If you’ve been on the Keto diet for a while or you just found out about it, you might be wondering if you can eat beans. Well, I was wondering the same thing as well and after doing some extensive research I decided to completely sum it up and to help out a fellow ‘Keto-er’.
So, can you eat beans on a Keto diet? First off, whatever food we are talking about, you never want to go over your daily carb limit and you should use that as a guideline on what you can eat and how much. For losing weight it’s generally accepted that you limit your ‘net’(more on what ‘net’ carbs are later) carb-intake to 20 grams daily. Bean-wise, the three relatively low-carb beans you can consume in moderation on Keto are:
- Black Soybeans – 1 gram net carbs per 100 grams serving
- Green Beans – 3.6 grams net carbs per 100 grams serving
And even though Chickpeas have a bit more carbs than the rest, it has properties that improve insulin resistance and actually help lower your blood sugar levels.
But what about the rest of the beans you usually eat? How can you eat them while on a Keto diet? Stay tuned and I will “spill the beans” on this topic (haha – sorry that’s terrible I know)
Which are the best and worst beans to eat on Keto?
So, which beans are Keto approved and which aren’t? Which of them should you not consume, which are the best, and which are in between? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
But before we dive in all the different types of beans, for people that don’t know, one thing to note is that to get the ‘net’ amount of carbs from a product you need to always take the fiber content into account.
Why is that you may ask? Well, humans don’t have the enzymes that could digest most fiber and derive calories from it. As a result, fiber does not really affect blood sugar levels and ketosis.
With this in mind, most usually on product labels fiber is included in the total carbohydrate content. So what we need to do to calculate the ‘net’ carbs is subtract the fiber from the total carbohydrates content.
For an example: if per 100g, a product has 10 grams of carbs from which 8 are fiber, we take the 8 grams of fiber out of the 10 carbs and we get a total of only 2 ‘net’ carbs.
Now with that out of the way, although there are a ton of different types of beans, we’ll cover the most common ones.
First, let’s quickly get familiar with the worst beans you can possibly eat on a Keto diet:
- Black beans – With 63 grams of carbs and 16 grams of fiber, black beans have 47 grams of net carbs per 100g serving. While having a pretty good nutrient profile, black beans are a little over the top if you are looking for a low-carb bean to eat on Keto.
- Pinto beans – Exactly same as the black beans, with 63 carbs, 16 grams of fiber and a total of 47 net carbs per 100g serving, Pinto beans are also not a very Keto friendly food.
- Kidney beans – Kidney beans have 60 grams of carbs and 25 grams of fiber totaling 35 grams of net carbs per 100g serving. Slightly better than black and pinto beans, but again not that great.
- Fava beans – Fava beans stand at 18 grams of carbs, 8 grams of fiber and 10 grams of total net carbs per 100g serving, making them a lot better options than the beans mentioned above, but still they can’t compete with the best Keto beans we are about to discuss next.
- Chickpeas – Also known as garbanzo beans, chickpeas have 61 grams of carbs and 17 grams of dietary fiber per 100g serving which results in 44 net carbs, which does seem too much, but chickpeas actually have properties that help insulin resistance and your blood sugars. And even though they have a fair amount of carbohydrates, all of them are complex slow-releasing carbs and because of the properties mentioned earlier, they won’t affect your blood sugars too much at all. According to some studies chickpeas are even safe for diabetics, so that says something.
And now, let’s take a closer look at the Keto-approved part of the beans world:
- Black Soybeans – While technically they are not real beans, Black soybeans are one of the more Keto-friendly substitutes for beans out there today. With 8 grams of carbs and 7 grams of fiber, black soybeans have only 1 gram net carbs per 100g serving. With this net carb count, you can eat these soybeans without much concern that you might possibly go over your daily carb limit. And also they don’t really taste as the yellow soybeans do, but rather more like regular black beans which is why they deserve a spot on this list.
- Green beans – With 7 grams of carbs and 3.4 grams of fiber, totaling with only 3.6 grams of net carbs per 100g serving, green beans, next to the black soybeans are the best type of beans you can consume if you are on Keto. Other than having an incredible nutrient content and low-carb profile, green beans nutrition also contains high levels of several proteins, carotenoids and other antioxidants that make it stand out from the other types of beans.
How many beans can I eat in a day?
As discussed earlier, a general rule of thumb is, no matter what you are eating, never go over your daily net carb limit.
If you are on a strict diet and you need to lose weight, you most likely can’t afford to use up your allowed carbs on something like beans. You should consume about 7-10 cups of vegetables per day for proper body cleansing and a supply of nutrients for your body. And often times, that amount of vegetables pretty much uses up your 20 grams of carbs limit.
If you, however, fall into the category where you don’t really care about losing any more weight, you can probably go up to 50 grams of carbs per day and even more for some people, depending on how much calories you burn in a day through a workout and other physical activities.
What about bean sprouts? Are they allowed on Keto?
Yes, you can eat them, but in moderation as well. The process of taking the seed and grinding it into flour and making bread and similar stuff like that leads to destroying most of its nutritional benefits. But when you actually sprout the seed and consume it, you get most of its nutrition.
Just to paint a picture, sprouted beans and seeds compared to their processed counterparts have 100 times more enzymes, 285% more vitamin A, 208% more vitamin B-1, 256% more vitamin B-3, and 515% more vitamin B-2!
Sprouting also gets rid of phytic acid, which preserves minerals like Potassium and Calcium.
And last but not least, they have about 9-12% more Protein.
Can I eat Hummus on Keto?
You can, but be careful. Even though it is made of chickpeas, the carbs might kick you out of ketosis. Also, other than the chickpeas every other standard ingredient in hummus (Olive Oil, Tahini, Lemon, Garlic, Sea Salt) is healthy and Keto-friendly.
Just make sure not to buy some commercial hummus with added sugars and other unnecessary ingredients. The best option if you have the time, is to make it yourself!
Why am I and how can I stop craving carbs?
If you are looking into eating food like beans while on Keto, it is very likely that you are craving other carbs as well.
Carb cravings mostly occur at the beginning of everyone’s Keto journey. Which is normal because, all those years before starting Keto, your body was used to run on glucose, so it will take some time until you can function properly again(and even better as time goes on!) as you switch from burning glucose to fat. Once that happens, which varies for different people, your carb cravings should completely go away as well.
One last thought to keep in mind is, no matter how low-carb a food is, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s healthy.