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Can I Eat Beans on Keto?

Wondering whether beans are keto-friendly? The quick answer is no, but let’s look into why. Plus, we have a couple keto-friendly bean options you can try if you don’t want to give up beans.

Beans fall into the legume family, along with lentils and peas, and feature a number of great benefits — they’re inexpensive; high in protein, fiber, and vitamins, including thiamine, magnesium, and iron; and they can add some heartiness to your favorite meal! After all, what’s grandma’s homemade chili without a dash of love and a can of dark red kidney beans?

All of that is great, but it doesn’t really matter if you can’t eat beans while on the ketogenic diet. So, if you’re interested in whether beans have a high carbohydrate count or fit into the keto lifestyle, you’ve come to the right place. To get to the bottom of this, let’s take a look at the basic guidelines for keto and how your favorite beans fit into the lifestyle.

Keto at a Glance

Whether you’re new to the ketogenic way of eating or a seasoned vet, it’s helpful to go over how keto works in order to understand whether or not you can include beans in your diet.

In short, the ketogenic diet is a low-carbohydrate, high-fat way of eating. By ridding your body of the carbohydrates you would normally consume for energy, your body turns to burning fat instead. When this occurs, your liver produces ketones which your body then uses for fuel in a process called ketosis.

In order to achieve this state of ketosis, you have to focus on the number of macronutrients — protein, carbohydrates, and fat — you are consuming. For the standard ketogenic diet, 75% of your daily calories should come from fat, 20% should come from protein, and 5% should come from carbohydrates. There may be some wiggle room depending on your gender, weight, nutritional goals, and activity level, but for a person consuming a 2,000-calorie diet, that would mean consuming 167g of fat, 100g of protein, and 25g of net carbohydrates (net carbs = total carbs – fiber – sugar alcohols). In order to keep your body in a state of ketosis, you must keep your carb count as low as possible.

Are beans keto-friendly?

If you’re new to the ketogenic diet and doing the math, you’ll soon realize that 25g of carbohydrates (give or take) is not a lot. If you’re living a ketogenic lifestyle, then you already know how particular you need to be about the foods you eat to ensure you don’t overdo it on the carbs. Beans are healthy and provide a number of health benefits, but where do they stand with regard to carbs?

It depends.

Generally speaking, most beans are high in carbohydrates, so unless eaten in extreme moderation, you’re going to find it tough to stay within your daily carbohydrate limit. Here’s the carb count for one cup of the beans that are most commonly used in recipes.

The verdict? Beans will give you a decent amount of protein, a lot of carbs, and practically no fat. They’re great for other diets, but not for keto. We say avoid them. Furthermore, beans contain carbohydrates that are difficult for our body to process, so many people have trouble digesting them. This can result in gas, constipation, bloating, and stomach cramps. No fun.

Want to be sure about keto-friendly foods? Download our Master Keto Food List with 100+ keto food mapped out for you!

Now, if you really want any of the beans listed above, you could limit yourself to half of a cup or less. However, doing that will still put you close to half of your daily allowance of carbs so keep that in mind.

Are there keto-friendly bean options?

Seeing as beans aren’t a keto-friendly food, what choices are you left with, if any? Luckily, we have a couple options worth considering.

Edamame

If you’re not familiar with edamame, give it a try. They’re a part of the soybean family and are extremely popular in Asian cuisine. If you go to an Asian restaurant, you’ll likely find them offered as an appetizer or side dish. They’re delicious steamed, with a sprinkling of sea salt. Unlike most of their bean cousins, they’re low in carbs and high in fat. You could eat a half cup — or even a full cup — and stay within your daily carb limit.

  • Edamame: 8g net carbs
    • 16g carbs, 8g fiber, 17g protein, 8g fat, 189 calories

Eden Black Soybeans

Eden black soybeans are an even safer option than edamame. These are a staple in many low-carbohydrate diets because they only contain 2g of net carbs in a 1-cup serving. Incorporate these beans into any of your keto-friendly recipes — soups, salads, hummus, and more.

  • Eden Black Soybeans: 2g net carbs
    • 16g carbs, 14g fiber, 22g protein, 12g fat, 240 calories

The Keto Verdict on Beans

Don’t get us wrong — beans are great. They are a good source of nutrition and will fill you up and keep you satiated. However, when it comes to consuming beans on a ketogenic or low-carb diet, you’ll want to steer clear as best you can. If you over-consume carbs, you’ll kick yourself out of ketosis. With high carb counts, even eating beans in a small amount is probably a fire you don’t want to play with. That being said, if you’ve got a hankering to add beans to your next meal, edamame and Eden black soybeans are solid, low-carb alternatives that will help you stay in ketosis.

