Pasta Benefits + Side Effects

By Adriane Marie •  Updated: 08/31/22 •  12 min read

What are pasta benefits and side effects every ethical consumer must know? Here are pasta pros and cons and how buying it will impact your health, the environment, animals and laborers. 

Food is something we consume every day and if you’re like me, you do all the research you can to make sure you don’t hurt yourself, the planet, animals or others when shopping. As an ethical consumer myself, I am giving you all the info I’ve found on pasta benefits and side effects.

You are going to learn all about pasta benefits and side effects. This will include pasta benefits for your health and potential risks, pasta water footprint and pasta carbon footprint, pasta sustainability, if pasta is vegan or impacts animals in other ways, and much more. 

After learning if pasta is good or bad for you, the environment, animals and human rights, you will be prepared to make the best choices you can the next time you buy food.

This post is all about pasta benefits and side effects that every ethical consumer should know.

Must-Know Pasta Benefits And Side Effects

HEALTH

Pasta (whole grian) health benefits may include:

However, pasta side effects may include: 

Additionally pasta is…

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ENVIRONMENT

Water footprint: low, it takes 1,849 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of pasta / 222 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of pasta

Carbon footprint: low, 1.24 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of various pasta, a car driving equivalent of 2.75 miles or 4.5 kilometers

Destruction: moderate-high, wheat production is moderately sustainable to unsustainable, non-organic wheat uses large amounts of fertilizer, fertilizer requires a lot of energy, nitrous oxide gas is released when fertilizer degrades into the soil, organic wheat farms use far more land than conventional farming which could, in theory, be “set aside for wildlife or used for biomass energy”, buy Non-GMO/organic, as toxic, chemical pesticides contaminate air, water, soil, etc.

Pasta is…

ANIMALS

Kills: none, pasta production does not require any animals to die

Harms: none, pasta production does not require any animals

Indirectly kills or harms: none, no animals are indirectly killed or harmed from pasta production as long as toxic chemicals have not been used, be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as pesticides harm and kill wildlife and ecosystems by contaminating soil, water, air and plants that animals eat

Pasta is…

LABORERS

Health and safety: varies, overall, agriculture continues to be one of the most dangerous industries, farmworkers may be subject to dehydration, heat stroke, unprotected exposure to harmful, toxic chemicals and pesticides, unsafe machinery and clean drinking water may not always accessible

Living conditions: varies, laborers often experience exploitation, they may face tough working conditions including long hours in the sun and heat performing physically exhausting tasks, labor laws and rights may or may not be in place, even if worker protection exists, employer violations may go unreported, refugees and migrant workers are especially vulnerable to abuse and mistreatment, fearing consequences of job loss or deportation

Wages: varies, generally farmworkers earn meager wages, there are many cases of underpaid agricultural workers, wage theft and no overtime payment or benefits

Pasta…

The world’s top pasta exporting country is Italy, followed by China, USA, Spain, Turkey, Canada, Thailand, Japan, Greece and Germany.

The largest production of dried pasta is in Italy followed by the United States, Turkey, Brazil and Russia.

Whole-grain pasta is typically high in fiber, manganese, selenium, copper and phosphorus. While refined, enriched pasta tends to be higher in iron and B vitamins.

pasta (wheat pasta or white pasta) is acidic. pasta side effects include not fitting into an alkaline diet.

pasta side effects include not fitting into an alkaline diet.

Is pasta alkaline or acidic?

Pasta (wheat pasta or white pasta) is acidic.

What is the pH level of pasta?

Pasta has a 4.5 pH level once digested. Wheat, flour and processed foods are acidic.

When you eat food, it breaks down to an ash residue that can be neutral, acidic or alkaline. Minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, silver, copper and iron produce an alkaline ash; whereas sulfur, phosphorus, chlorine and iodine, which are in meat, coffee, dairy and alcohol, leave an acid ash.

Going alkaline easier than ever with this: Acidic and Alkaline Foods List

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pasta is not gluten free. pasta side effects include not fitting into a gluten free diet.

pasta side effects include not fitting into a gluten free diet.

Is pasta gluten free?

No, pasta is not gluten free. Pasta contains gluten. Pasta comes from wheat, therefore making it a naturally glutinous food. However, there are many gluten free pastas now available on the market. Be sure to check specific brand labeling to determine whether a product is a specialty gluten free pasta.

While celiac disease may not be as rampant as many marketing trends lead us to believe, you may have a gluten sensitivity…

Celiac and gluten sensitivity symptoms are similar and may include:

There are hundreds of potential symptoms, many of which are also symptoms of other conditions.

Going gluten-free easier than ever with this: Gluten and Gluten Free Foods List

pasta contains a common food allergen: wheat and possibly egg. pasta side effects include being dangerous for some.

pasta side effects include being dangerous for some.

Is pasta a common food allergen?

Yes, pasta contains common food allergens: wheat and possibly egg. Many people experience allergic reactions to pasta.

A group of the eight major allergenic foods, AKA the Big-8, include:

Severe food allergies can be life threatening. Following ingestion of a food allergen, a person with food allergies can experience a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. 

Persons may still be allergic to and have serious reactions to foods other than the eight foods identified by the law.

Be aware of common dietary restrictions and food allergens with this: The Big 8 Most Common Food Allergens List

pasta is a high-fodmap food.

fodmap friendly food

Is pasta FODMAP friendly?

