Bulgur vs Couscous: Which Is Healthier?

This article explains the key similarities and differences between bulgur and couscous, foods from the grains food group. Read on to learn more about the bulgur vs couscous comparison.
Dennis Gillett, Health & Fitness Writer

Written by Dennis Gillett, Health & Fitness Writer. Updated on February 3, 2023.

Bulgur and couscous belong to the grains food group, one of the staple food groups for people on a plant-based diet.

Grains and grain products are an affordable source of carbohydrates, as well as essential vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins (such as thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin), iron, and zinc, minerals that are usually harder to get on a plant-based diet.

They also provide a small amount of protein and healthy fats.

However, it is important to note that whole grains are generally a better source of these nutrients than refined grains.

This article will thoroughly compare bulgur and couscous and help you learn more about their similarities and differences.


Bulgur (Triticum aestivum) is a type of whole wheat that is made by steaming, drying, and then coarsely grinding wheat berries.

It is a good source of carbohydrates, dietary fibers, and small amounts of vitamins and minerals like iron, zinc, and B-vitamins. It is also rich in antioxidants and protein, making it a valuable food for vegetarians and vegans.

Bulgur is a staple ingredient in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines, often used in dishes such as tabbouleh and kibbeh. It can also be used in soups, stews, and as a stuffing. It is also gluten-free and easy to digest, making it a great option for people with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease.

Bulgur is considered a functional food, as it has been shown to positively impact health when consumed regularly as part of a balanced diet. It is also a sustainable crop, as it can be grown in poor soil conditions and is resistant to pests and diseases.

Bulgur is an excellent source of Vitamin B3 (Niacin).

It also contains a good amount of Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid), and Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine) and some Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), and Vitamin B9 (Folate).


Couscous (Couscous) is a type of pasta made from small, round granules of semolina, which is the coarsely ground endosperm of durum wheat.

It is a good source of carbohydrates and small amounts of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals like iron and B vitamins, depending on the ingredients used in the dish’s preparation.

Couscous is a staple food in North Africa and the Middle East and is traditionally served as a side dish or as a base for stews and salads. It is also gluten-free and easy to digest.

Couscous can be enjoyed in various ways. It can be cooked in different sauces, with herbs and spices, and can also be used in salads and soups. It can also be paired with vegetables and lean protein sources such as legumes and in moderate portions.

Couscous is an excellent source of Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid).

It also contains a good amount of Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), and Vitamin B3 (Niacin) and some Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine), and Vitamin B9 (Folate).

Bulgur vs Couscous Nutrition

Now that we’ve described the origin, taste, and usage of these foods, we can move to the most interesting part – comparing bulgur vs couscous.

This comparison will start by comparing the caloric value of bulgur and couscous and their macronutrients and then go more in-depth by analyzing their vitamin and mineral content.

Energy342 kcal376 kcal
Carbs75.9 g77.4 g
Sugar0.41 g0 g
Fiber12.5 g5 g
Protein12.3 g12.8 g
Fat1.33 g0.64 g
Saturated Fat0.232 g0.117 g

Bulgur vs Couscous Calories

Most calories in grains come from carbs.

Comparing bulgur vs couscous for weight loss, bulgur is slightly lower in calories, with 342 calories per 100 grams, compared to 376 calories per 100 grams of couscous.

However, both bulgur and couscous can and should be a part of a healthy diet, and neither one shouldn’t be avoided if you’re looking to lose weight.

Bulgur vs Couscous Protein

Grains and most grain products, including bulgur and couscous, are important sources of plant-based protein.

However, it should be noted that most grains, with the exception of quinoa and buckwheat, for example, are low in lysine and methionine.

That said, you can combine grains with legumes to get a complete protein.

Couscous offers around 4% more protein than bulgur.

Couscous has 12.8 grams of protein per 100 grams, while bulgur has 12.3 grams of protein per 100 grams.

