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Home arrow Health arrow Diabetes arrow Is Quinoa Good for Diabetes? Sugar Content, and Glycemic Index

Is Quinoa Good for Diabetes? Sugar Content, and Glycemic Index

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: October 12, 2022
5 min read 1305 Views 0 Comments
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People with diabetes are often required to be conscious of their carbohydrate intake. Quinoa is a low glycemic carb rich in magnesium and fiber content, so if you’re still wondering whether it’s a good option for you – read on.

is quinoa good for diabetes

You may be wondering what you can or can’t eat if you have diabetes, and that’s because you need to be careful about your blood sugar level. 

Quinoa is a nutritional powerhouse that contains high fiber and protein, which are both important to control blood sugar levels.

In today’s article, we’ll answer your questions as to whether quinoa is a good dietary option for those living with diabetes.

Is Quinoa Good for Diabetes?

Quinoa is a healthier grain for those managing diabetes or those at risk of developing blood sugar-related health conditions. The dietary fiber in quinoa makes it beneficial for those with diabetes since fiber helps balance blood sugar levels.

What Is Quinoa?

Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.), pronounced as “keen-wah,” is an ancient grain that grows in the Andes Mountains and is recognized for its edible starchy seeds. It’s known all over the world for its health benefits and is considered a whole grain.

Quinoa has all the nine essential amino acids your body needs, making it an appropriate source of complete protein. It’s referred to as a superfood because it contains antioxidants, minerals, copper, manganese, and loads of protein.

The dishes made from quinoa are gluten-free and rich in nutrients.

Is quinoa good for diabetes type 2?

Quinoa has high fiber and protein content, which adds bulk to your diet and makes you less hungry. Having your appetite under control is one of the most conscious ways to manage your diabetes diet, so yes, quinoa is a healthier alternative for those with type 2 diabetes.

One of the most important steps in managing type 2 diabetes is switching to a more complex source of refined sugar because when compared with refined grains found in white rice, it provides better blood sugar management.

For people with diabetes, eating fiber-rich carbs like quinoa seeds will help prevent an increase in their insulin levels.

Quinoa Sugar Content

Quinoa is very low in sugar; for every 100 grams of cooked quinoa, there are 0.9 grams of sugar.

Quinoa Glycemic Index

Quinoa has a glycemic index of 50–54 depending on the variety and cooking method, and keep in mind that anything with a glycemic index below 55 is ideal for people with diabetes.

White quinoa has a lower glycemic index compared to black quinoa. When cooked in boiling water for 15 minutes, the GI of white quinoa is 50, and that of black quinoa is 54.

Does Quinoa Raise Blood Sugar?

Quinoa is gluten-free, meaning it doesn’t result in blood sugar spikes; if anything, it may help lower your blood sugar level.

Also, quinoa contains magnesium, and the major function of magnesium in the body is for blood sugar control, meaning it won’t raise your sugar level as much as other grains such as white rice.

3 Health Benefits of Quinoa for Diabetes

Quinoa seeds are high in nutrients that may help with blood pressure and heart disease prevention. 

Incorporating quinoa into your diabetes diet can boost other nutrients and control your appetite because it contains the nine essential amino acids that make it a complete protein.

Being the “good carbs,” quinoa seeds are very beneficial for those with diabetes. Let’s go over a few health benefits of quinoa.

#1 Quinoa may help in weight loss

Quinoa is high in protein and low in fat compared to other high-carbohydrate diets. When it comes to burning calories, you need to eat foods that are rich in protein, as it’ll help reduce your body fat and prevent diseases such as diabetes.

Quinoa also contains fiber, and adding it to your food can help you lose significant weight while improving your gut health. You may be wondering about its fiber level; yes, it’s higher in fiber than other whole grains, but its low GI makes it more appropriate for people with diabetes.

The fiber content in quinoa makes you want to eat less, and this will naturally control your body weight as it lowers your appetite.

#2 It’s gluten-free

Quinoa is excellent for those who have celiac disease because it’s gluten-free.

When managing diabetes, you need to be conscious of what you eat. You can substitute quinoa for wheat in your diet, as it even offers you more nutrients. You can even use quinoa to make foods like pasta or bread if you feel like spicing up what you are eating.

Quinoa can sometimes taste bitter, so it might be best to cook it with veggies and herbs to mask its taste. You can also prepare quinoa as a dinner alternative to rice and toast it to amplify the flavor.

#3 Heart health

Maintaining a healthy weight is the first step in improving your heart health.

Quinoa contains a healthy amount of fiber which will help manage cholesterol and blood sugar levels, lowering your risk of diabetes.

Quinoa is rich in antioxidants, which can help prevent damage to the heart and other organs in the body. Consuming meals high in antioxidants helps reduce your risk of heart disease.

One study showed that quinoa produces free fatty-acid levels and triglyceride concentrations, making it helpful in preventing cardiovascular complications.

How to Consume Quinoa?

Quinoa is very versatile and can be used to make different dishes. You can choose to digest it plain or as an ingredient.

It can be used to make fried rice and breakfast porridge, and you can also use quinoa seeds in place of bulgur wheat. To prepare this delicious superfood, you can cook one cup of quinoa seeds with two cups of water.

Make use of quinoa like any other grain like barley or brown rice.

You can also use quinoa as a filling for salads or tacos; simply make it in your rice cooker and store it in the fridge for a few days. Alternatively, you can always consume quinoa as the main course; all you need to do is season it with nuts, fruits, and spices.

For an appetizing breakfast, mix chopped apple, raisins, a pinch of brown sugar, and plain yogurt into a hot bowl of quinoa.

However, you’re not limited to the ingredients listed; just be conscious of what you add to your mix. Other ingredients you can include are diced peaches, chopped walnuts, and dried cranberries.

A Word From Our RD

Quinoa has become quite a rage in today’s world, and it’s not difficult to see why. This superfood contains healthy carbohydrates for those conscious of what they eat.  

If you had doubts about quinoa’s health benefits for people with diabetes, we hope we have cleared that up.

Quinoa is helpful for individuals with diabetes, and it’s high in several antioxidants that can help reduce diabetes complications.

Other whole grains that can help manage diabetes include oats, bulgur, farro, brown rice, and wheat berries.


Quinoa is a healthy grain that helps in preventing and managing diabetes. This whole grain is an excellent source of magnesium and helps improve blood sugar numbers for those with diabetes.

You can spice up your food by incorporating quinoa into it at any time of the day. So, if you are looking for a healthy addition that can help with diabetes, quinoa might just be what you need.

Speak with your doctor, so they can let you know how much quinoa you can eat.

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
The article was fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: October 12, 2022
5 min read 1305 Views 0 Comments

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