Quinoa Nutrition

Quinoa Nutrition: So, what do you want to know about the nutritional value of quinoa?

Some people visit a page like this, wanting to know about the health benefits of quinoa. That’s basically what this page is all about.

Others want to answer the burning question... “is quinoa safe for dogs?” The answer is... yes, according to the eminently authoritative DogTime.com. But I’d advise you to ask your dog before trying it, just to be safe...

So before this page goes to the dogs, let’s take a look at these major contributors to quinoa’s nutrition...

Quinoa Nutrition: Calories, Fat, & Cholesterol


There are 111 calories in a half-cup of cooked quinoa. Thus, you may eat enough quinoa to satisfy your hunger while still keeping trim.

Read our “calories in quinoa” page for more low-calorie details.


A half-cup of cooked quinoa contains 2 grams of fat.

Only 13% (0.214 g) of that is saturated fat. The rest is either poly- (0.488 g) or monounsaturated (0.997 g) fat. And I’m quite sure that even the saturated kind of fat in quinoa is healthier than the same kind of fat in a greasy burger.

And of course quinoa has no trans fat.

Want to learn more? Then run -- don’t walk -- over to our “calories in quinoa from fat” page! And then jog back here for a cool-down and keep reading... 

OK, welcome back. Let’s continue...


Some people wonder if there’s a correlation between quinoa and high cholesterol... 

Well the truth is that there is no cholesterol in quinoa. None! We point this out on our “quinoa nutrients: lipids” page.

If you have high cholesterol you may feast upon this delicacy knowing that it won’t contribute a wink to your cholesterol level.

Quinoa Nutrition: Carbohydrates, Glycemic Index, & Gluten


Quinoa is completely gluten-free -- unlike wheat or oats.

It’s therefore a healthful wheat substitute for those suffering with Crohn’s or Celiac Disease.

And if you're like me you might find that if you start avoiding wheat and oats and instead substitute quinoa weight loss may be the happy result!

Total Carbohydrates

And a half-cup of it gives you only 20 grams of carbohydrates. That’s less than cooked spaghetti or white rice, which both contain 22 grams of carbohydrates.

But that’s not the whole story...

Net Carbs

If you subtract fiber from total carbohydrates you get a measurement called “net carbs.” So a half-cup of quinoa has 20 g of total carbs and 3 g of fiber. Therefore, it has only 17 grams of net carbs.

Read our “quinoa carbohydrates” page for more helpful info and details.

Bottom line -- if you’re on a low-carb diet, quinoa is your go-to “grain.”

But wait! Your body breaks these carbs down into glucose. And this raises your blood sugar. How fast? Let’s find out...

Glycemic Index

We detail quinoa’s glycemic index (GI) and even it’s glycemic load (GL) on our “glycemic index quinoa” page. But here’s a brief summary...

The glycemic index of quinoa is 53. That’s out of a scale based on table sugar, which has a GI of 100.

Just to give you some basis for comparison... Quinoa’s glycemic index is less than half the GI of boiled white rice.

What this means is that quinoa is easy on your blood sugar. It won’t result in sugar spikes or sugar crashes.

So if you’re a diabetic quinoa might be just the thing you’re looking for. Use it to replace other grains that prove problematic for your blood sugar

Quinoa Nutrition: Protein & Amino Acids

Amino Acids

Quinoa is a complete protein. That means it has all nine essential amino acids in the right proportions. This is fairly unusual -- in a good way -- for a plant-based food.

At this point you may be asking, “What are the names of these amino acids?” Perhaps you also want to know how much of each quinoa contains. Well then please read our “quinoa nutrients: amino acids” page for all the juicy details!

And since amino acids are the building blocks of protein, let’s talk about that now...


A half-cup of cooked quinoa gives you 4 grams of protein. That’s more than either cooked white rice or couscous.

And remember that quinoa’s plant-based protein is likely healthier for you than meat and other animal protein.

When you have some time, you’ll want to read our “quinoa protein” page. It’s likely the only page on our site that will ever mention McDonalds’ Big Macs!

Quinoa Nutrition: Other Nutrients

What shall I say? We could wax eloquent about quinoa’s nutrients...

  • We could value all of its vital vitamins.

  • We could mull over its manifold minerals. (I instinctively investigated iron.)

  • We could observe with awe it’s amino acids.

  • Would you like me to let you in on its lipid line-up?

  • Please prevent me from pouring over its pervasive proximates!

But in all seriousness, we’ve already covered all these topics in great detail on our “quinoa nutrients” page. From Vitamin-A to Zinc if it’s a nutrient and it’s in quinoa we’ve covered it there.

OK, almost done...

Red Quinoa Nutrition

Do you want to know the nutritional facts on red quinoa? Check them out here.

What's Next?

Now that you’re fully informed about quinoa nutrition, go ahead and check out our nutritious -- and delicious! -- quinoa recipes.

Recommended Pages...

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