Quinoa vs. Oats for Health and Weight Loss

Setting aside one’s dislikes, is one actually better for us than the other?

Before I continue, I can hear the anti-oat people saying: ‘eeeech…slimy oat porridge or overnight oats…’
And anti-quinoa people might be saying: ‘eeeech…crunchy bits of bitter sand…’

Well, those can all be overcome.
1) Slimy porridge oats 🤢: instead of eating wet porridge, lightly toast rolled oats in the oven or in a pan and make your own firm muesli. Add some seeds, or nuts, some coconut shreds and maybe some golden raisins. Those have more antioxidants than dark raisins. See? No need to make wet porridge or overnight oats.
Sorted. No more slime.

2) Crunchy bitter quinoa 🤢?
Bitter: rinse them REALLY well. Like for 3 minutes or longer under running water. Or buy from this UK company that grows its new strain locally. I just found them today and look forward to trying their product.

It’s not bitter because they explain it has no saponins [that’s the gross stuff that makes it bitter unless rinsed off] Maybe you’ve got something similar where you live.

Texture tip: try this method and they come out fluffy and soft.

Also sorted. No more crunchy bitter sand.

Or boil them with more liquid and plant milk. [See recipe below]
That way quinoa becomes a delicious, pleasantly textured porridge. It might even have fewer calories than your usual oat porridge. Of course, that will depend on how much dry rolled oats you use in your serving.. ❤

But what about their nutrient content?
That’s where it becomes more interesting. Calorie levels will always be determined by how you prepare the quinoa or the oats and what you add.

Blogs and articles often compare 100g cooked fluffy quinoa [which is actually a seed] with 100g sloppy wet porridge or wet overnight oats. But the latter has a high liquid content and may contain only a few oat flakes.

Therefore, that’s not a good comparison. More on this below.

Good news: they both have a low to medium Glycaemic Index and Glycaemic Load.

Therefore both are great for blood sugar and weight management when using standard serving sizes.

The more interesting thing about quinoa is that, unlike oats, it contains all the essential 9 amino acids to form a complete protein. But not to worry if you are an oat lover. We can get the missing amino acid called lysine from beans and tofu.

Another problem fixed.

However, oats have a special type of fibre called beta-glucan that helps with lowering bad cholesterol.
Half a cup of dry rolled oats has around 2g beta-glucan. We are told to consume 3g for maximum cholesterol-lowering benefit. So we’re nearly there.
The solution will be to eat some mushrooms throughout the day and you’ll get the extra beta-glucan from them.

And quinoa? Does it assist with lowering our cholesterol as well?

Although quinoa do not have beta-glucan, the website called Healthline explains: “Quinoa is a good choice for people who have high blood lipids (cholesterol and triglycerides). One study found that eating daily 50 grams of quinoa cooked into a meal for 6 weeks lowered total cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL cholesterol.”
What was also mentioned though is that the effect was rather small plus it reduced our good cholesterol as well. So perhaps oats are a little better for cholesterol management.

How about minerals? Do they compare?
So very similar…but we can find more iron in oats….and more magnesium in quinoa.
And I could go on and on mentioning each micronutrient, but I won’t. A bit boring.

In the end, both are excellent options. And when used in the right portion sizes, they can support healthy weight management.

Here is a yummy creamy quinoa option instead of sloppy porridge…
You should try it.

  • 100g / ½ cup dry raw quinoa [dark quinoa has slightly more antioxidants than the white ones]
  • 1 ½ cups unsweetened soy milk or a little more [it makes it creamier than the other unsweetened plant milks]

This gave me 2 cups of cooked quinoa porridge. Not fluffy. And not runny.

quinoa porridge
When I placed this into the fridge overnight, the quinoa absorbed all the liquid and became quite firm. 

By adding more plant milk the next day, I got 4 filling servings out of this batch.
This way the actual quinoa serving, without counting any added ingredients, was only around 100 calories.
If you use 1/2 a cup of dry rolled oats for your porridge to begin with, then that amount of ceral will be about 150 calories.

Quinoa porridge stores in the fridge for 4 days, covered.

Here is the recipe:

  • Rinse the 100g / 1/2 a cup of dry uncooked quinoa like crazy, for a few minutes.
  • Use a very tight meshed sieve or else the quinoa falls through.
  • Place 1 ½ cups of unsweetened soy milk and the well-rinsed quinoa into a small pot and bring to boil whilst stirring a few times.
    Stir it otherwise it catches on the bottom.
  • Turn down the heat and simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes. Stir a few times. [This is where I think oats have a benefit because they cook so much faster]
  • Check for crunchiness.
    If not done yet, keep cooking. Maybe add a bit more liquid.

It will turn out soft and the liquid will be absorbed by the quinoa.

When ready, serve 1/4 of the ready product into a dish.
Add 1 flat tablespoon of pure plain protein powder for additional hunger control
1 Tablespoon flax meal
½ teaspoon of Ceylon cinnamon [healthier than Cassia cinnamon]
Then add a big splash of plant milk and half a cup of berries or other fruit.

Makes a lovely change from oats.

I’ll let you know how the local saponin-free quinoa turned out. I’m so very curious about it.

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