Quinoa is often touted as being high in protein, although this is not true in the way most people think of a high-protein food. The amount of protein in quinoa is similar to other grains (that is, not a whole lot compared to the amount of starch and calories they contain). The difference is that quinoa contains more of the amino acid lysine than other grains. This makes them more "complete" -- that is, the body can get all of the essential amino acids it needs from quinoa in similar proportions to what is required.
When quinoa is first harvested, it has a soaplike coating which is bitter and mildly toxic. Quinoa sold in North America almost always has been soaked and rinsed to remove this coating.
Carbohydrate and Fiber Counts for Quinoa
- ½ cup cooked quinoa: 17 grams effective (net) carbohydrate plus 2.5 grams fiber, 4 grams protein, and 111 calories
- 4 oz. uncooked quinoa (¼ lb): 64 grams effective (net) carbohydrate plus 10 grams fiber, 18 grams protein, and 412 calories
Glycemic Index for QuinoaOne set of studies reported an average glycemic index of 53 for quinoa.
Glycemic Load of Quinoa
- ½ cup cooked quinoa: 9
- 4 oz. uncooked quinoa (¼ lb), which is then cooked: 40
Health Benefits of QuinoaQuinoa is an excellent source of manganese, a very good source of magnesium, and a good source of folate.
More Information About Quinoa at Calorie Count.More Carb Profiles:
Sydney University’s Glycemic Index Research Service (Human Nutrition Unit, University of Sydney, Australia), unpublished observations, 1995-2007. Obtained from http://www.glycemicindex.com on 12/31/11.
USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 21.