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Its unique taste and texture make pasta hard to resist, but regular high-carb pasta has the potential of making blood sugar management very complicated when you live with diabetes.
That’s why I am happy that low-carb pasta options are now widely available.
As more and more people start to focus on their carb intake, new low-carb products have come to market and it was surprisingly easy for me to find 9 brands of low-carb pasta.
And even more surprisingly, many of the products I tried were, in my opinion, just as good as the high-carb pasta brands I grew up with.
In this article, I’ll review 9 of the most popular and widely available low-carb pasta brands.
How low-carb pasta is made
Low-carb pasta is typically made of alternative flour sources such as beans or chickpeas, yam (Shirataki), or vegetables that are very high in dietary fibers (which are indigestible and don’t affect blood sugars).
This means that some types of low-carb pasta are high in protein instead of high in carbs. Because protein and carbs have the same amount of calories per gram (4 calories per gram), most low-carb pasta has similar or only slightly fewer calories than regular pasta.
Because of the high fiber content and alternative flours (such as beans) used in many low-carb pasta brands, consuming large amounts can lead to gastric discomfort. Start with a small serving and see how your body reacts.
I usually only eat half a serving (1 oz. dry low-carb pasta) since I find this to be an appropriate amount for main meals, and I have no gastric issues when eating low-carb pasta.
How I ranked the different brands
Regular full-carb pasta generally has 43 grams of carbs per serving (with a serving being 2 oz.), and rarely any fiber of significance unless you choose a high-fiber brand.
The low-carb brands included in this review all have less than 25 grams of net carbs per serving.
Net carbs are calculated as the total carb amount minus the total fiber content. We look at net carbs and not total carbs since fibers won’t get converted into glucose and therefore don’t impact blood sugars.
I have given each brand a score from 1-5 based on:
- Does it feel and look like pasta?
- Does it taste like pasta?
- Is the serving size reasonable?
- How does it impact my blood sugar? (this can differ from person to person)
These are of course subjective measures, but I hope this review will still give you get a good idea of which brands are good and which have room for improvement.
I have listed the brands based on the net carbs per serving, from lowest to highest.
Net carbs: 0 g
Review score: 3.5 stars
This zero-carb product looks like noodles rather than pasta, but if you’re hardcore about cutting all the carbs out of your diet, they may be the best option for you.
Don’t let the smell when you open the package scare you, after they are rinsed the odor disappears, and they don’t taste bad. In fact, they barely have any taste at all.
The reason why Miracle Noodles, a brand of Shirataki noodles, have no carbs and hardly any calories is that they are made of konjac yam. They are 97% water, 3% fiber, and have traces of protein, fat, and calcium, so the nutrition value is low but not completely insignificant.
As the noodles are primarily water, they won’t impact blood sugars and will work in most diets trying to eliminate gluten, dairy, and eggs.
Palmini Low Carb Linguine
Net carbs: 2 g
Review score: 3 stars
This was not a bad product, but it’s not really pasta, it’s spiraled vegetables.
You technically don’t even have to cook this as it’s pre-cooked, but I opted to cook the Palmini for 5 minutes since it seemed very salty to me right out of the bag. Once cooked, it had a pleasant texture and no impact on my blood sugar. It doesn’t taste like pasta though, it tastes like hearts of palm, which is what it is.
Since this product is 100% vegetables it’s suitable for all diets, even low-sodium diets as long as the linguine is rinsed well.
Explore Edamame Spaghetti
Net carbs: 6 g
Review score: 5 stars
This has been my go-to low-carb pasta for quite a while now. It tastes great and has the look and feel of pasta. The only real giveaway that it’s not a flour-based pasta is the green color from the edamame.
The spaghetti cooks in 3-5 minutes and the finished product are long soft spaghetti noodles. They don’t have much of a bite so if you prefer your pasta very al dente, this might not be the right product for you.
The pasta is made of edamame beans but I don’t think they taste anything like edamame.
Since the pasta is made of edamame bean flour, which is soybeans, the pasta is high in protein (24 grams per serving) and very mild on blood sugars. I never see a blood sugar spike after eating this pasta and have to dose insulin very carefully or I’ll end up with low blood sugar.
The only ingredient in this pasta is edamame bean flour so it’s suitable for people wanting to eat a plant-based diet. It’s also suitable for people wanting to avoid or reduce gluten, grains, dairy, and eggs.
Great Low Carb Bread Company – Fettuccine Pasta
Net carbs: 7 g
Review score: 3 stars
This pasta looks good and came out al dente after being cooked for 10 minutes, but it’s quite dry. You need an abundance of sauce to make this pasta part of an enjoyable meal.
