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Question
Posted by: CP | 2010/03/05

Quinoa - superfood?

Hi Diet Doc
Thank you for a really fantastic forum - I often consult your replies re various issues.
I''d be interested to hear your opinion on quinoa - I know its supposed to be very nutrition rich and is often called a superfood as it has a lot of protein, more than other grains for example. From what I''ve seen on packaging it also has a high fat content per 100g compared to other grains though. Is this true? Can quinoa be had occassionally if ones trying to loose weight? If so, how often and how best to prepare - I''ve mainly had it in soups and salads or cereal? I think it is low GI but I presume its classified as a starchy veg carbohydrate?
Thanks very much for your input.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDietDoc

Dear CP
Thank you for your kind words, they really make my day! Quinoa has become a popular grain because of its relatively high protein content. The basic nutritive content of uncooked quinoa per 100g is: Energy 1571 kJ, total fat 6 g, saturated fat 1g, total carbohydrate 69 g, dietary fibre 6 g, and protein 13 g. It is, however, not very different to other cereals such as uncooked oats per 100g: Energy 1757 kJ, total fat 10.4 g, saturated fat 1.8g, total carbohydrate 61.6 g, dietary fibre 10.2 g, and protein 10.7 g. You can see that oats have an even higher total and saturated fat content that quinoa. When these 2 cereals are cooked and have absorbed very large amounts of water (e.g. the water content of cooked oats is 85.3%), then all the above mentioned values are reduced a great deal (for example the energy content of cooked oats is only 274 kJ per 100g!), so I would presume that quinoa can be eaten in quantities similar to other cereals without causing weight gain provided you use small portions. So you can certainly use quinoa if you are trying to lose weight to replace other cereals at a frequency of say 3 times a week. I would classify quinoa as a cereal and NOT as a vegetable.
Best regards
DietDoc

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Our users say:
Posted by: DietDoc | 2010/03/05

Dear CP
Thank you for your kind words, they really make my day! Quinoa has become a popular grain because of its relatively high protein content. The basic nutritive content of uncooked quinoa per 100g is: Energy 1571 kJ, total fat 6 g, saturated fat 1g, total carbohydrate 69 g, dietary fibre 6 g, and protein 13 g. It is, however, not very different to other cereals such as uncooked oats per 100g: Energy 1757 kJ, total fat 10.4 g, saturated fat 1.8g, total carbohydrate 61.6 g, dietary fibre 10.2 g, and protein 10.7 g. You can see that oats have an even higher total and saturated fat content that quinoa. When these 2 cereals are cooked and have absorbed very large amounts of water (e.g. the water content of cooked oats is 85.3%), then all the above mentioned values are reduced a great deal (for example the energy content of cooked oats is only 274 kJ per 100g!), so I would presume that quinoa can be eaten in quantities similar to other cereals without causing weight gain provided you use small portions. So you can certainly use quinoa if you are trying to lose weight to replace other cereals at a frequency of say 3 times a week. I would classify quinoa as a cereal and NOT as a vegetable.
Best regards
DietDoc

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