Most people know that consuming more whole foods can be beneficial. But how do bulgur and quinoa compare in factors like weight loss, health, and price?
Bulgur is a type of food made from cracked parboiled groats of certain types of wheat. One downside of bulgur for some people is that this grain contains gluten.
Quinoa is a type of seed, that is often used as a grain, a pseudocereal. Quinoa in its natural form is gluten-free but sometimes it’s handled together with gluten-containing products so it can be smart to check the food label anyway.
Bulgur has a small advantage for losing weight. Quinoa offers more important nutrients so you can consider quinoa to be “healthier”. Your personal situation may require different nutrients than the general population so the reverse may also be the case.
Bulgur and quinoa are used very similarly in cooking. The difference in taste between the two may be important for staying consistent with your eating habits.
This article will compare the nutrients in bulgur vs quinoa, for which goals each could be more useful, dishes you can make with bulgur and quinoa, and which one of the two is generally less expensive.
Bulgur vs quinoa: nutrition
One of the main differences people want to know about is the nutritional difference between bulgur and quinoa. Below you can find a table comparing some of the nutrients in bulgur and quinoa and what consequences these differences have for certain goals.
|Nutrients In Bulgur||Bulgur (100 grams)||Nutrients In Quinoa||Quinoa (100 grams)|
|Calories||83 calories||Calories||120 calories|
|Protein||3.1 grams||Protein||4.4 grams|
|Carbohydrates||18.6 grams||Carbohydrates||21.3 grams|
|Part of the carbohydrates that is fiber||4.5 grams||Part of the carbohydrates that is fiber||2.8 grams|
|Fat||0.2 grams||Fat||1.9 grams|
|Manganese||30% of the DV*||Manganese||32% of the DV*|
|Magnesium||8% of the DV||Magnesium||16% of the DV|
|Niacin||5% of the DV||Phosphorus||15% of the DV|
|Folate||5% of the DV||Folate||10% of the DV|
|Iron||5% of the DV||Copper||10% of the DV|
|Phosphorus||4% of the DV||Iron||8% of the DV|
|Thiamin||4% of the DV||Thiamin||7% of the DV|
|Zinc||4% of the DV||Zinc||7% of the DV|
|Vitamin B6||4% of the DV||Riboflavin||6% of the DV|
|Copper||4% of the DV||Vitamin B6||6% of the DV|
|Vitamin B5||3% of the DV||Potassium||5% of the DV|
Your daily values may be higher or lower based on your individual needs.
The first difference many people are interested in when comparing bulgur and quinoa is how much each one will help weight loss. Other nutrients play a role in losing weight as well but this section will compare a few main nutrients.
The first nutrient is total calories. 100 grams of boiled bulgur contains about 83 calories vs 120 calories in 100 grams of quinoa. This is not the biggest difference but bulgur is also higher in fiber and the calories from this nutrient do not get absorbed into your actual body as easily.
That leads to the next important weight loss nutrient, fiber. This nutrient has multiple benefits for weight loss. In short, fiber helps you with feeling less hungry, reducing cravings, and improving the health of your microbiome. All while not really counting towards your total calories.
Bulgur contains about 4.5 grams of fiber per 100 grams, quinoa contains about 2.8 grams of fiber per 100 grams. The amount of fiber in bulgur is a good amount higher but even with that in mind quinoa still contains a nice amount of fiber too.
The final nutrient that will be discussed is protein which helps with reducing hunger and preserving and building muscle. These are very helpful benefits when trying to lose weight. Bulgur contains about 3.1 grams of protein, quinoa about 4.4 grams. So quinoa contains slightly more protein than bulgur.
In general, bulgur will be slightly better for weight loss than quinoa but the difference will not be very big. If you lack specific nutrients involved in weight loss that quinoa offers, quinoa may be the better choice anyway.
A challenge with eating habits when trying to lose weight is being consistent. So due to the small difference in bulgur vs quinoa when it comes to weight loss, the best choice is generally your personal preference.
Healthy eating is about both getting the right amount of certain nutrients and avoiding bad substances. This section will focus on getting the right nutrients. It may be possible that there is a difference in farming methods which could lead to more or less bad substances but these differences will not be talked about.
According to the second nutrition report of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some of the most common nutrient deficiencies are vitamin B6, Iron, vitamin D, and Vitamin B12 (3). Other nutrients that many people need more of include calcium, iodine, and magnesium (4, 5, 6).
The influence of different foods on vitamin and mineral levels is complicated, your intake of one nutrient can influence the levels of other nutrients. That being said it looks like quinoa will generally help you more with these nutrients than the same weight of bulgur.
These things considered for most people quinoa will likely be healthier than bulgur. In your personal situation, this may be different due to factors like the rest of your diet, genetics, habits, etc.
Gluten is the name for certain types of nutrients found in certain types of food. A small part of the population does not tolerate this nutrient very well. For these people eating gluten can lead to negative side effects.
Bulgur contains gluten. Quinoa does not naturally contain gluten.
If you buy quinoa for this reason keep in mind that quinoa is sometimes handled together with gluten-containing products so it can be smart to check the food label anyway.
Bulgur vs quinoa: cooking
Bulgur and quinoa are very similar when it comes to cooking. You can prepare both bulgur and quinoa by boiling them. After that, you can combine them with different types of food.
For example, you can use both bulgur and quinoa as the base of a salad with a wide variety of vegetables and protein sources. You can also just use them as a side dish in the same way as potatoes.
Bulgur vs quinoa: price
The actual difference in the price of bulgur vs quinoa varies from location to location and from brand to brand. Generally the closer to one of the two you are the more inexpensive it will be.
Quinoa is mostly grown in South America. Bulgur is grown in different locations all around the world.
Bulgur may have a small advantage for weight loss but quinoa can provide you with more important nutrients. An important difference for some people is that bulgur contains gluten while quinoa is gluten-free in its natural form.
For your personal situation, recommendations may vary. Other substances in these foods that are not discussed may have an impact too.
That being said, the differences are relatively small. You can definitely substitute bulgur for quinoa and the other way around if you are not gluten-intolerant. Both are used similarly in cooking.
Keep in mind that personal preference of taste matters too. An important part of any eating plan is consistency. If you really don’t like one of the two options, choosing the other option may be better because it helps you stay consistent. Even if that means consuming fewer nutrients but actually sticking to the positive change.