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Food Friday – Whole wheat or ‘regular’ pasta?

Food Friday – Whole wheat or ‘regular’ pasta?

Pasta is often found on the menu of our riders as it is packed with carbohydrates, but do our riders eat spelt-, whole wheat or ‘regular’ pasta? In this weeks’ Food Friday we talk about the advantages and disadvantages of the different types of grain that pasta is typically made from.

Wheat is a commonly used type of grain, for both regular- and whole wheat pasta. A kernel, or seed, consists of three components: the bran, germ and endosperm. Forget the naming, but not the essential nutritional fact that most fibers, vitamins and minerals origin from the bran and germ, the outer parts of the grain seed. Whole wheat pasta uses all of the kernel, whereas the bran and germ are removed to produce 'regular' pasta. Whole wheat products are considered healthier compared to refined wheat products, because of this higher concentration of nutrients.

Whole wheat pasta is packed with fibers and complex carbohydrates, causing you to feel satisfied sooner compared to regular pasta. Your body needs more time to digest, so the energy from the pasta is distributed evenly over time. On the contrary, regular pasta is made out of refined carbs, making it easier for your body to digest and use the energy quickly. Do you have a tough ride or a ride for multiple days? Choose a good plate of regular pasta, just like our riders do.

"Whole wheat pasta takes more time to digest"

Due to the fibers and complex carbohydrates

On those tough, long rides, our riders need to consume a lot of carbohydrates. A plate of regular pasta with the right amount of cabrohydrates is easier to consume compared to the same amount of carbohydrates with whole wheat pasta as you will feel satisfied sooner. Therefore, regular pasta is often found on the menu of our riders during a ride like the Giro d'Italia or Tour de France.

Spelt pasta has about the same nutrients as whole wheat pasta
. The most important difference is that spelt pasta origins from another, older type of grain. With a different type of grain comes a different type of gluten, making spelt pasta easier to digest for some people compared to (whole) wheat products. However, it isn't true that spelt pasta is the healthier alternative for whole wheat pasta.

Every type of pasta has its own advantages and disadvantages. Choose a plate of regular pasta after a (tough) long ride and some whole grain or spelt pasta on a day with little to none (cycling) activity. One more tip for those riders who aim for the perfect cycling lifestyle: limit the amount of sauce on your plate. Act like a true Italian and balance the amount of sauce with pasta.

Got hungry after all that reading about pasta? Get inspired by the recipes below!

Recipe 1: Whole wheat penne with salmon

Ingredients (4 persons):

  • 6 spoons extra vierge olive oil
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 690 grams Grand'Italia Sugocasa Tradizionale
  • 400 grams salmon fillets
  • 400 grams Grand'Italia Whole Wheat Penne
  • 75 grams arugola


  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan, and fry the shallots and bell peppers slowly. Add the Sugocasa and let it boil for about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the salmon fillets, put a lid on the pan and cook the salmon. Chop/break the salmon fillet into smaller pieces afterwards.
  3. In the meantime, tip the pasta into a pan of boiling water and cook the pasta according to the package instructions.
  4. Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce.
  5. Serve the pasta with some arugula on top.

Recipe 2: Whole wheat spaghetti with broccoli and sun dried tomatoes

Ingredients (4 persons):

  • 400 grams Grand’Italia Whole Wheat Spaghetti
  • 400 grams broccoli
  • 1 spoon extra vierge olive oil
  • 1 union, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, pressed
  • 690 grams Grand'Italia Sugocasa Erbe
  • 1 bunch of fresh oregano and/or basil, finely chopped
  • 90 grams sun dried tomatoes
  • 30 grams almonds
  • 50 grams grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Tip the pasta into a pan of boiling water and cook according to the package instructions.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the broccoli in another pan with boiling water and a pinch of salt. Drain the broccoli after cooking and rinse with some cold water.
  3. Heat some oil in a frying pan and fry the union with the garlic for about 1 minute. Add the Sugocase and 2/3 of the herbs.
  4. Chop the sun dried tomatoes and add it to the sauce together with the broccoli. Boil it altogether for about 5 to 10 minutes, and season with some pepper.
  5. Fry the almonds in a frying pan without any oil/butter until they color light brown, and put it aside.
  6. Mix the pasta with the sauce.
  7. Serve the pasta and garnish with the almonds, parmesan cheese and the remaining herbs.

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