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What are Pseudo-Cereals?

Buckwheat, quinoa, and amaranth are grains that qualify as pseudo-cereals, because they are not part of the gramineae family, unlike more popular cereals such as wheat or oats, for example.

With this distinction also comes a difference in nutritional value. Among other things, they are gluten-free and higher in protein. Here are other reasons to include pseudo-cereals in your nutrition:


Buckwheat, with its particular type of fiber, is said to stimulate the activity and growth of the intestinal flora, that is, the good bacteria in the colon. This reinforces the immune system, among other desirable health effects.

Soluble fiber

One 125 ml (½ cup) serving of quinoa, buckwheat, or amaranth contains the same quantity of fiber as one slice of whole-wheat bread, but, unlike wheat fiber, the fiber found in these pseudo-cereals is of the soluble type. Soluble fiber thickens and acts as a gel in the stomach, which increases the feeling of satiety. This type of fiber is also beneficial in the prevention or control of diabetes, as it helps stabilizing blood sugar. In addition, soluble fiber reduces the absorption of lipids, and therefore helps reduce levels of LDL (bad cholesterol), and also contributes to heart disease prevention.


Note to all vegetarians: the proteins found in quinoa, buckwheat, and amaranth are all complete, i.e., they contain all of the amino acids, unlike other grains. Their protein content is around 10-15 % of their weight, which is twice as much as rice. This means that this type of starch is more filling. Therefore, including it in your meals more often will favour your weight loss process.

Here are a few ideas to consume more of them:


  • Buckwheat galettes
  • Buckwheat gruel
  • Buckwheat flakes muffins
  • Main meal salad


  • Quinoa gruel
  • Muffins, galettes, or bread
  • Quinoa nuggets
  • Main meal salad
  • Pudding


  • Thickening a potage soup
  • Nuggets
  • Pudding

By Marilyne Petitclerc


Marilyne Petitclerc

Holder of a degree in nutrition from Université Laval, Marilyne has worked as a nutritionist for Nautilus Plus since 2010. Passionate about healthy eating and sports nutrition, she also gives lectures and hosts cooking workshops. With her clients, Marilyne makes extensive use of the instinct diet approach and the Mediterranean diet model. Furthermore, she has attended classes on live nutrition at the Hippocrates Health Institute. Maryline ran the Quebec City Marathon des Deux Rives - Half Marathon in 2010 and 2012. She also took part in the Staircase Challenge, another event held in Quebec City in June 2012. Marilyne also plays in an Ultimate Frisbee league and trains regularly at the Nautilus Plus branch where she is employed.

What are Pseudo-Cereals? is a post from I'm taking charge. I'm taking charge is a blog that aims to help people in their journey to fitness through articles on training, nutrition, motivation, exercise and healthy recipes.
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