10 Low Carb Grains

By: Jackie Martin    Last Updated: January 20, 2023       


Low Carb Grains

For anyone who is following a low carbohydrate diet, they will be aware that grains are off limits. However, some grains include a lot of fiber, so you can consume them in moderation as part of a nutritious, carb-restricted diet.

This is because some foods with a high fiber content have fewer net carbohydrates, or there are fewer amounts of carbs the body needs to absorb. You may determine net carbohydrates by dividing the total grams of carbohydrates by the grams of fiber.

In this article, we have collected together 10 low-carb grains that you may not be aware of. Each of these grains provides you with the minimum amount of carbs so that you can enjoy them as part of a low-carb diet.

1. Bulgur


A variety of cereal grain known as bulgur is primarily produced from split wheat berries. It can be used in a number of recipes, such as pilaf, oatmeal, and tabbouleh salad.

Bulgur is extremely adaptable and simple to make. It can be substituted for quinoa, rice, or perhaps even your morning bowl of oats.

Additionally, it is a very nutritious ingredient. It’s a fantastic source of iron, manganese, magnesium, and B vitamins in particular.

Additionally, bulgur is among the lowest-carb whole grains on the market, with only 25.5 grams of net carbohydrates in 1 cup (182 grams) of prepared bulgur.

Moreover, it increases your daily calorie consumption by only 80 calories.

2. Oats


It is known that oats can be incredibly nourishing and a fantastic source of various nutrients, such as fiber. In actuality, a 1 cup (33 gram) portion of cooked oats contains just 21 grams of net carbohydrates and over 8 grams of dietary fiber.

Also, abundant in oats is beta-glucan. This particular form of fiber has been scientifically proven to lower bad cholesterol levels.

Heart disease is at increased risk due to elevated LDL cholesterol levels. Additionally, oats are a great source of a number of additional micronutrients, including manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, and thiamine.

To get the best nutritional value for your money, use rolled oats or steel cut rather than highly processed alternatives like quick or instant oats.

In fact, instant oats remove all the important nutrients that you wish to benefit from.

3. Barley


Barley is a filling cereal grain distinguished by its characteristic, chewy texture and nutty flavor. Each 1 cup (170 gram) portion of cooked barley contains 41.5 grams of net carbohydrates and 6.5 grams of fiber.

Additionally, selenium, zinc, magnesium, manganese, and copper are all abundant in cooked barley. If at all feasible, choose hulled barley over pearled barley because it has undergone less processing and is regarded as a whole grain.

Barley makes a great substitute for risotto in recipes. Also, it adds fiber to salads, and creates a great side dish.

4. Millet


An old grain which is grown all across the world is millet. Just with some other whole grains, millet contains significant levels of antioxidants and polyphenols. These may help fend off chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes.

Millet is a fantastic complement to a balanced, low-carb diet because it has a low net carb count. Yet, the fiber count in this grain is lacking a bit more compared to other grains on this list.

In actuality, a portion/1 cup of cooked millet has 39 grams of net carbohydrates and more than 2 grams of fiber.

Additional minerals and vitamins that are abundant in millet include magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, and folate.

In addition to being a fantastic alternative to rice in stir-fries and morning cereals, millet is a common ingredient in packaged grain mixes.

5. Popcorn


Although most people just consider popcorn to be a snack, it is actually a full grain. Featuring 6.5 grams of net carbohydrates in each 1 cup (14 gram) portion of popped popcorn, it’s also among the lowest carbohydrate grains on the market.

Additionally, popcorn is abundant in iron, B vitamins, magnesium, and phosphorus while being low in calories.

To enhance the nutritional content of this beneficial grain, choose air-popped popcorn whenever possible. This is so you can enjoy all the benefits outlined above. 

For a lot of the prepared varieties of popcorn, they are high in added sugar, artificial flavors, and fats. All of these things then give popcorn its unhealthy association, yet popcorn can be really beneficial when prepared and eaten correctly. 

