Why No Quinoa? Weight-loss Surgery Questions

Steph Wagner

November 3, 2015

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Weight Loss Surgery Questions Answered by FoodCoachMe, Bariatric Dietitian Steph Wagner


Hard to pronounce, but often associated with the word “Healthy!!”

A new Chicken and Quinoa Salad would instantly seem like a great idea. Weight-loss surgery or not…am I right?

So why do I often surprise patients when I don’t recommend Quinoa?

It’s true Quinoa has a bit of protein. But compared to carbohydrates, it really isn’t much.

For a half cup of cooked Quinoa you will get 11 grams of protein depending on the brand. However, you’ll also get 59 grams of carbohydrates which can slow down weight-loss quite a bit.

When it comes to weight-loss, our body prefers to use carbohydrates for fuel. It’s easier! The body has to work really hard to use fat for fuel, so when carbs are available…why would the body work hard to burn fat for no reason?

While I don’t count carbs specifically, I like to look at the ratio of carbs to protein to fat. My suggestion is to use MyFitnessPal for food journaling and look at the pie chart at the end of each day. A great goal to strive for is 50% protein, 30% fat and 20% carbs.

If you were to have Quinoa in your day it’s highly likely your carb ratio would come in much higher than 20%!

Another issue about Quinoa and weight-loss surgery: it has a swelling effect in the stomach which can be very uncomfortable in your pouch after Gastric Sleeve, Gastric Bypass or Gastric Banding. This is also true with other starches like rice, pasta and oatmeal. Things that swell in liquid will swell in the stomach!

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