Ladies and gentleman, welcome to the very first DietsInReview.com Food Fight. You won’t get messy, but you will be a little more informed. Every two weeks (alternating with Food Finds), we’ll present a food match-up: two similar foods, both claiming to be the healthiest option, will go head-to-head in our nutritional ring to find out which prevails as the best. We’re looking at a three-round match: Nutrition Facts, Taste and Ingredients, Cost and Accessibility. So, let’s get started.
Fiber Gourmet says it is “the world’s first ‘light’ or reduced-calorie pasta with 40% fewer calories. It has been engineered to taste like “regular” pasta, but offer more nutritional value.
Barilla Plus is a multigrain pasta, endorsed as part of the Bob Greene Bestlife diet. It offers a good source of protein and ALA Omega-3.
ROUND 1: Nutrition Facts
Serving size, printed on the package, based on 2oz. of uncooked pasta.
Calories: FG = 130, BP = 210
Fat: FG = 1g, BP = 2g
Sodium: FG = 120mg, BP = 25mg
Total Carbs: FG = 42g, BP = 38g
Dietary Fiber: FG = 20g, BP = 4g
WW Points: FG = 2, BP = 4
Fiber Gourmet seems to lead the round, based on having significantly less calories, more fiber and less fat than its competitor. The near 100mg more of sodium found in FG is definitely cause for concern. Barilla Plus does have calcium and more iron, where the FG does not.
ROUND 2: Taste and Ingredients
This is a tough round because each person’s personal preference will vary. I only eat whole grain pasta, and often the Barilla. I’ve grown accustomed to the taste. The Fiber Gourmet was definitely the right pasta for someone who enjoys that “traditional” starchy white pasta taste. It did seem a bit pasty to me, but firm and when blended with sauce was not too bad. The Barilla has a taste that does vary from the “traditional” pasta, but not so much that its a turn off. It’s not grainy and actually has a lot of flavor, it also cooks to a perfect al dente stage and tastes great no matter what it is in.
FG only comes in a fettucini-style noodle, but in flavors like whole wheat, classic, spinach and tomato. BP only comes in its regular multigrain pasta, but in six noodle styles.
As for ingredients, both have great lists that don’t call out any concerning items. Both have semolina, niacin, iron, riboflavin and folic acid. The FG has modified wheat starch and wheat gluten, while the BP has a grain and legume blend with lentils, chickpeas, egg whites, barley, flaxseed, oats and a few other items.
This round goes to Barilla Plus.
ROUND 3: Cost and Accessibility
Fiber Gourmet is available in 23 states in a variety of health food and chain grocery stores. Individual bags in store will vary, but cost about $3.00 for an 8oz. package. Their site lists each store in which you’ll find it. It’s also available for purchase online in bulk for prices ranging from $18.49 to $44.99.
Barilla Plus is sold in major and private grocery chains across the U.S. and the site lets you search availability by ZIP code. 14.5oz. packages sell for about $3.00 each. Online retailers like Amazon have it available in two-packs for $6.00.
This round goes to Barilla Plus.
There is no doubt that Fiber Gourmet is a quality product- especially for those looking for a traditional white pasta flavor, with healthier nutritional value. However, due to taste, its wholesome ingredients and greater accessibility, we deem Barilla Plus the winner of the Food Fight: Pasta.
June 24th, 2008