Speaking of saturated fats, bulgur is 33% lower in saturated fats.

Bulgur and pasta contain 0.2 grams and 0.3 grams of saturated fat per 100 grams, respectively.

Bulgur vs Pasta Vitamins Content

This section will discuss the vitamin content of bulgur and pasta.

Vitamins are micronutrients, meaning we need only a small amount. However, they are very important for many processes in our bodies.

Bulgur has a higher amount of vitamin E.

However, pasta has a higher amount of vitamin A, vitamin B1 (Thiamine), vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), vitamin B3 (Niacin), vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine), vitamin B9 (Folate), and vitamin K.

Bulgur and pasta contain the same amount of vitamin C, vitamin D, and vitamin B12 (Cobalamin).

The following table shows the exact amount of vitamins bulgur and pasta contain side by side, so you can easily compare them.

BulgurPasta
Vitamin A9 IU0
Vitamin C00
Vitamin D00
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)0.232 mg0.09 mg
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)0.115 mg0.06 mg
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)5.11 mg1.7 mg
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)1.04 mg0.431 mg
Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine)0.342 mg0.142 mg
Vitamin B9 (Folate)27 µg18 µg
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)00
Vitamin E0.06 mg0.11 mg
Vitamin K1.9 µg0.1 µg

Bulgur 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 bulgur and pasta comparison focuses on their mineral content.

Bulgur 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.

Bulgur and pasta contain the same amount of fluoride.

Check out the table below to learn how bulgur and pasta compare when it comes to mineral content.

BulgurPasta
Calcium35 mg21 mg
Copper0.335 mg0.289 mg
Fluoride00
Iron2.46 mg1.3 mg
Magnesium164 mg53 mg
Manganese3.05 mg0.917 mg
Phosphorus300 mg189 mg
Potassium410 mg223 mg
Selenium2.3 µg63.2 µg
Sodium17 mg6 mg
Zinc1.93 mg1.41 mg

The Final Word

This article highlighted the similarities and differences between bulgur 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.

Sources

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