Benefits Of Quinoa For Weight Loss

What is quinoa?

Quinoa (pronounced “keen-waa”) is a grain crop cultivated for its edible seeds. These seeds are what we call quinoa. Although technically a seed, quinoa is classified as a whole grain and is rich in fibre and protein.

As opposed to some plant proteins, quinoa is a complete protein. This means that it contains all nine essential amino acids that our bodies need but cannot make on its own.  

In a nutshell, quinoa is a seed that is prepared and eaten similarly to grains like rice, maize and others. It also contains more nutrients than most grains. 

Quinoa comes in many different colours: white, black or red, or all together, tri-colour. 

In recent years, quinoa has become increasingly popular as an easy-to-grow, nutritious, gluten-free grain option. It is especially becoming popular among vegans, athletes and people looking to shed some weight.

Benefits of quinoa for weight loss

It is rich in fibre

When a person is trying to lose weight, they will usually skip out on high fibres. One cup of cooked quinoa contains five grams of dietary fibre, which is more than the fibre in other popular grains like brown rice. Consuming enough fibre will keep a person full for longer, so you are less likely to overeat at meals or snacks between meal times.

Having adequate fibre in your diet will contribute to more regular bowel movements, which can help prevent constipation.

Since fibre is digested at a  slower rate by the body, it provides a slow and steady release of energy over time, so you will not experience a spike in blood sugar.

The addition of fibre-rich foods in your diet, such as quinoa, promotes regular bowel movements and good bacteria growth in your gut, which influences healthy body weight. By combining high-fibre foods with high-protein foods, such as quinoa, you can feel full for longer and are able to control your portion sizes.

Quinoa is high in protein

Another way quinoa can help you lose weight is its high protein content. Quinoa contains all nine essential amino acids, which makes it a complete and all-around protein. It is a high-protein and low-fat grain option.

When you eat protein, your body uses calories to digest them, which will improve your body’s ability to burn fat,  which ultimately leads to weight loss. Protein also gives the feeling of satiety, which keeps you fuller for longer. What’s more, it’s a great option for vegans and vegetarians, as a non-meat protein option that is equally nutritious.

Quinoa can keep your gut healthy

Several trillion bacteria live in your gut, influencing body weight, appetite, mood, digestion, and hormone production. These microorganisms have a direct impact on your ability to ward off fat and maintain a healthy body weight.

Quinoa and other pseudo-grains like it are rich in prebiotics, which is a type of fibre that feeds the good bacteria in your gut. Compounds like these may help establish and maintain a healthy microbiota, thereby improving digestion and preventing obesity.

It is easy to cook and enjoy

Like rice, quinoa is easy to cook, and pairs well with vegetables, lean meat, herbs and spices. Quinoa has a sweet and nutty flavour that works well in a variety of dishes, which makes eating it enjoyable and fun, and you'll be eating healthy at the same time.

Quinoa digests easily

Thanks to its high fibre and protein content, quinoa is easily digestible and boasts a 91.6 percent absorption rate. Protein digestibility increases during cooking. In contrast, white rice has higher calories, less fibre, and less protein. 130 calories, 2.7 grams of protein, 28.2 grams of carbs and less than 1 gram of fibre per serving. Furthermore, it contains less manganese, zinc, and copper.

Quinoa is gluten-free

It can be challenging to follow a gluten-free diet, as it often requires effort to find healthy alternatives to whole-wheat products. In people with celiac disease, eating gluten can trigger an immune response, causing their immune system to attack healthy cells in their body.

Some individuals also have gluten sensitivity, experiencing symptoms like bloating, gas, and fatigue. These people can greatly benefit from quinoa's natural gluten-free properties. When quinoa is replaced with white rice, it provides your body with protein, iron, fibre, and calcium. This means you get to eat a balanced dish that is also gluten-free.

