Over recent decades, all low-carb foods, including some grains that are low in carbs, have become increasingly popular because of the rise in low-carb diets, such as Keto and Atkins. In this article, we will talk about some grains that are low in carbs. If you want to include the low carbs grain in your diet, then read further and discover about them.
Some Grains That Are Low In Carbs
Grains are usually completely off-limits on various low-carb diets. But, several types of grains are rich in fiber and they can be added to your carb-controlled healthy diet when taken in moderation.
This is due to the fact that foods that are loaded with fiber contain a lower number of net carbohydrates, which is the number of carbohydrates that is absorbed by the body. Net carbohydrates or net carbs can be calculated by subtracting the grams of fiber from the total grams of carbohydrates present.(1)
Below we will take a look on some grains that are low in carbs.
Although quinoa is technically classed as a pseudocereal, it is usually prepared as a grain. Quinoa is packed with essential polyphenols and antioxidants, and can help in reducing inflammation and also protect against several chronic diseases. (2, 3, 4)
Quinoa is relatively low in carbohydrates and a single cup or 185 gram of cooked quinoa contains just 34 grams of net carbs. (5)
This is also one of the very few plant-based complete protein sources, which means it contains all of the essential amino acids that our body requires to obtain from food sources. (6)
In addition to this, quinoa is also packed with other important nutrients, such as magnesium, manganese, copper, phosphorous, and folate. (7)
Oats are extremely nutritious and known to be a wonderful source of several essential nutrients, including fiber.
A single cup or 33 grams serving of cooked oats has more than 8 grams of dietary fiber and merely 21 grams of net carbs. (8)
Oats also contain a rich amount of beta-glucan. Research has shown that such a type of fiber can reduce levels of bad cholesterol or LDL. One of the risk factors for heart disease is high levels of LDL. (9, 10)
Moreover, oats are also an excellent source of many other micronutrients, such as phosphorous, manganese, magnesium, and thiamine. (8)
Millet is also one of those grains that are low in carbs. It is a type of ancient grain that is cultivated all around the world.
Millet is rich in polyphenols and antioxidants, which might help in preventing chronic conditions like type 2 diabetes. (11, 12, 13)
This grain is also a wonderful source of fiber and is relatively low in net carbs, which makes it a great addition to your healthy low-carb diet.
A single cup or 174 gram serving of cooked millet has over 2 gm of fiber and 39 gm of net carbs. (14) Millet also contains a high amount of various vitamins and minerals, including calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, and folate. (14)
Couscous is a processed grain product, usually made from durum wheat or semolina flour. This is a staple food in many Middle Eastern and Moroccan dishes. Couscous is low in carbohydrates, having around 34.5 gms of net carbs in a single cup or 157 gm serving of cooked couscous. (15)
This grain is also loaded with a trace mineral called Selenium that plays a significant role in heart health, immune health, thyroid function, and more. (15, 16)
Including couscous in your diet will also boost your intake of various other essential micronutrients, such as manganese, pantothenic acid, copper, and thiamine. (16)
5. Wild Rice
Wild rice is a type of grain that is derived from grasses in the plants of the genus Zizania.
Wild rice is significantly lower in carbohydrates when compared with other types of rice. One cup or 164 gm serving of cooked wild rice contains 32 grams of net carbs. (17)
Moreover, wild rice has also health-promoting antioxidants in it. A review has shown that the phenolic compounds present in wild rice exhibited 10 times the antioxidant activity of the compounds present in white rice. (18)
In addition to all these, wild rice is also an excellent source of many other nutrients, such as vitamin B6, zinc, and folate. (17)
Another grain that is low in carbs is barley. It is a nutritious cereal grain that is known for its nutty flavor and distinctive, chewy texture.
Barley is also loaded with fiber. A single cup or 170 gram serving of cooked barley contains 41.5 grams of net carbs. (19)
In addition to this, cooked barley is also an excellent source of magnesium, selenium, zinc, manganese, and copper. (19)
But make sure that whenever possible, you opt for hulled barley and not pearled barley. This is because hulled barley is less processed than pearled barley and it is considered a whole grain. (20)
Bulgur is a type of cereal grain usually made from cracked wheat berries. This can be used in a variety of dishes, including porridge, tabbouleh salad, and pilaf. Bulgar is easy to prepare and also highly nutritious.
It is an excellent source of iron, manganese, magnesium, and vitamin B. (20) In addition to this, a single cup or 182 grams of cooked bulgur contains just 25.5 grams of net carbs, and this makes it one of the lowest carb whole grains. (20)
Teff is an African grain and it is gluten-free. This African grain contains more amount of calcium than almost any other grain.
Half a cup of cooked teff offers 3.5 grams of fiber, 25 grams of carbs, 21.5 grams of net carbs, and 4.8 grams of protein.
Most of us feel that popcorn is a snack food; however, technically it is a whole grain.
Popcorn is one of those grains that are low in carbs. It is one of the lowest carb grains, and a single cup or 14 gram serving of popped popcorn contains just 6.5 grams of net carbs. (21)
Additionally, it is also low in calories and high in vitamin B complexes, magnesium, iron, and phosphorous. (21)
But make sure that you choose air-popped popcorn, whenever possible. This maximizes the nutritional value of popcorn.
One more grain that you can add to your diet is Rye, because of its low carbohydrate content. Rye flour is one of the most nutritious grains. One of the most common ways to add rye to your daily diet is by taking rye bread.
A single slice of rye bread contains almost 2 grams of fiber, 15 grams of carbs, 12 grams of net carbs, and around 3 grams of protein.
Rye bread also makes a fantastic base for avocado toast and also any sandwich.
Buckwheat is a gluten-free grain and it can be added to your diet if you are looking to add some grains that are low in carbs.
Half a cup of cooked buckwheat offers around 2 grams of fiber, 17 grams of carbs, 15 grams of net carbs, 3 grams of protein.
Traditional food in Japanese cuisine, the Soba noodles, are entirely made of buckwheat and water. This is made as a great substitute for spaghetti.
12. Brown Rice
Brown rice is a low carbs grain that can be included in your diet. You can prepare the brown rice and combine it with salsa for a taco bowl. You can also take cooked brown rice with your favorite curry.
Avoid These Grains That Are High In Carbs
There are several types of grains that are considered a healthy and low-carb diet. However, certain types of grains have a high amount of carbohydrates and are low in fiber.
Refined grains are the grain products that have been processed to improve their shelf life and texture. This results in a lower fiber content in refined grains, which can increase the number of net carbs in the final product.
Some examples of grains that are high in carbs are refined pasta,white bread, white rice, pizza dough, crackers, breakfast cereal, and instant oatmeal.
You should additionally keep in mind that if you are cutting carbohydrates from your diet, you might still require to limit various healthy whole grains, depending on how restrictive diet you are having.
Say for example, extremely low carb or ketogenic diets usually limit carbohydrate intake to less than 50 grams a day, which can make it quite difficult to fit any grains into your daily allotment of carbohydrates. (22)
Many types of grains are loaded with fiber and low in net carbohydrates. Net carbs is the number of carbs that the body absorbs actually.
For getting best benefits, you must ensure that you choose whole grain varieties and avoid grains that are heavily processed or refined. The best ways to include healthy grains in your low carb diet are to opt whole grains with at least 3 grams of protein and fiber per serving and also to focus on their net carbohydrate content when adding them into your daily diet.
NOTE: It is advisable to check with a registered dietitian or your doctor before starting any diet plan, as it can help you make sustainable changes and also avoid nutrient deficiencies.
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