We have discussed the ketogenic diet in detail and know the rule of thumb is going for high-fat, moderate protein, and low-carbohydrate foods. If a food has a high carbohydrate content, it’s got to go. Many focus on the healthy fat and low carbohydrate aspect of the keto diet but allow me to shift our focus to the protein side, while still staying in our usual field of view.
Call me Mr. Bean for the day, cause that’s our topic of discussion. First, to answer your question, is beans carbs? No, it is not. This is because although high in carb counts, most of the starches in it are indigestible. Since it is a good source of protein, it is classified as a protein rather than a carbohydrate.
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s see whether you can have beans on a keto diet. There are many types of beans with different amounts of carbs. Some beans have a high fiber content and relatively low carb content, meaning you can add them to your less restrictive keto diet. Dietary fiber can help with blood sugar regulation since it is an indigestible carbohydrate and slows down digestion and absorption of glucose into the bloodstream.
On the other hand, other types of beans are high in carbohydrate count and contain small amounts of dietary fiber. These should be avoided on strict keto diets to stay in ketosis.
Today we will focus on one type of bean, pinto beans. Are pinto beans keto-friendly? This guide will contain the nutritional contents of this bean variety, including its carb count, protein content, and fat content. Furthermore, I will tell you whether other popular varieties of beans are okay on the low-carb or keto diet. And because I am feeling generous, you will get to learn about bean substitutes for your high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet.
Are Pinto Beans Keto-Friendly?
There are so many health benefits of eating beans but can they fit into the low-carb diet lifestyle? To know whether pinto beans are low-carb beans or not, we need to discuss their nutrition facts.
Pinto Beans Nutrition Facts
According to the USDA, a 100 g serving of pinto beans (dry) contains:
- Energy: 347 calories
- Protein: 23.7 grams of protein
- Total fat: 1.24 grams fat
- Total carbs: 62.55 grams of carbs
- Total dietary fiber: 4.1 grams of fiber
- Net carbs: 58.45 grams of carbs
- Starch: 38.5 grams of starch
From these details, although pinto beans are a good source of fiber, they are too high in net carbs. Starches are a type of digestible and absorbable carbohydrate. So, are pinto beans keto-friendly? No, they are not!
Besides this type of bean being among the high-carb beans, it has a low-fat content. This means it fails both criteria for the high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet. When it comes to protein, 23.7 grams protein qualifies for protein-rich food.
What Beans Are Keto-Friendly?
Most beans are too high in carbs for a low-carb diet. However, some beans can be considered keto foods on less restrictive diets. This can only work if they are incorporated into the diet in moderation of course!
The beans keto dieters can eat while following the strict diet guidelines are:
I know it can be weird to refer to green beans as beans because you are used to preparing them as vegetables. The good news is, on a day you want to take a break from animal proteins while still eating a healthy diet, they are a good option!
Taking a look at its carb content, green beans contain 6.41 grams of total carbs, 3.4 g of fiber, and 3 g of net carbs. They also contain only 34 cals in 100 g. The protein content is lower than most beans, with only 1.97 grams protein. Its fat content translates to 0.28 g of fat.
When trying to lower your calorie intake to lose weight from the recommended 2,000-calorie diet, try adding green beans to your meals. You will get a balanced, bean-rich diet that allows you to stay within your carb limit for weight loss, without kicking you out of ketosis.
Green beans have a glycemic index of about 30 and a glycemic load of around 2. They are not only perfect for a calorie-controlled diet, but also for the strict keto diet guidelines.
Public announcement: I said black soybeans, not black beans! There are key differences between the two, especially the carb counts.
One cup of black soybeans contains only 8 grams of carbs, 7 g of fiber, and 1 g of net carbs in half a cup serving. Black soybeans are richer in proteins and healthy fats and would be great on a high-protein ketogenic diet.
Always go for organic black soybeans. Consider your portion size of these beans on keto to keep your carb intake low. Prepare them as a side so you don’t eat too many of them. Use healthy oils like olive oil to make meals with these beans to increase fat intake
Are Black Beans Keto-friendly?