Quinoa is packed with manganese

While quinoa is loaded with vitamins and minerals, it is especially high in manganese, which is vital in weight loss. Quinoa provides more than one-third of the daily recommended intake of manganese. According to a 2016 British Journal of Nutrition study, this mineral may lower triglyceride levels, prevent abdominal obesity, and treat metabolic syndrome.

Other health benefits of quinoa

Apart from being rich in fibre and protein (one of the few plant foods considered a complete source of protein), quinoa is nutrient dense and it’s no wonder it is referred to as a superfood. 

It contains high magnesium levels, so quinoa can help maintain a healthy magnesium level, which has been linked to improved heart health.

Additionally, it contains antioxidants, including quercetin and kaempferol, which have anti-inflammatory qualities and act as antioxidants in the body. This means they help protect cells from damage caused by unstable molecules called free radicals 

It has been shown that eating more flavonoid-rich foods like quinoa may improve overall health and help protect against certain diseases and mortality.

Nutritional facts

Quinoa is packed with numerous vitamins and minerals, which is why it is marketed as a superfood. It is higher in vitamins and minerals than most grains and has just a few calories per serving.

One cup (185 grams) of cooked quinoa contains:

222 calories

39 grams (g) carbs

8 g protein

4 g fat

5 g fibre

2 g sugar

Folate: 19% of the daily value (DV)

Vitamin B6: 13% of the DV

Vitamin E: 8% of the DV

Copper: 39% of the DV

Iron: 15% of the DV

Zinc: 18% of the DV

Manganese: 51% of the DV

Magnesium: 28% of the DV

Potassium: 7% of the DV

Phosphorus: 22% of the DV

How can I incorporate Quinoa into my diet?

Quinoa is easy to cook and can be incorporated into your diet with ease. For basic cooking, soak and wash grains thoroughly, and boil them as you would do with rice. You can combine them with other ingredients, such as meat or veggies to whip up highly nutritious meals you would enjoy.

For baking or frying, you can use quinoa flour instead of regular flour to make pancakes, cookies, quick bread, and brownies.

Side effects and other concerns

As far as side effects are concerned, quinoa consumption is usually well tolerated. It is, however, important to note the following:

  • Quinoa is naturally coated with phytochemicals called saponins. Saponins are secondary metabolites that play an important role in the defence of plants against attack by herbivores, pests, and diseases. These compounds are found especially in the seed coat and give the grain a bitter taste and flavour. Consuming abundant levels of saponins can also lead to gastrointestinal problems. 
  • Since quinoa is a member of the Chenopodiaceae family, it is high in oxalates. This may contribute to kidney stone formation in sensitive individuals. Quinoa might not be the best choice for you if you have a history of kidney stones and have high levels of oxalate in your urine.
  • Like other grains and cereals, quinoa contains phytates. These may reduce the way your body absorbs minerals like iron and zinc.

To remove these phytoconstituents in quinoa, grains should be thoroughly washed or soaked for a while before cooking. If you’re new to eating quinoa, you should begin with a small quantity, gradually increasing it as you are comfortable with it.


Quinoa is a nutritious alternative to other grains that are higher in calories and lesser in nutrients. It is easy to incorporate into your diet, and is a choice you should consider if you’re trying to achieve weight loss or maintain a healthy weight.