The reason the net carbs are so low is that the main ingredients in this product are fibers and protein. This also means that it has very little blood sugar impact.
The ingredients in this pasta are pea protein, oat fibers, wheat fibers, and egg whites which is why it’s a high-fiber, high-protein, and low-carb food.
Given the ingredients, it’s not a good option for those trying to reduce or eliminate gluten or eggs.
ThinSlim Foods Impastable Low Carb Pasta Fettuccine
Net carbs: 8 g
Review score: 4.5 stars
This pasta was a pleasant surprise. It’s both low-carb and low-calorie (55 calories per serving) because it’s almost pure fiber (36 g per serving). This means that it’s very mild on blood sugars but could, for some people, lead to some gastric distress.
The only real hurdle with this pasta is figuring out how long to cook it as there are no cooking instructions on the package. I ended up cooking it for 20 minutes to get it to a consistency that I enjoy (I don’t like it too al dente).
Once cooked, the pasta has the look, feel, and taste of traditional flour pasta. It did fall apart a little after cooking but that could be due to the 20-minute cook time.
The main ingredients are oat fiber, wheat fiber, and eggs so it’s not appropriate for anyone who wants to eliminate gluten or eggs from their diet.
Explore Black Bean Spaghetti
Net carbs: 8 g
Review score: 5 stars
This is a great product that both looks, smells, and tastes like pasta. The spaghetti cooks in only 4-6 minutes and the finished product are long soft spaghetti noodles. They don’t have much of a bite so if you prefer your pasta very al dente, this might not be the right product for you.
The pasta is made of black beans and has a dark grey almost purple hue when cooked, but the pasta doesn’t taste like beans. I would say that in direct comparison to the other “Explore” brand, the edamame pasta, this brand has slightly more of an earthy taste, which I don’t mind.
The pasta is high in protein (25 grams per serving) and very mild on your blood sugars.
This is a great product if you’re eating a plant-based diet or trying to reduce gluten or grain intake. It’s also suitable for people trying to eliminate dairy and eggs.
Fiber Gourmet Healthy Pasta
Net carbs: 17 g
Review score: 4 stars
This pasta tastes great! It completely resembles full-carb pasta and the only downside to this product was that the portion visually looked a little smaller than the other low-carb pasta I tried.
It’s a lower-carb option but with 17 grams of net carbs, it will have a moderate blood sugar impact. I found that it was fairly easy to dose my insulin for this pasta and only saw a small increase in blood sugars after I had eaten it.
The pasta is made of durum semolina, wheat starch, and wheat gluten. The ingredients mean that it’s not appropriate for anyone trying to reduce or eliminate gluten from their diet.
Although the product is made without eggs or dairy, the facility it’s made in processes egg products.
Al Dente Carba-Nada Basil Fettuccine
Net carbs: 17 g
Review score: 2.5 stars
This tastes great and has the look and feel of regular pasta. Unfortunately, it also had the blood sugar impact of regular pasta.
Just based on the fact that it had such an aggressive impact on my blood sugar, I wouldn’t buy this product again.
Aside from the blood sugar impact, another weird thing was that when it was delivered, it looked like the bag had taken a beating as all of the fettuccine was broken into smaller pieces. After reading other reviews on Amazon, I’ve realized that this is a common issue.
The pasta is made with semolina flour which is a high-gluten flour often used in bread and baked goods as well as couscous. Other ingredients are soy, wheat, and eggs.
The ingredients list means that this pasta isn’t appropriate for anyone trying to reduce or avoid carbs, gluten, eggs, or soy but could be appropriate if you’re avoiding dairy.
Net carbs: 24 g
Review score: 3 stars
Banza pasta products are widely available in most major grocery stores as well as online. It also has significantly more net carbs than most of the other low-carb pasta I have included in this review.
Once cooked, the pasta comes out somewhat more al dente than I prefer. I tried to cook them longer than the package recommends but that doesn’t seem to help with this pasta. Overall, they taste like healthy whole-grain pasta.
Given the carb amount, this product will most likely have some impact on blood sugars for most people. However, I didn’t experience a spike, just a slow rise. It’s not a bad product, it just isn’t my favorite.
The main ingredients in Banza are chickpeas, tapioca, and pea protein, making it a great product for people wanting to avoid or reduce their intake of gluten, dairy, or eggs.
Let me know if you don’t see your favorite low-carb pasta on the list and I’ll add it (after trying it myself). I love pasta and I am always looking for great low-carb and diabetes-friendly products.