Raw black beans contain 4.2 g of dietary fiber and 36.6 g of starch in 100 g. They contain 20.39 g of total carbs, 7.5 g of fiber and 12.89 g of net carbs.
The same serving of cooked black beans packs 23.7 g of total carbs, 8.7 g of fiber, and 15 g of carbs. You will also get 8.86 grams protein and 0.54 g of fat.
For someone trying to keep their carb intake low and fat intake high, this type of bean is not a wise choice. Consuming black beans will provide your body with glucose which has an impact on your blood sugar levels.
Avoid these high-carb beans on keto. To satisfy your legume craving once in a while, go for the low-carb beans mentioned above.
Are Chickpeas Keto-friendly?
Chickpeas or garbanzo beans are not keto-friendly beans. In 100 g of chickpeas, you will get 63 g of total carbs, 12.2 g of fiber, and 50.8 g of net carbs.
These types of beans will not work even if they were incorporated into your keto diet in moderation. In addition, chickpeas have a glycemic index of 28 and a glycemic load of 6.1.
They contain 20.5 grams protein and 6.04 g of fat. These are among the worst type of bean options for ketoers trying to stay in ketosis.
Are Kidney Beans Keto-friendly?
Kidney beans are also not in the running for keto-friendly beans. Even if added to the diet in moderation, you will still get too many carbs from these beans.
A 100 g serving of kidney beans provides you with 22.8 g of carbs, 7.4 g of fiber, and 15.4 g of net carbs. Red kidney beans have a glycemic index of 44 and a glycemic load of 11. Your keto-friendly recipes should not include these beans.
Are Baked Beans Keto-friendly?
They may serve baked beans at every restaurant for breakfast, but they are a no-go zone option for ketoers. Homemade baked beans provide you with 21.6 g of carbs, 5.5 g of fiber, and 16.1 g of net carbs. On a strict keto diet, your carb limit is 50 g of total carbs and a maximum of 25 g of net carbs per day. Adding baked beans will eat up 75% of your carb limit, leaving you with very few carbs to be provided for by other meals.
The canned type in your grocery store doesn’t count as low-carb beans as well. These contain more sugar than homemade ones. Added sugar counts as simple sugars that raise your sugars quickly. Avoid canned bean products as well.
Keto Bean Substitute
Most beans are high-carb beans. The remaining low-carb beans don’t have to be your only source of plant proteins. You can include the following foods as a substitute for beans:
- Boiled Peanuts
An animal-based protein alternative for beans is ground beef. The next time you are following a bean recipe, you can use any of the above as an alternative.
What Beans to Avoid on Keto
Kidney beans, chickpeas, black beans, and pinto beans should be avoided on a low-carb diet. Legumes are generally not recommended when eating keto. The only beans to eat are black soybeans and green beans, and you should pay attention to their portions.
Why are Legumes Not Allowed in Keto?
Legumes are considered as proteins but they have a high carb content. As earlier mentioned most carbs in beans are indigestible hence why they are classified as proteins and not carbs. The same applies to legumes.
You may argue that legumes are high in fiber, which does not contribute to net carbs. However, the number of total carbs in legumes is too high, even if you were to subtract fiber, you would still be getting too many carbs.
Let’s take an example of lentils. In 100 g of lentils, you will get 63.4 g of total carbs and 10.7 g of fiber. Do the math! Their net carbs is 52.7 g, which is higher than the carb limit on keto of 50 g.
Beans may be an excellent source of protein but most of them are not allowed on keto. Are pinto beans keto-friendly? No, they are not. The only beans you can have on keto are green peas and organic black soybeans, and only you have them in moderation. If you don’t want to exceed your carb limit on a strict keto diet, there are keto bean substitutes you can use in bean recipes.
Which is your favorite bean recipe? Try substituting beans with either of the alternatives provided above and share your experience with us below!