Quinoa or barley: Which grain is a better weight-loss food?
When we think about losing weight, the first thing that we all end up doing is managing our diets. We try to cut down on junk food and sugary items, and end up going gluten-free at times. In fact, over the past couple of years, there has been a rise in our lookout for superfoods that can aid in accelerating our weight-loss journey. And if we look at them, the two food grains that are on everyone’s mind are quinoa and barley.
However, if you are asked to pick one, it makes sense to know the pros and cons of both these grains. And to help you out, let Sharanya Shastry, Chief Clinical Nutritionist, Apollo Spectra Hospital, Bengaluru, solve this mystery for you.
All you need to know about quinoa
Quinoa is a western grain, mostly domesticated by people living in the Andes, particularly in Peru and Bolivia, thousands of years ago. It has gained a lot of attention because of its protein content and incredible balance of essential amino acids. Similar to rice, the seeds of quinoa can be used in soups or to make breakfast cereal. Not just that, quinoa is also used to produce baked products like cookies, bread and crisps among others.
“Coming to the health benefits, quinoa is gluten-free and aids in weight loss because they’re rich in fiber content. Hence, it gives satiety or a feeling of fullness. It is also known to enhance performance in sports people, and is beneficial for diabetics because it avoids sugar spikes. People with celiac disease and dyslipidemia also find the usage of quinoa useful,” Shastry tells HealthShots.
One serving of quinoa consumption (about 40 grams) is supposed to meet the daily requirements.
All you need to know about barley
Coming to barley, it is an ancient grain and it is the fourth largest cereal crop in the world with a share of 7 percent of the global cereal production. For those caught unaware, it is an Indian grain and is considered to be very sacred. In fact, it is a functional food in many of the developed countries but in India, its consumption is only restricted to the hilly areas or tribal areas. Sattu or missi roti are the popular barley preparations, especially in the north of India within states of Haryana, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
“Barley is rich in a fiber called beta-glucan, which is shown to lower postprandial blood glucose and lower the LDL cholesterol. It is also approved in many countries as health benefiting soluble fiber,” suggests Shastry.
Who’s the winner in the weight loss race?
Be it barley or quinoa, both can be beneficial in weight loss. However, it depends on the geography, accessibility and the cuisine that you follow to choose one of these. “It’s always important to remember one thing that any food that takes time to reach us would’ve lost its nutritional value. Hence, go for the one that’s closest to you,” Shastry asserts.
Albeit, to say the least, people looking for a gluten-free option, they can choose quinoa over barley. But remember that anything over-consumed can inhibit the calcium absorption, can cause bloating and lead to discomfort leading to some allergic reactions in some people. Hence a millet-based preparation once in two days is a good frequency to add it into the diet.