Does quinoa make you gain weight?

[Article updated on 19/09/2023]

Quinoa can be considered the perfect food for any nutritionist. In addition to containing the ten essential amino acids, it is rich in mineral salts. It contains more iron than spinach and it has more protein than soy. Quinoa is rich in magnesium, potassium and phosphorus. It also contains carbohydrates, making it a very filling food. At the same time, it is very light and very digestible because it is low in fat and absolutely free of gluten. Additionally, quinoa is rich in antioxidants and its consumption helps fight diabetes and improve metabolism. Faced with these multiple advantages, many people want to include it in their diet. However, the question they ask is: does quinoa make you gain weight?

Before reading on

I’m not an expert in this field, but I am passionate about nutrition and health.

The articles you’ll find on my site are the result of in-depth research that I’d like to share with you. However, I would like to stress that I am not a health professional and that my advice should in no way replace that of a qualified physician. I’m here to guide you, but it’s important that you consult a professional for specific questions or medical concerns. Your well-being is important. So be sure to consult the appropriate experts and take the best possible care of yourself.

What is quinoa?

Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa) is a herbaceous plant belonging to the Chenopodiaceae family, just like spinach and beets. It is native to the Andes and is mainly grown in Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador.

Quinoa grains
There are over 300 varieties of quinoa, but the most commonly used is Real Quinoa. The grains are available in several natural colors.

Quinoa seeds are known for their nutritional properties as they are made for almost 70% carbohydrates and 30% protein. Quinoa is rich in minerals and other trace elements such as iron, phosphorus, manganese, potassium, vitamins A and E and zinc. Likewise, this pseudo-cereal contains little saturated fat. Quinoa is also rich in protein, essential amino acids, antioxidants and soluble fiber, nutrients that can lower blood sugar and lower cholesterol.

Half a cup of cooked quinoa contains 111 calories. For comparison, half a cup of rice brown contains 109 calories and a half cup of cooked brown spaghetti contains 87 calories. 100g of cooked quinoa contains:

  • Carbohydrates: 26.3 g
  • Sugar: 0g
  • Protein: 5g
  • Total fat: 2.2 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Fiber 2.3g
  • Sodium: 196 mg
  • Potassium: 283 mg

This food is also a valuable help for diets because it increases the feeling of satiety, thus promoting weight loss. Absolutely gluten-free, it is an essential element for coeliacs. It can be used to make different types of recipes, ranging from salads to desserts.

Nutritional value and benefits of quinoa

Quinoa grains, due to their high nutrient content, are a product very often recommended by nutritionists. In terms of protein, legumes and grains cannot compete with it. Quinoa protein is one of the few plant proteins, which contain all essential amino acids.

Quinoa is a complete plant-based protein source. Specialists therefore recommend it to people who, for health reasons, limit their meat consumption. For the same reasons, it is an irreplaceable ingredient in the menu of vegetarians and vegans.

Quinoa supports milk production and is therefore recommended for breastfeeding mothers. Due to its easy digestibility, it can be administered to infants and children. Additionally, it stimulates growth hormone through compounds such as arginine and histidine.

It also contains saponins. Thanks to saponins, it can have antiallergic, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antiviral and immunostimulating effects. In addition, quinoa seeds contain an extremely high amount of flavonoids, among which quercetin and campferol predominate. Therefore, quinoa has antioxidant properties. It should be noted that traditional grains do not contain flavonoids, which makes quinoa a “rather special rice.”

Does quinoa make you gain weight?

The answer to the question “does quinoa make you fat?” » is complex. Your potential impact on your weight depends on whether you maintain or exceed your daily goal for calorie consumption. If you’ve already consumed your maximum number of calories for the day but want to eat a bowl of quinoa, you’re over 222 calories. If it is regular, this excess contributes to weight gain.

complete meal
A good way to include quinoa in your diet is to mix it with vegetables and make it into a complete meal.

Quinoa is generally a slimming food. But eating too much of it can prevent weight loss, just like any other food. For example, 4 cups of cooked quinoa provides 888 calories. Which is more than half of your daily calorie needs. Eating foods, even if they are healthy, in moderation is key. This is the key to losing weight effectively and maintaining the weight later for a long time.

Why doesn’t quinoa make you gain weight?

The first reason why quinoa is not fattening is its high protein and mineral content. Quinoa seeds are rich in essential amino acids and minerals such as magnesium, iron and calcium. Quinoa has a high content of vitamin B12 which, along with iron, plays an essential role in boosting metabolism and weight loss.

Quinoa’s high fiber content also plays a role in its ability to help you lose weight. Quinoa is rich in dietary fiber and protein that boost satiety. Quinoa contains about seven grams of protein and six grams of fiber per serving. Which makes it particularly suitable for vegetarians and in general for anyone looking to lose weight.

Another reason is its low glycemic index. Thanks to this property, particularly important for the diet of diabetics, quinoa reduces weight accumulation by promoting physiological fat burning processes. Compared to other foods, quinoa contains very few calories.

Far from making you gain weight, this superfood is a valuable aid for weight loss. However, this is not a magic formula for weight loss. Quinoa will only help you lose weight if you consume it responsibly and exercise.