Decisions, Decisions – Quinoa vs Rice

You have probably heard quinoa is a superfood and it can be a lower calories option, which is better for you than rice. That’s a bold statement as is the idea that quinoa should replace rice in your diet. People in the east of the world have eaten rice as a staple since forever. The Peruvians and the high Andes have done the same. Which should you choose?

Getting to a level playing field when comparing quinoa vs rice is difficult. One online source quoted quinoa as having twenty times more magnesium, potassium and iron than rice. But what is being compared? When it comes to fats quinoa has nearly twice the fat. But let’s put it into context. In one cup rice has 1.8g and quinoa 3.6g. An average adult intake of fats daily is about 24g. The result, yes quinoa has more fat, but neither is excessive in a 24g day.

We could continue to break down each of them. Quinoa has more folate which women find hard to get, but rice has more niacin which helps to bring down cholesterol. But it doesn’t really get us anywhere.

In this one against the other debate, it makes sense to look at protein, especially if we are considering the two in the context of a vegetarian or especially a vegan diet. Quinoa is a complete protein it has all the essential amino acids and rice doesn’t. The gram difference is not so great 8g to 5g in quinoa’s favor. What matter is the type of protein and if this about getting protein into the diet, quinoa comes out on top.

Are there any other criteria where it is possible to distinguish? How about taste? Quinoa is famous for its nutty flavor and it a noticeable, marked taste. Rice only tastes like perfectly pleasant rice. If you want something that is not going to compete then perhaps rice is the choice.

Both these staples have a value in the diet. The key is to use the one which will deliver what you’re looking for.