No. Pasta is a high-FODMAP food so you should limit or eliminate it while on a low-FODMAP diet. 

A low FODMAP diet may help those with bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, stomach pain, and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).

It’s all about knowing your body. Observe what works and what doesn’t. You body might even react negatively to a low-FODMAP food simply due to intolerance. Everyone is different! Be mindful and patient. Take time to get to know what’s best for your physical health and overall wellbeing.

See this High-FODMAP and Low-FODMAP List of Food

pasta has a low water footprint. pasta benefits include not requiring much water for production.

water footprints of food and products

Does pasta have a high or low water footprint?

Pasta has a relatively low water footprint compared to other foods.

What is the water footprint of pasta?

It takes 1,849 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of pasta / 222 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of pasta.

Did you know that water is a finite, non-renewable resource?

How much water does it take to produce an apple? A serving of rice? A steak dinner?

We need to be aware of “water footprints”. That is, the amount of fresh water utilized in the production or supply of goods we consume. As it turns out it takes significantly more water to yield foods that come from animals than foods that come from plants. Imagine how much water a cow needs to consume to generate a piece of beef. Not only how much water a single cow drinks, rather all the water that went into producing the crops that the cow ate.

Find out how much water your food consumes with this: Water Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

pasta has a low carbon footprint. pasta benefits include not emitting too much pollution or requiring much energy for production.

carbon footprints of food and food emissions

Does pasta have a high or low carbon footprint?

Pasta has a relatively low carbon footprint compared to other foods.

What is the carbon footprint of pasta?

It takes around 1.24 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of various pasta, a car driving equivalent of 2.75 miles or 4.5 kilometers.

Food not only has a water footprint but also a carbon footprint, known as CO2e, which stands for carbon dioxide equivalent. Since carbon measurements are a bit more difficult to comprehend, it is common to equate CO2e to the distance which a car drives in miles or kilometers.

When calculating carbon emissions, some factors may include…

But that’s not all!

It’s best to keep the following in mind when grocery shopping:

Find out how much carbon your food emits with this: Carbon Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

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pasta is unsustainable when non organic, moderately sustainable when organic.

sustainable shopping, for eco friendly brands and products good for the environment

Overall, is pasta eco friendly? Is pasta sustainable?

Pasta is unsustainable when non organic, moderately sustainable when organic.

A 2018 Oxford University study – which is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet – found that ‘avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on Earth’ as animal farming provides just 18% of calories but takes up 83% of our farmland.

Consuming animal products and byproducts is not environmentally friendly and is one of the worst things for the Earth. Not only is meat production wasteful, it causes enormous amounts of pollution. The industry is one of the biggest causes of climate change.

pasta is vegan unless it contains eggs.

vegan and non vegan foods and their impact on animals like chicken and chicks

Is pasta vegan?

Pasta may or may not be vegan. Pasta comes from water, flour, and often eggs, the byproduct of a chicken, therefore making it an animal-derived food. Be sure to check product packaging for specification.  

Animals of factory farming are suffering. They live in horrific conditions that often include confinement, physical abuse and unnatural environments…so much so that they need to receive antibiotics to keep from getting ill or spreading disease. Growth hormones allow all kinds of animals to become fatter faster and live short lives.

Because we cannot see for ourselves how these animals live and what they endure does not mean it isn’t happening. The meat, poultry and dairy industries do everything they can to distance us from knowing how our food comes to be in order to keep us in the dark about what we support each time we buy animal derived products and byproducts.

Go vegan for animals!

It’s the best way to help animals and it’s not as difficult as you may think. Speak for animals with your actions, for they cannot speak at all.

Going vegan is easier than ever, at a glance with this: Vegan and Non-Vegan Foods List

pasta may or may not have laborer issues.

benefits of buying fair trade, labor rights, human rights and workers rights issues

Is pasta a product with labor concerns?

At this time there have been no major concerns with pasta production but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening!

It’s important to stay aware of human rights concerns and worker exploitation that may come with specific brands.

Did you know the single largest employer in the world is agriculture? The labor involved behind each and every product cannot go unrecognized. 

Sadly, many labor concerns exist around the world in both developed and developing countries. We must be vigilant to ensure what we buy is not contributing to industries that are unfair to their valuable workers. Some known problems include workplace health and safety, child labor, gender inequality, inadequate pay, wage theft and exploitation. Workers can even experience harassment, humiliation and violence and unfair employers often fail to provide laborers with access to shade, drinking water, restrooms and breaks. Consequently, laborers can face nausea, dizziness, heat exhaustion, dehydration and heat stroke -the leading cause of farmworker death! 

Such mistreatment is like modern day slavery. Workers are often afraid to report issues because they fear it will result in losing their jobs or deportation. 

Fair trade organizations fight to ensure better social, environmental and economic standards. 

We can improve people’s lives with foods we eat every day simply by buying products that are certified fair trade. 

This post was all about pasta benefits and side effects.

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08/15/2022 06:40 pm GMT

Sources:

Pasta, cooked, unenriched, without added salt – FoodData

Pasta, Potatoes, and Grains – National Agricultural Library

Adriane Marie

Grocery Guru, Material Maven, Conscious Consumer Connoisseur. I organize ethical info for us to comprehensively see how purchases impact people, animals and the planet. I hope you find HEALabel helpful! Use it for personal and global improvement and empowerment.

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