Is Quinoa Paleo?


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Hi Mr Cordain,

This is Millie, I have a masters in Kin Ex science CSULB, I am a fitness coordinator at Boeing Long Beach, Ca, and teach yoga at CSULB & the LB fitness center. my husband has M.S…I started ‘us’ on the Paleo diet 5 months ago…  We have experienced amazing results!
I’ve read some of your books (and Robb Wolf’s & the Hartwigs), my question is what is the compound in quinoa and its potential harm to the body?  Are you aware of any studies showing that quinoa is harmful like other grains. Other sources say it doesn’t cause same effects, but they show no research. Is this topic addressed in your new book?

I appreciate your time!

In great gratitude,

Millie

Dr. Cordain’s Response:

Hi Millie,

Good to hear from you and contratulations on your successes with the Paleo Diet. In my new book I have devoted part of Chapter 6 to potential adverse health effects of such psuedo grains as quinoa, amaranth and buckwheat. All of these plant seeds contain a variety of antinutrient compounds which potentially have deleterious effects in humans, particularly if they are consumed in high amounts on a regular basis. Quinoa seeds may contain very high concentrations (up to 5,000 mg/kg) of compounds known as saponins, which like the name implies, have soap like properties thay may cause a “leaky” gut by breaking down intestinal cell membranes. I believe that a leaky gut promotes chronic low level inflammation and likely represents a necessary step in the development of autoimmune diseases. Quinoa seeds may be “polished” during processing to lower their saponin content, because the highest concentration of these compounds are found in the outer layer of the seed. Fresh fruits and vegetables are superior nutritionally to all whole grains, including the psuedo grains, which I recommend should be consumed infrequently.

Hope this helps

Loren Cordain, Ph.D., Professor


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19 Comments on "Is Quinoa Paleo?"

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  6. Joe Shain says:

    But a true paleolithic diet is impossible to mimic because wild game is not readily available, most modern plant food is cultivated rather than wild, and meats are domesticated. At best, you can eat a modified version of the original diet that’s gluten-free and includes lean meat, organ meats, fish, poultry, eggs, vegetables, fruit, and nuts. It’s a wide variety of foods.,..,”

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  7. CARON says:

    Hello, I’d like to know if (Quinoa, Basmati Rice, red beans) all gluten free, despite the health point, can prevent the lost of weight ? or have nothing to do with.
    Thank you

  8. Adrienne Turner says:

    Dr. Cordain,
    I recently finished reading the Eat Right for Your Bloodtype book, and based on my A+ bloodtype it is suggested my diet be mostly vegetarian allowing mostly whole grains, nuts, veggies, fruits, and sparse dairy with fish once a week. The book claims some of my most beneficial foods to be quinoa, oats, soy, wheat, yogurt and certain legumes like peanuts. I would love your opinion as I find your information and research compelling. However, based on my bloodtype my ancestors supposedly adapted and can tolerate these foods, whereas other bloodtypes cannot.

    Looking forward to your response,

  9. Carol says:

    I am curious as to why legumes or beans in general are not in the Paleo, I can only guess that because maybe harder to digest and the gaseous nature can you enlighten me. I have just started the paleo diet and I have gotten rid of my vertigo, I am totally astounded by the amount of energy I have. I have Hepatitis C which does not bother me except with the grains ,I was fatigued all the time. Just 2 and 1/2 days on this diet and I am completely energized. Now I have to work on being regular with bowel movements, I hope this helps.

  10. Lana says:

    Is greenbeans ok on the paleo diet or is it the same as other beans?

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