Quinoa is a popular whole-grain superfood that has become more popular over the last few years. Together with other whole grains like rye, barley, and buckwheat, quinoa can enrich your healthy diet with phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
Quinoa is naturally gluten-free, which makes it suitable for Celiac disease patients as well as for those with gluten allergies or intolerances.
But what if you stick to a keto or low-carb diet? Can you eat quinoa and still stay in ketosis? Keep reading for the answer to these questions.
Nutritional profile of quinoa
Quinoa is also rich in healthy dietary compounds like phytochemicals and contain various vitamins and minerals:
- B vitamins
- Vitamin E
Is quinoa an appropriate food when trying to stay in ketosis?
While quinoa is a very healthy high-fiber carbohydrate to include in the diet, it may be a challenge to include a significant amount of this food when aiming to stay in ketosis.
The ketogenic diet encourages the consumption of low-carb, high-fat meals. While there are no official keto diet guidelines for how much carbs to eat, the general recommendations suggest eating no more than 50 grams of carbohydrates a day for optimal keto diet adherence. 
If your healthcare provider or dietitian has recommended a keto diet, efficient adherence is important in order to maintain ketosis: a metabolic state in which your body uses fats (instead of carbs) to produce energy.
Quinoa on a low-carb diet
Quinoa is not typically included in large portions in a low-carb diet because of its high carbohydrate content. Yet, you may include it in your meals occasionally and in moderation.
Generally, a low-carb diet focuses on consumption of primarily low-carb proteins and non-starchy vegetables, while limiting intake of grains, legumes, fruits, starchy veggies, and sweets. Unlike the ketogenic diet, low-carb diets are flexible. While guidelines suggest eating 20-57 grams of carbs per day, the amount may vary from day to day and may even exceed 57 grams occasionally. 
The health benefits of a low-carbohydrate diet include potential weight loss and a lower risk of type 2 diabetes and cancer.  However, the typical balanced and diverse diet encourages consumption of whole grains, since they are highly nutritious and may provide many beneficial health effects. Some of these benefits include lowering the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, together with facilitating weight management and improving gut health. 
Speak to your healthcare provider or dietitian about the benefits and risks of a low carb diet and receive advice on whether this diet is suitable for your health condition and lifestyle.
Low-carb quinoa substitutes
In terms of nutritional value, quinoa can be replaced with other whole grains, including oats, barley, rye, brown rice, and whole wheat products.
Common grain substitutes used in keto meal preparations are:
- Broccoli or cauliflower “rice”
- Nuts and seeds
- Legumes (in moderation)
- Nut flours: soy, coconut, almond, walnut