Putting together your weight loss diet can be a challenge with all the possibilities. What about bulgur wheat, is it good for weight loss or fattening?
Bulgur wheat is a type of whole grain that contains gluten. You can boil bulgur and then eat it on its own but more often it is added to other recipes.
Like many whole grains, many people will benefit in terms of weight loss by eating more whole bulgur wheat. Find out just how good bulgur wheat is, ways to eat it, and how it compares to certain other grains for weight loss.
Micronutrients in bulgur wheat
The first thing to look at is the amount of micronutrients in bulgur wheat.
Micronutrients are a group of nutrients your body absolutely needs to survive and thrive. Micronutrients include vitamins and minerals. These are involved in basically every aspect of your health, including weight loss.
100 grams of cooked bulgur provides you with approximately (1):
- Manganese: 30% of the DV (Daily Value)
- Magnesium: 8% of the DV
- Niacin: 5% of the DV
- Folate: 5% of the DV
- Iron: 5% of the DV
And a few other vitamins and minerals in less significant amounts. Besides manganese, these are not very large amounts of vitamins and minerals compared to many whole foods.
If you have trouble reaching your daily vitamin and mineral goals bulgur wheat is not the best food choice to help you with this.
Fiber in bulgur wheat for weight loss
Another very important factor for weight loss is the amount of fiber in your food.
Cooked bulgur contains around 4.5 grams of fiber per 100 grams.
This is a big amount compared to many other foods. For most people more fiber is a good thing for weight loss.
Fiber has multiple benefits for weight loss. First of all, it feeds your microbiome, the microbes that live in your intestines. The health of your microbiome influences your body’s health and weight. Feeding it well is usually not a bad idea.
Fiber also helps you feel less hungry without adding a lot of calories to your diet. Hunger and cravings can be a big pitfall for people trying to lose weight, so avoiding this is a big plus.
With the amount of fiber in cooked bulgur you can reduce the time you spend craving for food a big amount.
Protein in bulgur wheat for weight loss
Another thing in food that can help you on your weight loss journey is the amount of protein in it.
Cooked bulgur contains about 3.1 grams of protein per 100 grams. To compare, there are about 25.4 grams per 100 grams in salmon (2).
Protein is considered to be the most filling of the 3 macronutrients. Eating enough protein will also help you prevent muscle loss. Muscle helps you burn extra calories throughout the day which is very good for weight loss. Protein calories also take your body more calories to process than calories from carbs and fats.
The amount of protein in bulgur is a nice bonus but unlikely to contribute a lot towards any protein goals you may have. There are better options if you are looking for whole grains high in protein and you will inevitably also need protein from other foods.
Do keep in mind that overdoing it with protein isn’t good either.
Is bulgur wheat good for losing weight?
To know whether or not you can eat bulgur while trying to lose weight you still need a final piece of the puzzle. The number of calories in bulgur wheat.
Boiled bulgur wheat contains around 83 calories per 100 grams. 69.9 of these calories come from the carbohydrates (18.6 g per 100 grams of which 4.5 g fiber). 1 cup of boiled bulgur wheat (182 g) contains about 151 calories.
Bulgur wheat is generally not suited for low carb diets like the keto diet.
The number of calories in boiled bulgur wheat is higher than most vegetables and fruits but even with that in mind this number is low compared to many other foods. Compared to other whole grains, bulgur is rather low in calories.
Together with the big amount of fiber and the small amount of protein this means that boiled bulgur wheat can help you feel fuller without adding that many calories to your diet.
This can help you avoid higher-calorie foods. And for most people that, and thus adding boiled bulgur wheat to their daily diet, is enough to help them lose weight.
In theory, you can overdo it with bulgur wheat in terms of calories, in that case it could be fattening. In reality, you will likely feel too full before you reach that point with boiled bulgur wheat.
Do keep in mind that some people are allergic to wheat products. These individuals should avoid this food anyway. Others are not very tolerant of bulgur wheat and may want to choose other foods as well.
How to cook bulgur wheat for weight loss
You can implement bulgur wheat in different ways into your diet. Some are better than others for weight loss. You definitely need to cook bulgur before eating it. Boiling is the preferred cooking method if you’re trying to lose weight.
After that you can eat it on its own or as an ingredient in other healthy dishes. Here are some examples of weight loss friendly recipes you can add bulgur to:
When trying to lose weight you generally want to avoid bulgur flour and recipes that use this as an ingredient. Making flour usually involves removing a lot of fiber which is arguably the most useful nutrient for weight loss.
Bulgur vs other grains for weight loss
You now know how good bulgur wheat is for weight loss but how does it compare to certain other grains? Find out how good bulgur wheat is for weight loss vs quinoa, brown rice, and couscous.
Bulgur wheat vs quinoa
The first comparison is between bulgur wheat and quinoa. If you look at the calorie amounts you can see that cooked quinoa contains more. Cooked bulgur wheat contains around 83 calories per 100 grams vs the 120 calories per 100 grams in quinoa (3).
Cooked bulgur contains around 4.5 grams of fiber per 100 grams. A good amount higher than the 2.8 grams of fiber per 100 grams in cooked quinoa. Quinoa contains about 4.4 grams of protein per 100 grams. Quinoa contains slightly higher amounts of vitamins and minerals.
Looking at some of the most important nutrients for losing weight, it looks like boiled bulgur wheat is better for weight loss than boiled quinoa.
Bulgur wheat vs rice
White and brown rice are some of the most popular grains all over the world. If you’re only looking at calories, brown rice contains a higher number of calories, 111 calories per 100 grams.
Boiled bulgur contains about 4.5 grams of fiber per 100 grams vs brown rice with about 1.8 grams per 100 grams (4). Bulgur also has slightly more protein, 3.1 grams per 100 grams than brown rice, 2.6 grams per 100 grams. Brown rice does contain slightly higher amounts of vitamins and minerals.
All in all, bulgur wheat is likely better for weight loss than rice.
Bulgur wheat vs couscous
Lastly the comparison between bulgur wheat and couscous, which is crushed durum wheat. Boiled couscous is higher in calories, about 112 calories per 100 grams (5).
On top of that, couscous is lower in fiber, 1.4 grams per 100 grams. Couscous does contain a bit more protein, 3.8 grams per 100 grams. These two foods are very similar in terms of vitamin and mineral amounts.
The extra protein is helpful but not enough to compensate. Bulgur wheat is likely better for weight loss than couscous.
Chart of bulgur wheat vs other popular grains
All in all, the differences between these grains won’t make that much of a difference when it comes to losing weight. If you like all these grains equally you might as well choose the alternatives that are slightly better for weight loss.
The amount of vitamins and minerals in the foods does matter for weight loss and health but you can’t simplify that in one number. You can check out the numbers for bulgur wheat (1), quinoa (3), brown rice (4), and couscous (5) to compare.
|Values Per 100g||Bulgur Wheat||Quinoa||Brown Rice||Couscous|
|Calories||83 calories||120 calories||111 calories||112 calories|
|Fiber||4.5 g||4.4 g||1.8 g||1.4 g|
|Protein||3.1 g||2.8 g||2.6 g||3.8 g|