Is Quinoa Good for Weight Loss?

Bowl of quinoa with wooden shovel on wood
Westend61 / Getty Images

We all know it's healthy, but one question that comes up repeatedly is whether Quinoa can actually help with weight loss. Let's discuss.

Research Roundup

  • Consuming quinoa can have an appetite-suppressing effect. One study found that eating quinoa is much more satiating than consuming other whole grains and rice. The study found that eating quinoa helped people consume less found throughout the entire day.
  • Quinoa is rich in an antioxidant called quercetin. This has been shown to speed up metabolism and decrease the risk of obesity. 
  • The high protein and fiber content make it extra filling. Quinoa is high in protein and fiber, especially compared to other carb-based foods like white bread and pasta. Several studies have shown that high-protein diets are helpful for increased feelings of fullness and weight loss. And fiber has also been found to have a satiating, appetite-suppressing effect. 

Quinoa Is Unique

Technically a seed, Quinoa is consumed like a grain. But unlike most foods in that category, it’s full of complete protein. Plus, it’s super versatile. It can be used in anything from a salad to a stir-fry to a breakfast dish. 

The studies surrounding quinoa as a weight-loss tool aren’t conclusive. It’s certainly not a magical fat-burning food. But compared to other starches, quinoa is relatively high in fiber and protein, which are great for regulating appetite and preventing overeating.

For those reasons, I’m definitely a fan of quinoa. But while it can be good for weight loss, it’s definitely not a “free” food. A 1/4-cup serving of dry quinoa (3/4 cup cooked) has about 170 calories. If you’re looking to lose weight, stick to one serving. Don’t overdo it!

How to Cook Quinoa

It’s easier than it looks!

It cooks like rice, but quicker. To keep portion control in check, either cook 1/4 cup uncooked quinoa at a time or cook a big pot of it and immediately portion it out into 3/4-cup servings. Here's how to make a single serving:

  • First, thoroughly rinse the dry quinoa seeds. That will get rid of the slightly bitter flavor and remove any inedible particles.
  • Second, in a small nonstick pan, bring 1/2 cup water and 1/4 cup rinsed quinoa to a boil. Cover and simmer for 12-14 minutes or until the water is absorbed.

Once you’ve cooked up your quinoa, you have a versatile base. You can use it in savory dishes or sweet treats and it’s also perfect as a simple side dish.

For more tips ’n tricks, plus guilt-free recipes, food finds, and more, sign up for free daily emails at Hungry Girl!