Quinoa Carbohydrates

Quinoa Carbohydrates...

If you're like me and my family you can't get enough of quinoa! Carbohydrates -- on the other hand -- are a different story.

In ½ cup of cooked quinoa there are 20 total grams of carbohydrates. And only 17 grams of that are considered “net carbs.”

If you’re trying to limit your carb intake for any reason keep reading for more information about quinoa carbohydrates...

Quinoa Carbohydrates "By Difference"...

½ cup (93g) of cooked quinoa contains 20g of carbohydrates "by difference." What does that mean?

Well, we can measure some of the nutrients in our food. For example, we can directly measure...

  • Water

  • Protein

  • Fat

  • Ash

  • Alcohol

But we don't measure carbohydrates directly. We measure the five nutrients listed above and then subtract that number from the total weight of the food. So...

Carbohydrate, by difference = The number of grams of food - (The number of grams of water, protein, fat, ash, and alcohol in that food)

To give you a comparison...

  • The same amount (½ cup) of cooked spaghetti contains 22g of carbohydrates

  • Same with white rice -- 22g of carbs

So... ½ cup of quinoa provides...

  • More food -- 93g (compared to 79g of rice or 70g of spaghetti)

  • Fewer carbohydrates -- 20g (compared to 22g of rice and spaghetti)

So far we’ve talked about total carbs. But sometimes that number doesn’t tell the whole story...

Quinoa Carbohydrates: Net Carbs

Have you ever seen packages of food with a label advertising a number they call "Net Carbs"? Have you wondered what that was?

"Net (or 'effective') carbs" is simply the measure of the carbohydrates in a food minus any dietary fiber. So...

Net carbs = Carbohydrates by difference - Dietary fiber

½ cup (93g) of cooked quinoa has 17g of net carbs -- 20g of carbohydrate minus 3g of fiber.

How do other foods measure up?

½ cup of cooked spaghetti has 20g of effective or net carbohydrates

The same amount of white rice weighs-in at 22g of net carbs!

So you can eat quinoa, satisfy your hunger, and have carbs to spare.

Now, we’ve been giving the ½ cup measure throughout this page. But what if you want to eat...

Only ¼ cup of quinoa?

Or a whole cup of it?

How many carbs are we talking about in this much quinoa?

To know this, we need to learn about the Carbohydrate Factor...

Quinoa Carbohydrates: Carbohydrate Factor

The carbohydrate factor helps you measure the number of carbs in any amount of a certain food.

It remains constant for each food no matter how much of it you eat.

Here's how you calculate it...

Carbohydrate factor = (The number of grams of carbohydrates - The number of grams of fiber) / The number of grams of food

Quinoa has a carbohydrate factor of 0.185 -- that's 20g of carbohydrate minus 3g of fiber all divided by 93g of food.

Now here's the beauty of discovering this number...

  • If you eat 2g of cooked quinoa -- you might need to get out your microscope! -- multiply that number by 0.185 to get the number of carbs. In this case, it’s less than 1g.

  • If you want to eat 1kg -- over 6 cups! -- of cooked quinoa you would do so with the full knowledge that you’re about to consume 185g of carbohydrates!

This is very helpful for those of us who need to watch our carbohydrate intake. Just remember the carbohydrate factor for each food you commonly eat. Then multiply that number by your portion size.

How do the carbohydrate factors of spaghetti and white rice compare?

  • Spaghetti = 0.291

  • White rice = 0.277

Quinoa has the lowest carbohydrate factor among these three foods.

What's Next?

Now that you know the basics about quinoa carbohydrates, you'll want to discover the glycemic index of quinoa.

You may also want to broaden your horizons and read our quinoa nutrition page.

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