Couscous vs Pasta: Difference & Similarities
Couscous 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 couscous and pasta and help you learn more about their similarities and differences.
Couscous (Couscous) is a type of pasta made from small, round granules of semolina, which is the coarsely ground endosperm of durum wheat.
It is a good source of carbohydrates and small amounts of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals like iron and B vitamins, depending on the ingredients used in the dish’s preparation.
Couscous is a staple food in North Africa and the Middle East and is traditionally served as a side dish or as a base for stews and salads. It is also gluten-free and easy to digest.
Couscous can be enjoyed in various ways. It can be cooked in different sauces, with herbs and spices, and can also be used in salads and soups. It can also be paired with vegetables and lean protein sources such as legumes and in moderate portions.
Couscous is an excellent source of Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid).
It also contains a good amount of Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), and Vitamin B3 (Niacin) and some Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine), and Vitamin B9 (Folate).
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).
Couscous 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 couscous vs pasta.
This comparison will start by comparing the caloric value of couscous and pasta and their macronutrients and then go more in-depth by analyzing their vitamin and mineral content.
|Energy||376 kcal||371 kcal|
|Carbs||77.4 g||74.7 g|
|Sugar||0 g||2.67 g|
|Fiber||5 g||3.2 g|
|Protein||12.8 g||13 g|
|Fat||0.64 g||1.51 g|
|Saturated Fat||0.117 g||0.277 g|
Couscous vs Pasta Calories
Most calories in grains come from carbs.
Comparing pasta vs couscous for weight loss, pasta is slightly lower in calories, with 371 calories per 100 grams, compared to 376 calories per 100 grams of couscous.
However, both couscous 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.
Couscous vs Pasta Protein
Grains and most grain products, including couscous 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 2% more protein than couscous.
Pasta has 13 grams of protein per 100 grams, while couscous has 12.8 grams of protein per 100 grams.
Couscous 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 couscous and pasta.
The total amount of carbohydrates is around 3% higher in couscous than in pasta. It has 77.4 grams per 100 grams, compared to 74.7 grams in pasta.
There’s less sugar in couscous than in pasta, 100% precisely.
That said, 100 grams of couscous contains 0 grams of sugar, while the same amount of pasta contains 2.7 grams.
Lastly, let’s take a look at the dietary fiber in couscous and pasta.
Dietary fiber keeps the digestive system healthy and helps with weight management by promoting a sense of fullness.
With 5 grams of fiber per 100 grams, couscous is a better source of fiber than pasta which couscous offers 3.2 grams per 100 gram portion.
Couscous vs Pasta Fats
Like most other grains, couscous and pasta are low in fat.
Fats in couscous and pasta are mostly healthy unsaturated fats. They are naturally cholesterol-free and trans-fat-free.
Total fat in couscous and pasta:
- Couscous: 0.6 grams per 100 grams
- Pasta: 1.5 per 100 grams
Speaking of saturated fats, couscous is 67% lower in saturated fats.
Couscous and pasta contain 0.1 grams and 0.3 grams of saturated fat per 100 grams, respectively.
Couscous vs Pasta Vitamins Content
This section will discuss the vitamin content of couscous and pasta.
Vitamins are micronutrients, meaning we need only a small amount. However, they are very important for many processes in our bodies.
Couscous has a higher amount of vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine), vitamin E, and vitamin K.
However, pasta has a higher amount of vitamin B1 (Thiamine), vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), vitamin B3 (Niacin), vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid), and vitamin B9 (Folate).
Couscous and pasta contain the same amount of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, and vitamin B12 (Cobalamin).
The following table shows the exact amount of vitamins couscous and pasta contain side by side, so you can easily compare them.
|Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)||0.163 mg||0.09 mg|
|Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)||0.078 mg||0.06 mg|
|Vitamin B3 (Niacin)||3.49 mg||1.7 mg|
|Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)||1.24 mg||0.431 mg|
|Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine)||0.11 mg||0.142 mg|
|Vitamin B9 (Folate)||20 µg||18 µg|
|Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)||0||0|
|Vitamin E||0||0.11 mg|
|Vitamin K||0||0.1 µg|
Couscous 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 couscous and pasta comparison focuses on their mineral content.
Couscous is a better source of copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, and zinc than pasta.
On the other hand, pasta is a higher amount of calcium, and sodium.
Couscous and pasta contain the same amount of fluoride.
Check out the table below to learn how couscous and pasta compare when it comes to mineral content.
|Calcium||24 mg||21 mg|
|Copper||0.247 mg||0.289 mg|
|Iron||1.08 mg||1.3 mg|
|Magnesium||44 mg||53 mg|
|Manganese||0.78 mg||0.917 mg|
|Phosphorus||170 mg||189 mg|
|Potassium||166 mg||223 mg|
|Selenium||2.8 µg||63.2 µg|
|Sodium||10 mg||6 mg|
|Zinc||0.83 mg||1.41 mg|
The Final Word
This article highlighted the similarities and differences between couscous 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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