According to a 2012 study, participants felt fuller after eating one cup of popcorn as opposed to one cup of potato chips. Thus, it is also a filling grain to consume as well.

6. Wild Rice

Wild Rice

A variety of grain called wild rice is made from grasses that belong to the plant family Zizania. Wild rice has 32 grams of net carbohydrates per 1 cup (164 grams) serving, which is much less than other varieties of rice.

Wild rice is also brimming with antioxidants that are good for your health. It’s interesting to note that a study discovered the phenolic chemicals in wild rice had ten times more antioxidant traces compared to white rice.

Wild rice is a fantastic source of a number of other minerals, such as zinc, vitamin B6, and folate. Overall, this grain has a nutty flavor and is denser in texture. It is a fantastic choice if you are seeking a change from the standard white or brown rice.

7. Quinoa


Quinoa is frequently prepared and consumed like a grain, even though it is technically categorized as a pseudocereal.

Quinoa contains a wealth of healthful polyphenols and antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation and guard against chronic illness.

With only 34 grams of net carbs within every 1 cup (185 gram) portion of cooked quinoa, it has a low carbohydrate content.

The nine necessary amino acids that the body needs from food sources are all present in quinoa. Making it one of the few plant-based sources of complete protein.

Quinoa also contains significant amounts of magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, copper, and folate, among other important nutrients. 

Quinoa is an excellent substitute for overnight oats and may be added to salads to add protein, fiber, and texture.

8. Couscous


A refined grain called couscous is often cooked from durum wheat or semolina flour. Couscous is a common ingredient in several Moroccan and Middle Eastern recipes. One cup (157 grams) of cooked couscous has about 34.5 grams of net carbohydrates.

Additionally, selenium, a trace mineral, which is abundant in couscous. This mineral is important for maintaining immune, thyroid, and heart health as well as other bodily functions.

You can also increase your intake of a number of other critical micronutrients, such as manganese, pantothenic acid, copper, and thiamine, by including couscous in your diet. 

Undoubtedly, couscous has a somewhat dull flavor. However, you can add more flavor to this grain to make it much more palatable.

9. Spelt


Spelt is an old whole grain with a lot of health advantages. It is occasionally called dinkel wheat or hulled wheat.

According to studies, eating more whole grains, like spelt, may reduce your chance of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and several cancers.

Even though spelt mostly consists of carbohydrates, each serving does contain a sizable amount of fiber. For example, a 1 cup (194 gram)  of cooked spelt has 44 grams of net carbohydrates and around 7.5 grams of fiber.

Niacin, zinc, magnesium, and manganese are all abundant in spelt as well. Spelt bread is usually available on supermarket shelves.

Although, you need to verify that the components included are water and whole spelt flour by reading the nutrition labels.

10. Buckwheat


This grain is free of gluten and is quite high on the list of low-carb foods.  A ½ cup of boiled buckwheat contains 3 grams of protein, 15 grams of net carbs, 2 grams of fiber, and 17 grams of carbs. 

The only ingredients in the traditional Japanese dish known as soba noodles are water and buckwheat. They are a fantastic alternative to spaghetti. Try soba noodles if you are seeking a new way to enjoy grains.

Final Thoughts

There is no denying that all grains contain varying amounts of carbohydrates. However, when you are attempting to lower your carbohydrate intake, you need to find healthy grains that don’t have a high carbohydrate count. 

The best strategies to incorporate grains into a low carbohydrate diet are to select whole grains that have a minimum 3 grams of protein and fiber per serving.

Also, you need to concentrate on their net carb value when adding them onto your daily total. In fact, many grains have high fiber content and low net carbohydrate content.

Pick whole grain options wherever possible for the greatest outcomes. Also avoid grains that have been excessively refined or processed.

We hope you have found this article useful in discovering 10 low-carb grains you could be using in a low-carb diet. 

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