Couscous: an alternative to rice

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Couscous is a cereal product originally made of durum wheat semolina. It originates from Africa, and is about as old as pasta. Indeed, it is kind of somewhere in between rice and pasta in its consistency. For us, it might resemble semolina the most. But now the key question is: Is it just as good as our beloved/hated rice?

An excellent source of carbohydrates

100 g of couscous (dry weight) contains 77 g of carbs and 13 g of protein. As a plant protein, its amino profile is not complete. However, it contains a remarkable amount of glutamic acid. Please note that glutamic acid is not to be confused with glutamine. The key benefits of glutamic acid are improved brain function, detoxification and alleviating prostate issues. Its proline content is also worth mentioning. Proline plays a role in collagen production. However, this is not the main reason why you should eat couscous. We just mentioned it as a fun fact.

Its vitamin content is not particularly high. Only its niacin content may be a little bit above average. Looking at minerals, however, its manganese content is definitely worth mentioning. Manganese helps the body fight free radicals, and also plays a role in alleviating osteoporosis.

The glycemic index of couscous

Good news: the glycemic index of couscous is about 65. This is somewhat below the GI of white rice, which makes it an ideal source of nutrients for us. Although its glycemic load is pretty high, it's still not worse than the GL of white rice. One pro for couscous!

How to prepare and use couscous

Good news again: if you are tired of cooking white rice, couscous is just for you. Because it is ready in about 5 minutes. All you need is some water and spices for taste. Put it in the water, cook for 5 minutes, and you're done. Another great benefit is that it's totally natural and virtually flavorless, so it's suitable both for sweet and salty dishes. Similarly to soy, it absorbs the flavors of the ingredients it is cooked or consumed with, like a gastro-chameleon. After all, couscous can be used in any recipe which requires semolina!

Versatile usage, fast preparation: what else do you need? One more pro.


If you are obsessed with finding an alternative to rice, because you are bored like hell with it, or you simply want to try something new, you should definitely try couscous. It can be prepared quickly, has good glycemic properties and can be used in multiple ways. Due to these benefits, couscous has earned its place in a bodybuilder's kitchen!

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