Is Quinoa Keto And Low Carb? RDs Explain

If you are on the keto diet, you know how important it is to know the macronutrient breakdown of each and every food you put into your body, particularly carbs. Naturally, you start to take a closer look at the grains you eat and rethink even the super healthy varieties. One question you may have is Is quinoa keto?

First of all, you should know that quinoa may be classified as a whole grain, it’s technically a seed. “Quinoa is considered a ‘pseudo grain,’ meaning it’s consumed much like a grain and has nutritional properties similar to a grain yet isn’t a true grain–it’s actually a seed from the Chenopodium quinoa plant, making it a popular gluten-free carbohydrate option,” explains Brittany Michels, RDN, LDN, CPT, of The Vitamin Shoppe.

While many people do use quinoa as a healthier replacement for refined grains, it’s normal to wonder whether it fits into the keto lifestyle, given how restrictive it is. ICYMI, the keto diet is a high-fat, low-carb diet that drives the body to use fats as fuel rather than carbohydrates, a state known as ketosis.

“Since the diet restricts the total number of carbs individuals can eat in a day, and grains are primarily a carbohydrate-rich food, it can be difficult to fit them into this way of eating,” adds Amy Davis, RD, LDN, a New Orleans-based nutritionist and the founder of The Balanced Dietitian.

So does quinoa make the cut when it comes to the keto diet? Here’s what dietitians think.

Meet the experts: Brittany Michels, RDN, LDN, CPT, is an integrative and functional dietitian and an NASM-certified trainer. Amy Davis, RD, LDN, is a nutritionist and the founder of The Balanced Dietitian. Lauren Manaker, RDN, is a nutritionist based in Charleston, South Carolina.

What are the health benefits of quinoa?

One fact that sets quinoa apart from other grains is that it’s a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine of the essential amino acids, says Michels. “Most whole grains are missing or contain very low levels of the amino acid lysine. Compared to most other grains, quinoa contains more protein, fiber, and healthy fats per serving,” she adds. They give quinoa great satiating power, making it great…

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