Organic Pasta, Is it actually better?

Organic Pasta, Is it actually better?

Organic Pasta, is it actually better?

For the last several years we’ve heard the words organic, wheat free, GMO free, tossed around almost constantly when we are in the grocery store. We are always told that one is so much better than the other. When we walk through the grocery store aisle there are so many different labels indicating the benefits. One of the most common is organic.

People most commonly associate organic with fruits and vegetables but it also applies to pasta and packaged foods.

To clear a few things up before we dive in we’re going to look some key terms.

Organic – “is food produced by methods that comply with the standards of organic farming. Standards vary worldwide, but organic farming in general features practices that strive to cycle resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity.” (Wiki)

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) – “Genetically modified crops are plants used in agriculture, the DNA of which has been modified using genetic engineering techniques. In most cases the aim is to introduce a new trait to the plant which does not occur naturally in the species. Examples in food crops include resistance to certain pests, diseases, or environmental conditions, reduction of spoilage, or resistance to chemical treatments” (Wiki)

Wheat Free – Commonly referred to as gluten free “A gluten-free diet is a diet that excludes the protein gluten. Gluten is found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye, and a cross between wheat and rye called triticale. A gluten-free diet is primarily used to treat celiac disease. Gluten causes inflammation in the small intestines of people with celiac disease.” (Mayo)

When given all these options, most people will gravitate toward organic products because that is what they are most familiar with and see most commonly on store shelves.

The concept that is associated with organic is that it is healthier than regular products – in this case related to pasta in this blog. There is some truth to that statement.

Compared to conventional pasta, organic pasta is produced with organically grown durum wheat semolina. To describe how pasta can be considered organic it means that in wheat production, the wheat that is in the field is not altered in anyway – it is free of chemicals, fertilizers of other growth hormones. This also includes anything that would disturb the soil from its natural state which for example would mean no manure mixed in the dirt. Not only is this applied to the growth of wheat in the fields, in order for it be labelled with the organic seal, it must also go through the milling and production stage without any chemical contact.

Benefits to Going Organic

Because organic products are grown in safe soil, there are no pesticides, fertilizers and manure based fertilizers. This means that your product is grown naturally with the nutrients the earth gives it. The main benefits may be the removing of harmful chemicals but from the perspective of wheat used in pasta, you will see the following benefits:

  • Organic pasta is free of genetically modified organisms (GMO) and packed with all natural ingredients. You are getting a more true product and nutrients that have not been enhanced.
  • Since there are no pesticides used during the entire process, it is better for the environment. Organic farming has different practices that reduce pollution, conserve water, reduce soil erosion and it also helps increase soil fertility providing better nutritional contents.
  • Organic products and pasta are often fresher than regular pasta because there are fewer preservatives used. You would see better quality if you are buying fresh, organic pasta and it is most likely produced near by the grocery store that is selling it.

Health Benefits of Organic Pasta

The obvious benefit to organic pasta is the removal of the fertilizers, pesticides and preservatives used during the production process. When we look at the direct health benefits of organic vs. regular pasta, you will no longer buy regular pasta.

In 100 grams of pasta, organic is the way to go. Organic has few calories, fats and saturated fats. It is also considerably lower in salt compared to regular pasta. The increase in salt found in regular pasta, up to 6.9 grams, is related to the preservatives added in the production process allowing to keep on store shelves longer. One way to get away from the large amounts of salts and fats is to purchase fresh pasta.

If you are curious about fresh pasta, check out one of our other blogs – https://www.healthynoodles.ca/making-pasta-home/ to learn more about how to make fresh pasta and the benefits – you can even make organic fresh pasta!

 

References

http://www.heliospasta.gr/page/default.asp?la=2&id=40&pl=1296&pk=10&ap=1295

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-eating/organic-foods.htm

https://www.nupasta.com/whats-the-difference-between-regular-and-organic-food/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetically_modified_organism#Plants

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organic_food

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/gluten-free-diet/art-20048530

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