In recent times, the ketogenic diet or the keto diet has gained immense popularity, especially amongst fitness enthusiasts.
Following a keto diet has been found to enhance one’s overall health and athletic performance.
The idea of this diet is to significantly reduce the intake of carbs, aiming to induce a state of ketosis, where the human body is forced to utilize fats instead of carbs for energy.
People share different perspectives on this. A lot of them restrict the variety of food when following a keto diet. However, the truth is there are innumerable keto friendly food options available, including certain varieties of beans.
Though commonly perceived as a high-carb food option, some beans have a low carb content, making them an ideal addition to a keto diet.
Incorporating these beans into your diet can help you build muscle by delivering the required amount of proteins to your body, while still maintaining ketosis.
Read ahead to know what beans are low in carbs , their nutritional value, and how to incorporate them into your meals.
10 Low Carb Beans
Low carb beans are best recommended for fitness enthusiasts or those with conditions such as diabetes that require monitoring of carbohydrate intake.
While these beans contain fewer carbohydrates, they are still rich in nutrients such as protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
If you are are following a low carb diet, here are some beans you must incorporate into your diet:
Green beans, also known as string beans or snap beans, are a popular vegetable that are often served as a side dish or used in salads, stir-fries, and other recipes.
Their low carb content and a comparatively higher protein content make them a great choice for those following a keto diet.
The fiber present in green beans additionally keeps people full and satisfied.
In addition to their fiber content, green beans are also a good source of vitamin C, vitamin K, and folate, which are important for maintaining overall health.
Here’s their nutritional profile:
- Calories: 31
- Carbs: 7.9g
- Net Carbs: 4.7g
- Fiber: 3.2 g
- Protein: 1.9 g
- Fat: 0.12g
As is evident from the above table, green beans have the lowest carb content, making them a great option for those looking to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.
Green beans can be steamed, boiled, roasted, or sautéed, and are often seasoned with herbs and spices to add flavor.
They are nutritious and versatile and can be added to one’s keto diet in a variety of ways.
Edamame, a type of soybeans, is another kind of low carb, protein packed beans that you must consider. We typically boil or steam them before consuming.
If you are a vegetarian, looking for plant-based protein, you must incorporate edamame in your meals.
It is one of the lowest carb beans with a high amount of protein comparatively, making it an excellent choice for people looking forward to muscle gain.
Here is the nutritional profile of edamame:
- Calories: 122 g
- Carbs: 10.3g
- Net Carbs: 5.1g
- Fiber: 5.2g
- Protein: 11g
- Fat: 5.2g
Rich in fiber, they promote digestive health and regulate blood sugar levels.
In short, edamame is a nutritious and delicious addition to a healthy diet, whether you’re following a keto diet or not.
Besides being a great source of plant-based protein, these beans are rich in iron, fiber and folate.
These are one of the lowest carb beans. They are highly recommended for people who strive to lose weight or maintain a standard weight.
They contain the following nutrients per 100 g:
- Calories: 170g
- Carbs: 19.5g
- Net Carbs: 11.9g
- Fiber: 7.6g
- Protein: 7.02g
- Fat: 1.15g
Similar to the other varieties of beans, these too are versatile cand can be added to salads, soups, and desserts.
Mung beans do wonders when it comes to regulating blood sugar levels and ensuring good cardiovascular health. They are free from gluten, easily digestible and hence a great option for people with sensitive digestive issues.
While lentils are known to be high in carbohydrates, lentils are also an excellent source of protein, making them a great option for those following a keto diet.
Among the different types of lentils, black lentils are known to have the highest protein content, with around 24 grams of protein per 100 grams, while still being relatively low in carbohydrates.
- Calories: 116 kcal
- Carbs: 20g
- Net Carbs: 13g
- Fiber: 7g
- Protein: 9.02
- Fat: 0.38g
Lentils are also easy to cook and versatile.
Despite their carbohydrate content, lentils are a nutritious and delicious addition to a healthy keto diet, providing the necessary protein and other nutrients for optimal health and muscle growth.
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Black beans, commonly consumed in Caribbean cuisine, and Latin American are loaded with high-quality protein, making them an excellent food source for individuals looking to increase their protein intake.