In need of a new recipe to spice up your diet? We’ve got you covered. Head over to our recipe section for keto dishes that will help you meet your health and nutrition goals.

Is beans allowed on a low carb or keto diet? Beans and other legumes are usually very beneficial and nutrient dense but there are so many different types of beans, that you might wonder which, if any, is allowed on a low carb diet.

As a kid growing up, I remember my mum loved to serve beans and fried plantain, but being the sweet-toothed child that I was, I would eat the delicious fried plantain and reject the beans, no matter how delectable she made it. And it wasn’t just me; I know all my sisters did this too. My mum would try to coax me to eat up and preach about how healthy beans was and that it was loaded with proteins to help us grow strong, but that didn’t work. Over the years, I’ve had a love-hate relationship with beans but I always believed it was made up of mostly proteins and was very healthy so I just had to eat it. It took me a while to understand that beans had almost three times the amount of carbs as protein.

To dig deeper into this, there are actually many different types of beans. In Nigeria and in most West African countries, the primary legume we consume as beans is called the black eyed pea, also known as black eyed bean (despite the name, it is actually beans, and not a type of pea). The black eyed pea is very nutritionally dense and is a major source of carbs, protein, fiber, folate, magnesium, calcium, potassium, zinc, iron and many other important vitamins and minerals. It is one healthy dish!

Black eyed peas are native to West Africa but are also grown in warm regions around the world. They are very versatile and you can prepare them in many different ways – steamed, bean porridge, moin moin (steamed bean pudding) or akara (fried bean cake). One cup of boiled cowpeas has 35g of carbs, 13g of protein and 11g of fiber.

In West Africa, we primarily eat two slight variations of the black-eyed peas: honey beans (also known as African brown beans) and cowpeas (sometimes used interchangeably with black-eyed peas). While honey beans have a distinct sweet flavor, cowpeas have more of an earthy flavor.

There are also several different popular varieties of beans eaten around the world. Here are some of them listed with the carbs, protein and fiber content found in one cup, boiled:

Black beans – Carbs 41g, Protein 15g, Fiber 15g. . This is used in a lot of Latin American dishes.

Soybeans (or Soya beans) – Carbs 17g, Protein 29g, Fiber 10g. Soybeans are native to East Asia but basically found everywhere.

Adzuki beans (or red mung bean) – Carbs 57g, Protein 17g, Fiber 17g. This is also native to East Asia. They are smaller than other beans and are commonly used in desserts due to their sweetness. Hence, the very high carb count.

Kidney beans – Carbs 40g, Protein 15g, Fiber 11g. This beans is usually red in color and shaped like a kidney (though it could also be white or light speckled).

Garbanzo beans (Chickpeas) – Carbs 45g, Protein 15g, Fiber 12g. Chickpeas are featured quite heavily in Middle Eastern dishes.

Navy beans (Haricot beans or White pea bean) – Carbs 47g, Protein 15g, Fiber 19g. Fun fact: the name “Navy bean” was actually coined by the US Navy because it has always been a staple to sailors since the mid-1800s.

Pinto beans – Carbs 45g, Protein 15g, Fiber 15g. This is a very popular bean variety in the U.S and is commonly used in the Mexican burrito, or eaten whole or mashed.

Lima beans – Carbs 39g, Protein 15g, Fiber 13g. This is commonly found in South America.

A few things most beans have in common are:

  • They are very filling due to their high fiber content, and are very good for digestive health.
  • They are very high in vitamins and minerals and help with lowering blood pressure, improving heart health, among many other health benefits.
  • They can be adopted in a wide variety of sweet and savory dishes.
  • They are quite high in carbs though the glycemic index of the carbs is very low. This means that it will take a while for it to be digested and metabolized in the body, so you don’t get the insulin spikes associated with afternoon crashes.

Overall beans is very healthy and will work well with a regular diet. However, due to the high amount of carbs in beans, it will not work for a low carb diet. The nutritional values given were for only one cup but most people will eat at least two cups and that will put you way over even for a moderately low carb diet. You might ask then, why can’t I include it in my diet since it has so many wonderful benefits? Well, it depends on what your end goal is.

