How Many Carbs in Barley: The Lowdown on Grain’s Nutritional Value

Barley is a versatile cereal grain that has been consumed in various cultures around the world for centuries. It may not be as popular as other grains like wheat, rice, or corn, but it is an excellent source of nutrients and fiber. If you’re watching your carb intake, you may be wondering how many carbs are in barley. In this article, we’ll discuss the nutritional value of barley, how many carbs are in barley, and the health benefits of this ancient grain.

What is barley?

Barley is a grain that belongs to the grass family. It is a close relative of wheat and has been cultivated for thousands of years. Barley is used in various forms, including flour, flakes, and pearls. It is commonly used to make soups, stews, bread, and beer.

Nutritional value of barley

Barley is a nutritious grain that is rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Here’s a breakdown of the nutritional value of one cup (157g) of cooked barley:

Nutrient Amount
Calories 193
Carbohydrates 44.3g
Fiber 6g
Protein 3.5g
Fat 0.8g
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) 0.3mg
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 3mg
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) 0.4mg
Folate 23mcg
Iron 1.5mg
Magnesium 79mg
Phosphorus 130mg
Potassium 193mg
Zinc 1.2mg

How many carbs are in barley?

Barley is a high-carb grain, but it is also rich in fiber and other essential nutrients. One cup of cooked barley contains about 44.3g of carbohydrates, including 6g of fiber, which means that the net carb count is only 38.3g. If you’re following a low-carb diet, you can still include barley in your meals, but you’ll need to watch your portion sizes.

Glycemic index of barley

The glycemic index (GI) is a measure of how quickly carbohydrates in food raise blood sugar levels. Foods with a high GI can cause a rapid spike and crash in blood sugar levels, while foods with a low GI provide a more gradual release of energy. The GI of barley varies depending on how it is cooked and processed. The GI of barley ranges from 22 (for pearl barley) to 71 (for barley flakes). Generally, whole grain barley has a lower GI than processed varieties.

Health benefits of barley

High in fiber

Barley is an excellent source of fiber, which is essential for digestive health. The fiber in barley can help promote regular bowel movements, prevent constipation, and reduce the risk of colon cancer. Eating foods that are high in fiber can also help lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.

May help manage diabetes

Barley has a low GI and is a good source of complex carbohydrates, which means that it can help regulate blood sugar levels. Eating barley can also help reduce insulin resistance, which is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes.

Supports heart health

Barley contains beta-glucan, a type of soluble fiber that has been shown to lower cholesterol levels. Eating foods that are high in beta-glucan can also help reduce blood pressure and inflammation, which are risk factors for heart disease.

How to cook and use barley

There are several ways to cook and use barley. Here are a few ideas:

  • Boil barley in water or broth and use it as a base for soups and stews.
  • Use barley flour in baking recipes to add fiber and nutrients.
  • Add cooked barley to salads for a boost of fiber and protein.
  • Use barley flakes as a hot cereal or as a substitute for oats in baking recipes.


Barley is a healthy and nutritious grain that can be a great addition to your diet. Despite being high in carbs, it is also high in fiber, which means it can help regulate blood sugar levels and support digestive health. When eating barley, choose whole grain varieties for the most health benefits.

Common Questions About Barley

  • Q: Is barley gluten-free?
  • A: No, barley contains gluten and is not suitable for people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.
  • Q: How many calories are in barley?
  • A: One cup (157g) of cooked barley contains about 193 calories.
  • Q: Can I eat barley on a low-carb diet?
  • A: Yes, you can still include barley in your meals, but you’ll need to watch your portion sizes. One cup of cooked barley contains about 44.3g of carbohydrates, including 6g of fiber.
  • Q: How do I cook barley?
  • A: To cook barley, rinse it with cold water and add it to a pot with water or broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 40-50 minutes or until tender.





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