- Calories: 132 kcal
- Carbs: 24g
- Net Carbs: 15.3g
- Fiber: 8.7g
- Protein: 8.69g
- Fat: 1.53
Black beans are also rich in antioxidants, fiber, and several key vitamins and minerals, including magnesium, iron, folate.
Consuming black beans has been linked to a wide range of health benefits, including improved heart health, better blood sugar control, and reduced risk of certain types of cancer.
The best part is these beans can be incorporated in your meals in various ways, giving you an excellent option to boost your nutrition.
These low-carb beans are a great option for those following a keto diet.
The fiber present in Pinto beans plays an important role in ensuring a good digestive health. Furthermore, the high fiber content gives you a feeling of fullness and maintains blood sugar levels.
They are a great addition to vegetarian and vegan diets, providing the necessary protein and other nutrients for optimal health.
- Calories: 115 kcal
- Carbs: 20.6g
- Net Carbs: 15.5g
- Fiber: 5.1g
- Protein: 7g
- Fat: 1g
One would find these beans mainly in Mexican, South American and Caribbean cuisines.
These beans are packed with iron, fiber, protein and folate.
One thing to keep in mind is that these beans have a comparatively higher concentration of carbs, which makes it essential for people to consume it in moderate amounts.
- Calories: 127g
- Carbs: 22.8g
- Net Carbs: 16g
- Fiber: 6.4g
- Protein: 8.7g
- Fat: 0.5g
These beans are wonderfully beneficial for the human body. They reduce the risk of heart disease and improve blood sugar control.
Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, have been a staple food in Middle Eastern cuisine for thousands of years, and they are now enjoyed in many parts of the world for their delicious nutty flavor and grainy texture.
In addition to their culinary versatility, chickpeas are also a nutrient-dense food, rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber, which may offer a range of health benefits.
Due to its high fiber content, it promotes a feeling of fullness and helps maintain good digestive health.
- Calories: 164 kcal
- Carbs: 27g
- Net Carbs: 19.4g
- Fiber: 7.6
- Protein: 8.9
- Fat: 2.59
The fiber and protein in chickpeas improve digestive health and it reduces the risk of certain diseases, like heart disease and diabetes.
Black Eyed Beans
Also known as cow peas, these beans are widely grown in different parts of the globe.
Though they are called black eyed peas, they are essentially beans. They have a light color with a distinct black or brown mark, referred to as the eye of the bean.
- Calories: 198 kcal
- Carbs: 35g
- Net Carbs: 24g
- Fiber: 11g
- Protein: 13g
Black-eyed peas are renowned for their rich, savory flavor and are often a staple in traditional Southern and Indian cuisine.
Not only are they a great source of protein and fiber, but black-eyed peas are also nutrient-dense, containing several essential micronutrients such as iron, copper, thiamine, and folate.
Incorporating black-eyed peas into your diet is an excellent way to boost your nutrient intake while enjoying their delicious taste.
Navy beans, also known as Boston Pea beans, belong to the legume family and are a type of white bean highly valued for their exceptional nutritional properties in North America and Europe.
These beans grow in cylindrical pods that typically contain around 4-7 seeds each.
Navy beans are small, plump, oval-shaped, slightly flattened, and covered by a thin white skin.
When boiled, they offer a buttery texture and a sweet, nutty flavor.
- Calories: 337 kcal
- Carbs: 60g
- Net Carbs: 36g
- Fiber: 24g
- Protein: 22.33g
- Fat: 1.53
Besides providing your body with dietary fiber, these beans help regulate one’s cholesterol levels by not allowing cholesterol binding bile acids to be reabsorbed in the colon.
As navy beans are gluten-free and do not contain any gluten-protein, they are highly recommended as a protein-rich alternative in the diets of individuals with celiac disease or gluten allergies.
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The Bottom Line
While low-carb and keto diets may discourage the consumption of legumes, incorporating keto-friendly beans into your meal plan can be done with some careful planning.
No matter what diet plan you follow, it’s important to consume a well balanced diet that provides your body with the essential vitamins and minerals for optimal functioning.
Adding keto-friendly beans to your diet can provide a valuable source of protein and fiber while also keeping carbohydrate intake in check.