If you are on a low carb diet and you want all the benefits which include weight loss, hunger control, reducing inflammation and better insulin control, the goal is to train your body to burn fat for energy and not carbs. Consuming carb dense foods such as beans, will make your body switch to burning carbs instead and that will undo all the benefits of a low carb diet. If you must absolutely have beans and cannot give it up and are on a moderately low carb diet, you will have to stick to just one cup of beans only and that will be your only carb allowance for that day. Remember that even most veggies have some carbs but they are very low. After all, this is a low carb diet and not a no-carb diet. It will be quite difficult to eat all your carbs for the day in only one meal. Again, this exception is only for a moderate low carb diet. For a strict keto diet, you cannot have any beans because even with the lowest net carbs per serving, you will already be over the carb limit.

Stay tuned for my low carb moin moin (baked bean pudding) and akara (fried bean cake) recipes coming soon. In the meantime, be sure to check out my Cauliflower Fried Rice and Shirataki Noodle Stir fry recipes!

Other Helpful Resources:

Carbs in Beans

14 Foods to avoid on low carb

10 healthy foods you can’t eat on the keto diet

10 Healthy Foods You Can’t Eat on the Keto Diet

You may have already sworn off white rice, but add brown rice to that list, too. It’s a whole grain, which disqualifies it from a keto eating plan. Add a ½-cup serving to a roasted veggie bowl and you’re looking at 24 g of net carbs.

RELATED: 8 of the Best Beverages to Drink on the Keto Diet

5 Ways to Make Your Keto Diet Meal Plan Healthier and More Balanced

“When properly planned, the keto diet can be a healthful diet,” says Elia. Five tips for making it work:

1. Don’t get stuck in a rut. “In any diet, variety is the spice of life,” says Elia. That means varying your foods every day, rather than sticking with the same things every day. That can be tough when on a more restricted diet, but looking at keto cookbooks and blogs can help you branch out.

2. Make carbs count. Keto may be a very low-carbohydrate diet, but that doesn’t mean the cardinal rule is “try to avoid carbs.” It’s about maximizing the carbs you do eat. “In every food choice, ask yourself this question: ‘What is the value of the food I’m about to consume?’” says Elia. Make sure carbs are nutrient-dense. That means nuts, seeds, and avocado — not a small cookie.

3. Focus on quality. In a diet where you’ll be eating a lot of fat and some meat, you want to focus on buying the best-quality food you can afford, says Glassman. For example: Buy wild seafood, organic eggs, and grass-fed butter and steak, she says.

4. Switch up fats. There are no strict recommendations for capping saturated fat intake on a keto diet, so it’s easy to end up hyperfocused on adding coconut oil or butter to everything. Mix it up to get a nice a nice blend of unsaturated and saturated fats, aiming to get less than 10 percent of your total calories from saturated fat, per the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USDA). Drizzle avocado oil (unsaturated fat) to finish off roasted veggies, or add a spoonful of coconut oil (saturated fat) to your smoothie, recommends Glassman. Do the same for meats; eat a small portion of grass-fed rib eye for dinner one night and then organic chicken with extra-virgin olive oil the next.

RELATED: The 10 Best and Worst Fats to Eat on a Keto Diet

5. Measure your food at first. “In the beginning when following any restrictive plan, I encourage people to get up close and personal with their measuring utensils and scale,” says Elia. A scale will help you weigh out an appropriate 3- to 4-oz portion of meat, for instance. (Too-high levels of protein can kick you out of ketosis, so you want to stick to moderation here, notes the healthy-lifestyle website Ruled.me.) Measuring spoons will help you dole out enough fat to so you know you hit your mark for the day. After you’ve got it down, you can stop, but double-check every once and a while to make sure you’re still on track, she says.

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire means one thing: Christmas. It’s literally the first line of the “The Christmas Song,” but the holiday staple deserves a spot in more than just carols and stuffing. These starchy nuts pack in a surprising dose of fiber, vitamin C, and important minerals like copper and potassium. Here’s exactly what’s inside those tough hulls.

Nutrition Facts

Galil Organic Whole Roasted Chestnuts amazon.com $6.97

Serving Size: 1 ounce, roasted

  • 70 calories
  • 0.6 g total fat
  • 15 g carbohydrates
  • 1.4 g dietary fiber (5%)
  • 3 g sugar
  • 0.9 g protein
  • vitamin C 12% DV
  • vitamin B-6 5% DV
  • copper 7% DV
  • manganese 17% DV
  • potassium 4% DV
  • magnesium 2% DV

Health Benefits of Chestnuts

Unlike most other nuts, chestnuts contain little protein or fat and chiefly provide complex carbs. That doesn’t mean they skimp on essential nutrients: Chestnuts supply vitamins and minerals that benefit your body from head to toe.

