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Ask Tufts Experts March 2015 Issue

Q. I read in your newsletter that quinoa is a seed. Are all grains seeds?

A. Cynthia Harriman, director of food and nutrition strategies at the Whole Grains Council <www.wholegrainscouncil.org>, explains, “All grains are seeds, but not all seeds are grains. So technically you’d say that quinoa, the seed from a plant that’s distantly related to beets and spinach, is nonetheless considered a whole grain because its nutritional profile is similar to that of other whole grains and it’s eaten in similar forms to whole grains.

“Three ‘whole grains’—quinoa, amaranth and buckwheat—are pseudo-grains,  not technically in the grass family Poaceae with the other grains, but counted as whole grains for nutrition and regulatory labeling purposes.”

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