Rice Noodles vs. Egg Noodles: A Nutritional Face-Off 

Check out this Southeast Asian Nutrition article!

Noodles are a beloved staple in many kitchens worldwide and it’s not hard to argue which noodles fit best for which dish. Most would say rice noodles are the best noodles for a hot bowl of Pho and a bowl of Khao Soy pairs best with egg noodles. But when it comes to the nutritional value, not all noodles are created equal. Let’s roll up our sleeves and compare – rice noodles vs. egg noodles – to help you make the best health choice for your loved one or yourself.

The Facts on Rice Noodles

Rice noodles, often found in delightful dishes like Pad Thai, Pho, and Laksa boast their star ingredient: rice flour. Rice noodles are just that, rice flour and water. Essentially a versatile and blank canvas ingredient that can highlight any dish, thanks to their ability to absorb flavors and their soft and smooth texture. They are gluten-free and safe for those with Celiac Disease or those who are gluten-sensitive. Here is the nutritional breakdown of 1 cup (192 grams) of cooked rice noodles (2):

  • Calories: 190
  • Fat: 0.4 grams
  • Sodium: 33 milligrams
  • Carbohydrates: 42 grams
  • Fiber: 1.8 grams
  • Protein: 3.2 grams

The Details on Egg Noodles

Now let’s compare it to egg noodles. Ah, the comfort of egg noodles – think bouncy noodles and a chewy texture. Essentially crafted from wheat flour and eggs. There is slightly more protein giving egg noodles an edge over rice noodles. Plus, the richness of eggs grants them a slightly higher fat content. Unfortunately, Egg noodles are not gluten-free, gluten comes from wheat flour. The nutritional breakdown for 1 cup (192 grams) of un-enriched, unsalted egg noodles (2):

  • Calories: 221 
  • Fat: 3.3 grams
  • Sodium: 8 milligrams
  • Carbohydrates: 40 grams
  • Fiber: 1.9 grams
  • Protein: 7.5 grams

The Comparison of Rice Noodles Vs. Egg Noodles

Comparing Calories and Carbohydrates

When it comes to calories and carbs, rice noodles have a bit less calories but a bit more carbs, while egg noodles offer a bit more calories, protein, and fiber but a bit less carbs.  

Think of it as a seesaw: rice noodles are gluten-free and tip toward fewer calories, whereas egg noodles are not gluten-free and give a bit more protein and fiber. But if you count carbs for carbs they are very similar, 42 grams to 40 grams. Not all carbs are created equal but knowing how to pair carbs with other foods and their nutritional facts can help you make choices that fit your needs.  

The Glycemic Index (GI) and Glycemic Load (GL) for Carbs Impact on Blood Sugar

Glycemic Index (GI) 

For example, the use of the glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL) measure carbs’ impact on blood sugar. The GI ranks foods on a scale of 0 to 100, with pure glucose having a GI of 100. Foods with a high GI are digested and absorbed quickly, causing a rapid rise in blood sugar levels. Foods with a low GI are digested and absorbed more slowly, causing a gradual rise in blood sugar levels.  

The GI measures food in 3 categories: Low, Moderate, and High. According to the International Tables of Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load Values

  • Low GI foods: 55 or less 
  • Moderate GI Foods: Between 56-69 
  • High GI Food: 70 or higher

Glycemic Load (GL)

However, the glycemic index (GI) is not perfect, it only considers how many total carbs impact blood sugar and doesn’t take into consideration the serving size. The glycemic load (GL) is a measure of how much a food raises blood sugar levels, taking into consideration both the glycemic index (GI) of the food and the serving size. Foods with a high GL have a greater impact on blood sugar levels than foods with a low GL (1).  

  • Low GL: 10 or less 
  • Medium GL: 11-19 
  • High GL: 20 or higher

Rice Noodle GI and GL

According to the International Tables of Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load, rice noodles have an average GI of 57 taking into consideration the different types of rice noodles. Surprisingly among the rice noodle family, freshly made and boiled rice noodles ranked as the lowest GI of only 40. The average GL of rice noodles is 22, with freshly made boiled noodles having the lowest GL of 16. Rice noodles would be considered a moderate GI carb and a high GL (1).  

Egg Noodle GI and GL

In comparison to egg noodles, the Glycemic Index tool shows that egg noodles have a GI of 57 and GL of 23. As for comparison to rice noodles, there is not much of a difference, carb for carb, GI for GI, and GL for GL (1). However, the minor differences will probably lie with the protein and the fat. 

The Pairing Method or Testing in Pairs

Also if you or your loved ones are concerned about blood sugars you can try the pairing method also known as testing in pairs. Since our bodies respond differently to foods and drinks, the pairing method can help you determine how things affect your blood sugars more accurately. You can check the blood sugar before the consumption of the food or drink and check 1-2 hours afterward to see how your body responds to it.  

Your individual blood sugars goals may vary based on your provider goals for your health. According to the CDC guidelines:

  • Before a meal: 80 to 130 mg/dL.
  • Two hours after the start of a meal: Less than 180 mg/dL.

According to the AACE guidelines blood sugar goals:

  • Fasting/Pre-prandial Blood Sugar: Less than 110 mg/dl
  • 2 hours after start of a meal: <140 mg/dl

Protein Winner

As for protein, meet the protein pro– egg noodles. Thanks to the egg and wheat combo, they take the lead in the protein department. Protein aids in tissue repair and growth, supports the immune system, and much more. For a cup of cooked, un-enriched, unsalted egg noodles there are 7.3 grams of protein which is equal to 1 serving of protein. So, if you’re looking for an option with more protein, egg noodle is the protein winner.  

Fat Facts

In addition, let’s talk fat – both noodles are relatively low, but egg noodles do have a bit more fat due to the eggs. Fear not, it’s not the highly saturated kind. Keep in mind, fat adds to the satiety factor, keeping you satisfied can also mean less likely to rummage for snacks. Fat also slows down the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates in the digestive system. When you consume carbohydrates with fat and protein, they are broken down and released into the bloodstream more gradually. This slow release can help prevent rapid spikes in blood sugar levels after a meal. But rice noodles win in the lower fat department.

Tailoring to Dietary Needs

Furthermore, for those with dietary restrictions, fear not! Rice noodles, with their gluten-free nature, embrace those with gluten sensitivities, while egg noodles cater to the protein-seekers. Remember, moderation and variety are key, so you can savor both types and meet everyone’s diet considerations and restrictions. The beauty lies in the choice.

Wrapping Up the Noodle Saga

There you have it, dear caregivers and health-conscious friends as you choose between rice and egg noodles, consider the choice that aligns with your nutritional goals. You are now armed with the knowledge of comparing rice noodles and egg noodles.

Now you know rice noodles are gluten and vegan-friendly, lower in calories and fat with freshly made and boiled rice noodles as the lowest glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL) choice. As for egg noodles, they have a bit less carbs but also a bit more calories, with more protein and fat which can aid in the slower absorption of carbs.

Additionally, if you are concerned about blood sugar, using the pairing method can be helpful to better understand how noodles affect your blood sugar. Remember, it’s not a battle of good vs. bad – it’s about embracing variety and balance on your plate. Until next time, enjoy that bowl of Pho with your choice of noodles that work for you health needs.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top