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Is Couscous Really Healthy?

Couscous is a popular Mediterranean side dish. Is it healthy substitute for rice?

Mediterranean food is growing in popularity as people discover the many health benefits this cuisine has to offer. With its emphasis on vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and olive oil, it’s not surprising that people who eat this type of diet have a lower risk of heart disease and diabetes. Couscous is a grain-like food that’s popular in certain parts of the Mediterranean. It often serves as a substitute for rice – and in most people’s minds, it’s healthier. Is eating couscous a healthy option?

What is Couscous?

Couscous is made from semolina wheat that’s been coated with ground wheat flour. It forms granules that expand in volume when cooked – creating a dish that’s similar to rice. In reality, couscous isn’t a grain as most people believe, but a type of pasta.  You can buy instant couscous at many grocery stores – which has already been steamed before being dried and packaged. It can be prepared in much less time than most grains – taking about five minutes to go from stovetop to table.

Is Couscous Healthy?

Since couscous is actually a pasta and not a whole grain, it’s not as rich in vitamins and minerals as some whole grains such as quinoa. It’s a decent source of thiamine and niacin – and an excellent source of the antioxidant mineral selenium. On the plus side, it is fat-free and a decent source of protein – with a full cup of cooked couscous containing six grams of protein. It has only two grams of fiber, which is lower than the fiber content of whole grains such as quinoa and barley which have a similar texture when cooked. A full cup of cooked couscous has 176 calories.

Eating Couscous is a Little Carby

Cooked couscous is relatively high in carbs with 36 grams in a single cup. The problem is couscous has a higher glycemic index compared to most whole grains. This means it causes a greater insulin response – which isn’t a good thing for diabetics – or anyone else for that matter.

The Bottom Line?

Couscous isn’t a terribly unhealthy food, but it lacks the fiber, B vitamins, and minerals found in whole grains such as barley, bulgar, and quinoa. These whole grain foods also have a lower glycemic index which is healthier for diabetics. Couscous is not a good choice for anyone with a wheat intolerance since it’s made from semolina wheat. If you’re looking for a healthier rice substitute, look for quinoa and barley instead.

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  1. I agree, couscous is what I consider a fad food. The body needs fiber as well as protein. Quinoa is a good choice and I add barley to my “beef burgers” and they are popular with my friends and are requested often.

  2. An important point to be kept in mind while ordering food.

  3. Quinoa isn’t really grain either but a seed.

  4. you all suck

  5. Yes i agree with Frank he seems like a bright young fellow i to do believe that you all infact do suck.

  6. Hmm i do believe that Frank and Andy are on the ball here. You do all indeed suck.

  7. Quinoa is actually a small animal related to the pink river dolphin. it tends to live near the outer areas of the coalson islands. and i dont know why you would eat them……

  8. sweet blogging on couscous youdaman, and couscous is yeah too

  9. extraordinary analysis! I would have to agree with my colleagues that you all do suck.

  10. What do you mean, mate?

  11. Lol @ Frank, Andy and James

  12. Couscous is low in calories 176, it has 0 fat, and it contains protein, besides if you buy whole wheat couscous it contains plenty of fiber. The other two choices you mentioned (quinoa and barley) are both high in calories, super high in carbohydrates and they both have fat although their contens of protein are higher than couscous.

  13. Well I’m glad that the “you suck” clan has kept to themselves…it is after all a place for information.

    I thank the serious ones for that.

  14. Don’t understand why people just can not read and appreciate this post.
    Wanna annoy people then go some where else.
    Give some credit to people who work hard on these.
    You people just do not get the concept of these posts I wish I could.
    Up vote this post and enable more people to see it.
    Don’t come here to annoy and frustrate people.
    Wanna do something like that please just go to another website.
    Let people learn more about healthy life options.
    You can learn so much from posts like these.
    Down to the none believers!!!

  15. Hey Jimmy a healthy sense of humor could lower your stress levels and reduce blood pressure as well as increase your quality of life … Diet is not the only Heath issue in the world .. Lighten up and learn how to take a joke it’s not healthy to be stressed all the time

  16. i agree with Braedo. Calm down james!
    By the way james “you suck” lol

  17. You Suck.

  18. What’s with the grain $h|te ? Are you a goat ?

  19. Couscous sounds like it could be a bad word! Suck my couscous u morons! Lol!

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