Why You Should Be Careful About Quinoa If You're Eating Low-Carb

Many people looking to shed a few pounds will take up a low-carbohydrate diet. This means the search for low-carb, grain alternatives is on. Quinoa is a popular choice for many trying to substitute carb-loaded foods like white bread or pastas with healthy grain options, but you may be surprised at how many carbs are hidden in this little seed.

Quinoa is a pseudocereal that's considered a whole grain, is naturally gluten-free, and is high in fiber and plant-based protein (via Healthline). Quinoa also contains more nutrients than the majority of other grains, including vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

However, with all of its health benefits, quinoa does pack some carbs. One cup of cooked quinoa contains more than 39 grams of carbohydrates, which is 50 percent more than the same amount of brown rice and almost as many as white rice (via WebMD)

How to keep quinoa low-carb

It is also important to note that as a whole grain, quinoa is a healthier option than refined grains like white flour. The carbs in quinoa also come with positive nutritional benefits as opposed to other refined grain options.

So should you eat quinoa if you're trying to stick to a low-carb diet? Depending on your specific dietary needs, you most likely can. But be sure to watch your quinoa serving size, as this will be key to keeping your meal low in carbohydrates. If you are sensitive to gluten or have gastrointestinal issues, quinoa may also help with your gut health and could be worth the high carb content.

Some tips to include quinoa in your low-carb diet is to use it in salads, as a garnish, or in very small portions to keep the carb count low. You should also avoid preparing quinoa with carb-rich dressings and starchy vegetables so your meal stays within your allotted carbohydrate portion.