Quinoa vs. Rice: Which is Healthier?

How do rice and quinoa compare? Image via Pexels/Vie Studio
How do rice and quinoa compare? Image via Pexels/Vie Studio
Natalie P.

Quinoa has been replacing rice in most households for a few years now, as it has largely been labeled the healthier grain. But what exactly makes it that much healthier than rice? Both grains have slightly different nutrient profiles, but both provide various health benefits.


According to the USDA, 1 cup (or 185 g) of quinoa contains:

222 calories

39 g carbs

8 g protein

4 g fat

5 g fiber

13 mg sodium

2 g sugars

Quinoa is one of two plant sources (the other being soy) that provides all the essential amino acids required by the human body. It also has a relatively low glycemic index, making it a safe option for those with high blood sugar levels.

Aside from that, it provides several other benefits:

Aids in digestion

Thanks to its high fiber content, quinoa is a great aid to digestion and gut health.

Helps control blood sugar levels

This grain has a low glycemic index score, meaning it won’t make your blood sugar levels spike up immediately after consumption. This makes it safe for consumption if you have high blood sugar levels or diabetes.


While not all brands on supermarket shelves might provide you with pure, whole quinoa, it is naturally gluten-free. This makes it ideal for those sensitive or allergic to gluten.

It is rich in minerals

Quinoa is a great source of minerals such as magnesium, iron, zinc, phosphorous, and others. This makes it a good antioxidant and may even help prevent inflammation.


The nutrient profile of rice largely depends on what kind you’re eating; white or brown rice. White rice is a processed version of actual rice, which is brown rice. This processing strips it off its nutrients.

According to the USDA, 1 cup (or 185 g) of brown rice contains:

218 calories

45.8 g carbs

4.5 g protein

1.6 g fat

3.5 g fiber

1.9 mg sodium

0 g sugars

Just like quinoa, rice is also gluten-free, once again making it a safe grain for those sensitive to gluten.

Other benefits of rice include:

Source of energy

Although brown rice may be more nutritious, white rice is the chosen grain for most athletes, as it can be digested faster and provides immediate energy that lasts through the day.


Owing to its fat and fiber content, as well as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, rice supports heart health. Regular consumption of rice in your meals will help maintain heart health in the long run.

Keeps you satiated

This is a key point to note when it comes to those seeking weight loss. Rice keeps you feeling full for longer, which in turn helps curb hunger cravings and the urge to snack that will lead to piling on more calories unnecessarily.

Aside from these differences, rice and quinoa are fairly similar in nature. Both grains are widely available and are easy to cook. They are also available in different varieties, so you have the freedom to choose.

There’s not much of a debate when it comes to which is the healthier grain, as they both provide their own benefits. The choice is rather simple; if you are looking to lose or maintain your weight, quinoa or brown rice may be a good option for you.

If you are looking to build some mass or perform better in your workouts, you might want to look to white rice. Ignore the fads that say it’s bad for you as that isn’t true.

Choose your grain wisely, and share your recipes with us!

live poll LIVE POLL

Q. Which grain do you prefer?

Quinoa all the way!

Rice, any day!

Edited by S Chowdhury


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