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How Many Carbs In Gluten Free Pasta?


The carb content of gluten-free pasta varies significantly depending on the base flour used and other factors. Corn, lentil and chickpea pasta tend to be lower in carbs while rice pasta can be higher. Shape, brand, cooking time, added protein and fiber levels also impact carb counts. While most gluten-free pasta has a lower glycemic index, some rice pastas can still raise blood sugar rapidly. Pairing pasta with vegetables, protein and olive oil can help minimize spikes.

Carb Content Varies By Type

The main factor impacting the carbohydrate content of gluten-free pasta is the base flour or combination of flours used. Different flour types yield significantly different amounts of digestible carbohydrates per serving.

In general, gluten-free pastas made primarily from corn, lentils or chickpeas tend to be lower in carbohydrates due to their higher protein and fiber content. A 1-ounce serving provides:

  • Corn pasta: Between 10 and 12 grams of carbs
  • Lentil pasta: Around 12 to 16 grams
  • Chickpea pasta: Approximately 15 to 18 grams

In contrast, pastas made primarily from rice flour tend to be higher in carbohydrates with fewer nutrients per serving. A 1-ounce serving provides:

  • White rice pasta: Around 25 to 30 grams of carbs
  • Brown rice or quinoa pasta: Typically 20 to 26 grams

It’s important to note that carb contents can vary widely between brands within the same type of gluten-free pasta. The ratios of flours, addition of other ingredients and recipe methods all impact the final carbohydrate density.

The type of flour used as the base is the primary determinant of carb levels in gluten-free pasta. Flours made from grains like corn, lentils and chickpeas generally yield pasta lower in digestible carbohydrates compared to rice flour pastas which tend to be higher in carbs.

Factors Affecting Carb Levels

In addition to the base flour, several other factors influence the carbohydrate content of gluten-free pasta:

  • Shape – Thinner pasta shapes have more surface area relative to their weight, which allows them to absorb more cooking water. The absorbed water contains carbohydrates that contribute to the overall carb content.
  • Brand – Different gluten-free pasta brands use varying ratios of flour, eggs and water in their recipes as well as various additions like psyllium. These unique formulations result in pastas with different levels of carbohydrates per serving.
  • Cooking time – Overcooking gluten-free pasta, a common problem, can cause it to absorb excess starch-filled water and increase its carbohydrate content. Properly cooking pasta al dente helps limit how many carbohydrate-containing carbs it soaks up.
  • Protein blend – Some gluten-free pasta brands fortify their flour with added protein powders to enhance the nutritional profile. This protein addition can slightly lower the carbohydrate density of the pasta.
  • Fiber – Higher amounts of soluble and insoluble fiber within the pasta, such as from chickpea flour or seeds, can bind with some carbohydrates and make them unavailable for absorption. This lowers the net digestible carbohydrate content.

In summary, although the base flour determines the carbohydrate range of gluten-free pasta, characteristics like shape, brand, cooking method, additional ingredients and fiber levels can cause variations within that range. Selecting pasta shapes with less surface area, brands with simpler recipes, checking cooking doneness and choosing higher fiber options can help lower the carb content.

Impact On Blood Sugar

The effect of gluten-free pasta on blood sugar levels largely depends on its glycemic index, or how quickly carbohydrates are absorbed and raise blood glucose. While most gluten-free pasta tends to have a lower glycemic index than wheat pasta, there is variation between types:

  • Corn, lentil and chickpea pasta typically has a lower glycemic index in the 50-60 range due to their higher fiber and protein content. These slow the absorption of carbs and release of glucose.
  • However, some rice pastas made from white flour have glycemic indexes over 70, similar to wheat pasta. Their simple carbohydrates are rapidly digested.
  • The fiber, protein and fat content of gluten-free pasta meals can help counteract the effect of high carbohydrates on blood sugar. These nutrients slow digestion and absorption of glucose.
  • Pairing gluten-free pasta with non-starchy vegetables, beans and lentils, lean protein and healthy fats like olive oil creates a lower glycemic load that is less likely to cause spikes in blood sugar and insulin.
  • For those with insulin issues like diabetes, checking labels for carbohydrate and fiber content per serving can help identify the pastas that are more likely to raise blood sugar. Lower carb and higher fiber options are preferable.

While most gluten-free pastas have a lower glycemic index than wheat pasta, some rice pastas can still pose risks for blood sugar spikes. The best strategies are to choose corn, lentil or chickpea pastas; pair pasta with filling, nutritious additions that balance the carbohydrates; and check nutrition labels for carb and fiber info to identify pastas that pose the smallest risks for those with insulin sensitivities. Following these guidelines can minimize potentially risky impacts on blood glucose levels after eating gluten-free pasta meals.

Some gluten-free pasta brands that tend to use whole ingredients with higher fiber and protein include:

  • Jovial – They offer a variety of gluten-free pastas made from lentils, chickpeas and rice.
  • Banza – Their pasta is made from chickpea flour and has a good balance of protein and fiber.
  • Barilla – Their gluten-free line includes corn and lentil pastas that likely have a lower glycemic index.
  • Ancient Harvest – They offer quinoa and lentil pastas that would be good options.

In conclusion, the carb and glycemic index of gluten-free pasta depends greatly on the base flour, shape, brand and other factors. In general, corn, lentil and chickpeas pastas tend to have fewer carbs and lower glycemic indexes. Choosing these varieties and pairing pasta with non-starchy vegetables, lean proteins and healthy fats can help control blood sugar spikes.


1. What type of gluten free pasta has the least carbs?

Lentil and corn gluten-free pastas typically contain the lowest amount of carbs.

2. Do corn based pasta have fewer carbs?

Yes, corn gluten-free pastas tend to be lower in carbs due to their higher fiber and protein content.

3. Are rice pasta lower in carbs?

No, rice gluten-free pastas generally contain more carbs than alternatives like corn and lentil pasta.

4. Does cooking time affect pasta’s carb content?

Yes, overcooking can cause gluten-free pasta to absorb extra starch and increase its carb content.

5. How do I control blood sugar spikes from gluten free pasta?

Pair gluten-free pasta with non-starchy vegetables, legumes and lean protein as well as healthy fats.

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