  1. Angeli V, Miguel Silva P, Crispim Massuela D, Khan MW, Hamar A, Khajehei F, et al. Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.): an overview of the potentials of the “golden grain” and socio-economic and environmental aspects of its cultivation and marketization. Foods [Internet]. 2020 Feb 19 [cited 2022 Dec 23];9(2):216. Available from:
  1. Ong ES, Pek CJN, Tan JCW, Leo CH. Antioxidant and cytoprotective effect of quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) with pressurized hot water extraction(Phwe). Antioxidants (Basel) [Internet]. 2020 Nov 11 [cited 2022 Dec 23];9(11):1110. Available from:
  1. Holmes RP, Assimos DG. The impact of dietary oxalate on kidney stone formation. Urol Res. 2004 Oct;32(5):311–6. Available from:
  1. Mora-Ocación MS, Morillo-Coronado ACruz, Manjarres-Hernández EHelena. Extraction and quantification of saponins in quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) genotypes from colombia. Int J Food Sci [Internet]. 2022 Feb 28 [cited 2022 Dec 23];2022:7287487. Available from:
  1. Mora-Ocación MS, Morillo-Coronado ACruz, Manjarres-Hernández EHelena. Extraction and quantification of saponins in quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) genotypes from colombia. Int J Food Sci [Internet]. 2022 Feb 28 [cited 2022 Dec 23];2022:7287487. Available from:
  1. Castro‐Alba V, Lazarte CE, Perez‐Rea D, Carlsson N, Almgren A, Bergenståhl B, et al. Fermentation of pseudocereals quinoa, canihua, and amaranth to improve mineral accessibility through degradation of phytate. J Sci Food Agric [Internet]. 2019 Aug 30 [cited 2022 Dec 23];99(11):5239–48. Available from:
  1. Fooddata central [Internet]. [cited 2022 Dec 23]. Available from:
  1. Liu W, Zhang Y, Qiu B, Fan S, Ding H, Liu Z. Quinoa whole grain diet compromises the changes of gut microbiota and colonic colitis induced by dextran Sulfate sodium in C57BL/6 mice. Sci Rep [Internet]. 2018 Oct 8 [cited 2022 Dec 23];8:14916. Available from:
  1. Zhou B, Su X, Su D, Zeng F, Wang MH, Huang L, et al. Dietary intake of manganese and the risk of the metabolic syndrome in a Chinese population. British Journal of Nutrition [Internet]. 2016 Sep [cited 2022 Dec 23];116(5):853–63. Available from:
  1. Zevallos VF, Herencia LI, Chang F, Donnelly S, Ellis HJ, Ciclitira PJ. Gastrointestinal effects of eating quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) in celiac patients. Am J Gastroenterol. 2014 Feb;109(2):270–8. Available from:
  1. Sapone A, Bai JC, Ciacci C, Dolinsek J, Green PHR, Hadjivassiliou M, et al. Spectrum of gluten-related disorders: consensus on new nomenclature and classification. BMC Med. 2012 Feb 7;10:13. Available from:
  1. Office of dietary supplements - magnesium [Internet]. [cited 2022 Dec 23]. Available from:
  1. Lin M, Han P, Li Y, Wang W, Lai D, Zhou L. Quinoa secondary metabolites and their biological activities or functions. Molecules [Internet]. 2019 Jul 9 [cited 2022 Dec 23];24(13):2512. Available from:
  2. Mazidi M, Katsiki N, Banach M. A greater flavonoid intake is associated with lower total and cause-specific mortality: a meta-analysis of cohort studies. Nutrients [Internet]. 2020 Aug 6 [cited 2022 Dec 23];12(8):2350. Available from:
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

Get our health newsletter

Get daily health and wellness advice from our medical team.
Your privacy is important to us. Any information you provide to this website may be placed by us on our servers. If you do not agree do not provide the information.

Godswill Samson

BSc, Pharmacology, University of Lagos, Nigeria

Godswill is a budding health writer with a passion for health and wellness. She combines this with her writing skill to educate the public on ways to live fuller and healthier lives.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * presents all health information in line with our terms and conditions. It is essential to understand that the medical information available on our platform is not intended to substitute the relationship between a patient and their physician or doctor, as well as any medical guidance they offer. Always consult with a healthcare professional before making any decisions based on the information found on our website.
Klarity is a citizen-centric health data management platform that enables citizens to securely access, control and share their own health data. Klarity Health Library aims to provide clear and evidence-based health and wellness related informative articles. 
Klarity / Managed Self Ltd
Alum House
5 Alum Chine Road
Westbourne Bournemouth BH4 8DT
VAT Number: 362 5758 74
Company Number: 10696687

Phone Number:

 +44 20 3239 9818