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Is quinoa low-carb?

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Quinoa is a seed that’s packed with protein, fiber, and nutrients. But it’s not a low-carb food. A cup of cooked quinoa has more than 39 grams of carbohydrates. That’s 50% more than in the same amount of brown rice and almost as many carbs as in white rice.

If you have type 2 diabetes or other conditions, you may be watching how many carbs you eat. But not all carbs are equal. Quinoa is considered a whole grain, which is better for you than refined grains like white flour.

Quinoa has a glycemic index of 53, which is a measure of how quickly it will raise your blood sugar levels. That score puts quinoa in the middle range of “good” vs. “bad” carbs.

Quinoa is relatively high in protein -- much more so than whole-grain peers like barley or buckwheat.

Protein keeps you full for longer, so you eat less. Keeping a healthy weight is a key part of controlling type 2 diabetes.

SOURCES:

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: “Quinoa,” “Dr. David Ludwig clears up carbohydrate confusion.”

Journal of Medicinal Food: “Evaluation of indigenous grains from the Peruvian Andean region for antidiabetes and antihypertension potential using in vitro methods.”

U.S. Department of Agriculture: “Quinoa, uncooked.”

Defeat Diabetes Foundation: “Quinoa.”

Harvard Health Publishing: “Glycemic index for 60+ foods,” “A good guide to good carbs: The glycemic index.”

Celiac Disease Foundation: “Gluten Alternatives: Effects of Eating Quinoa in Celiac Patients.”

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: “Variable activation of immune response by quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) prolamins in celiac disease.”

The American Journal of Gastroenterology: “Gastrointestinal effects of eating quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) in celiac patients.”

Scientific Reports: “Quinoa whole grain diet compromises the changes of gut microbiota and colonic colitis induced by dextran Sulfate sodium in C57BL/6 mice.”

Mayo Clinic: “Inflammatory bowel disease,” “If it’s not celiac disease, what is it?”

Piedmont Healthcare: “What is a complete protein?”

Alternative Field Crops Manual: “Quinoa.”

The University of Sydney: “Glycemic Index.”

Encyclopaedia Britannica: “Quinoa.”

National Institutes of Health: “Celiac disease.”

Reviewed by Michael Dansinger on April 29, 2020

SOURCES:

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: “Quinoa,” “Dr. David Ludwig clears up carbohydrate confusion.”

Journal of Medicinal Food: “Evaluation of indigenous grains from the Peruvian Andean region for antidiabetes and antihypertension potential using in vitro methods.”

U.S. Department of Agriculture: “Quinoa, uncooked.”

Defeat Diabetes Foundation: “Quinoa.”

Harvard Health Publishing: “Glycemic index for 60+ foods,” “A good guide to good carbs: The glycemic index.”

Celiac Disease Foundation: “Gluten Alternatives: Effects of Eating Quinoa in Celiac Patients.”

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: “Variable activation of immune response by quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) prolamins in celiac disease.”

The American Journal of Gastroenterology: “Gastrointestinal effects of eating quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) in celiac patients.”

Scientific Reports: “Quinoa whole grain diet compromises the changes of gut microbiota and colonic colitis induced by dextran Sulfate sodium in C57BL/6 mice.”

Mayo Clinic: “Inflammatory bowel disease,” “If it’s not celiac disease, what is it?”

Piedmont Healthcare: “What is a complete protein?”

Alternative Field Crops Manual: “Quinoa.”

The University of Sydney: “Glycemic Index.”

Encyclopaedia Britannica: “Quinoa.”

National Institutes of Health: “Celiac disease.”

Reviewed by Michael Dansinger on April 29, 2020

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Is quinoa a low-glycemic index food?

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