Lentils vs. Buckwheat vs. Quinoa vs. Brown Rice vs. Chickpeas


I have the best intentions when it comes to being healthy, but even with all the time I spend researching, reading, and speaking with experts, I’m confused sometimes as to which choices are the best. If I like lentils and quinoa equally, is one better than the other? Is brown rice really any better than white rice or should I try to avoid it? To find out about how some of the most oft-touted healthy ingredients compare, I turned to Lisa De Fazio, MS, RD, Registered Dietitian, and Nutritionist, and asked her to break it down for us.

Turns out beans aren’t the only things prone to giving you gas…the prices we pay to be healthy!

Pros: High in protein and beneficial, especially for vegetarians and vegans. They’re also high in fiber, which everyone can benefit from.
Cons: Gas producing, GI issues for some people, bloating from gas.

Pros: Buckwheat contains a rich supply of flavonoids, particularly rutin. Flavonoids are phytonutrients that protect against disease by extending the action of vitamin C. It is gluten free which makes it versatile and safe for celiac disease.
Cons: Taste and texture may not appeal to some people.

Pros: High in fiber, protein, and gluten free.
Cons: Can be gas producing.

Brown Rice
Pros: High in fiber and selenium.
Cons: Texture is not appealing to some people.

Pros: High in fiber, protein, iron and low glycemic index.
Cons: Gassy and some people don’t like the taste.

“As far as the best choice, it depends on your medical issues,” says De Fazio. “If you have a gluten allergy, choose buckwheat or quinoa. If you get gassy with excessive fiber, avoid the beans and quinoa, and choose brown rice. If you have diabetes, the beans will not spike your blood sugar. If excessive fiber causes you GI upset, gas, and bloating, avoid all of them!”

Image: Wikipedia


  1. July 3, 2015 / 1:24 am

    We’ve recently started eating more quinoa, it’s so delicious and it goes great with kale. Is that red quinoa in the picture?

  2. Nicole Setterfield
    August 21, 2021 / 3:43 am

    Thank you for a quick, concise and informative blog. So many other writers seem to ‘love the sound of their own voice’. 👍

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