Bulgur vs Couscous Carbs

Counting carbs can be important for some people for different reasons, including blood sugar control, weight management, or athletic performance.

It’s also important for people on a keto diet, so let’s compare the carbs content in bulgur and couscous.

The total amount of carbohydrates is around 2% higher in couscous than in bulgur. It has 77.4 grams per 100 grams, compared to 75.9 grams in bulgur.

There’s less sugar in couscous than in bulgur, 100% precisely.

That said, 100 grams of couscous contains 0 grams of sugar, while the same amount of bulgur contains 0.4 grams.

Lastly, let’s take a look at the dietary fiber in bulgur and couscous.

Dietary fiber keeps the digestive system healthy and helps with weight management by promoting a sense of fullness.

With 12.5 grams of fiber per 100 grams, bulgur is a better source of fiber than couscous which bulgur offers 5 grams per 100 gram portion.

Bulgur vs Couscous Fats

Like most other grains, bulgur and couscous are low in fat.

Fats in bulgur and couscous are mostly healthy unsaturated fats. They are naturally cholesterol-free and trans-fat-free.

Total fat in bulgur and couscous:

  • Bulgur: 1.3 grams per 100 grams
  • Couscous: 0.6 per 100 grams

Speaking of saturated fats, couscous is 50% lower in saturated fats.

Couscous and bulgur contain 0.1 grams and 0.2 grams of saturated fat per 100 grams, respectively.

Bulgur vs Couscous Vitamins Content

This section will discuss the vitamin content of bulgur and couscous.

Vitamins are micronutrients, meaning we need only a small amount. However, they are very important for many processes in our bodies.

Bulgur has a higher amount of vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid).

However, couscous has a higher amount of vitamin A, vitamin B1 (Thiamine), vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), vitamin B3 (Niacin), vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine), vitamin B9 (Folate), vitamin E, and vitamin K.

Bulgur and couscous contain the same amount of vitamin C, vitamin D, and vitamin B12 (Cobalamin).

The following table shows the exact amount of vitamins bulgur and couscous contain side by side, so you can easily compare them.

Vitamin A9 IU0
Vitamin C00
Vitamin D00
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)0.232 mg0.163 mg
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)0.115 mg0.078 mg
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)5.11 mg3.49 mg
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)1.04 mg1.24 mg
Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine)0.342 mg0.11 mg
Vitamin B9 (Folate)27 µg20 µg
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)00
Vitamin E0.06 mg0
Vitamin K1.9 µg0

Bulgur vs Couscous Minerals Content

Minerals are important for our body to function properly. We need only a small amount of minerals, so they are called micronutrients.

Some minerals, like iron, calcium, zinc, or iodine, are relatively hard to get on a plant-based diet, so it’s important to choose your foods thoughtfully. This part of the bulgur and couscous comparison focuses on their mineral content.

Bulgur is a better source of selenium than couscous.

On the other hand, couscous is a higher amount of calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and zinc.

Bulgur and couscous contain the same amount of fluoride.

Check out the table below to learn how bulgur and couscous compare when it comes to mineral content.

Calcium35 mg24 mg
Copper0.335 mg0.247 mg
Iron2.46 mg1.08 mg
Magnesium164 mg44 mg
Manganese3.05 mg0.78 mg
Phosphorus300 mg170 mg
Potassium410 mg166 mg
Selenium2.3 µg2.8 µg
Sodium17 mg10 mg
Zinc1.93 mg0.83 mg

The Final Word

This article highlighted the similarities and differences between bulgur and couscous.

Grains, also known as cereal grains, are an important source of nutrition for many people around the world. They are a rich source of carbohydrates, which provide energy for the body.

Whole grains contain important vitamins and minerals, such as B vitamins and iron. Whole grains, in particular, are high in dietary fiber and can help with digestion and weight management.

They may also have other health benefits, such as reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer.

Grains are also a staple food and an important source of food security in many parts of the world.


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