The fiber improves digestion.

Just 10 roasted chestnuts include 17% of what you need for the day — a major plus considering most of us don’t get nearly enough. Americans eat on average about 16 grams of fiber per day, half of the recommended amount of 25 to 30 grams. Fiber in plant-based foods like nuts can help maintain GI health, lower LDL (or “bad”) cholesterol levels, and contribute toward a healthy weight by filling you up, according to the Mayo Clinic.

The complex carbs will you keep you energized longer.

While almonds and peanuts pack in the protein, chestnuts predominantly contain complex carbohydrates, which your body digests slowly for a stable energy source. Foods high in fiber and complex carbs also have a less immediate effect on blood sugar, reducing potential spikes, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Nutrition Source states.

It’s important to score chestnuts before roasting so they don’t explode from internal pressure. Lisa HubbardGetty Images

The vitamin C contributes to healthy tissues.

While it’s more famous for boosting your immune system, vitamin C actually supports the formation of blood vessels, cartilage, muscle, and collagen throughout your body. The antioxidant also protects your cells against the damaging effects of free radicals and aids in the absorption and storage of iron.

Copper helps form red blood cells.

Like vitamin C, this trace mineral supports the health of your blood vessels, nerves, immune system, and bones and assists in iron absorption, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. About 10 roasted chestnuts supply 21% of the recommended daily amount.

How to Eat Them

Best Chestnut Recipes

“While they’re lower in fat and protein compared to other tree nuts and legumes, chestnuts make for an easy-to-use ingredient that’s also nutritious and, despite their association with the whole ‘holiday feast’ season, actually relatively low in calories,” says Jaclyn London, MS, RD, CDN, Nutrition Director at the Good Housekeeping Institute. “They’re great for grinding into flour; using as a swap for croutons in salads; topping soups, stews, and stir frys; or eating as a snack in their own right.”

To get the best benefits, skip the sweetened chestnut purees or syrup-filled jars and choose pre-cooked kinds without added ingredients. Or buy ’em fresh and try roasting or boiling the nuts yourself. (FYI: Water chestnuts and horse chestnuts are different things altogether.)

Besides the traditional salads, stuffings, and soups, chestnuts pair well with pretty much all of your favorite fall and winter flavors, including apples, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, turkey, pork, sage, thyme, and mushroom.

Caroline Picard Health Editor Caroline is the Health Editor at GoodHousekeeping.com covering nutrition, fitness, wellness, and other lifestyle news.

Whether you enjoy them roasted on an open fire, sprinkled over sprouts or stirred into a stuffing mixture, chestnuts add plenty of texture, flavour and goodness to any dish. Read on to discover why they’re so good for you…

What are chestnuts and when are they in season?

Chestnuts, or sweet chestnuts, are an edible nut that comes from the same family as the beech tree. They grow in a green, spiky shells which when peeled reveals the nut, and they are typically in season in the UK from October to December, but you may see this extended from September to January.

Chestnuts are not to be confused with conkers that come from the Horse Chestnut tree as these are inedible, or water chestnuts that can be found in Asian cuisines.

Nutritional profile of chestnuts

100g of chestnuts provides just 149 calories and, unlike other nuts, they are higher in carbohydrates containing 28g per 100g. They are also lower in protein and fat than other nuts with just 1.9g and 2.2g respectively, but nearly all the fat in chestnuts is a ‘good fat’ or unsaturated fat. They are also a good source of fibre with 5.1g per 100g, which is important for the health of our digestive system.

Other nutrients found in chestnuts include calcium which helps build strong bones and teeth as well as making sure our blood clots properly, iron which is important for making new red blood cells, and zinc which helps to make new cells, digest the carbs, protein and fast from our food as well as wound healing.

Chestnuts also contain all the B vitamins which are needed to help release energy from food, and vitamin E which helps to look after the health of our eyes and skin and support our immune system.

Healthy chestnut recipes

Sprouts with chestnuts & crisp pancetta
Mushroom & chestnut rotolo
Roast parsnip & chestnut salad
Sweet potato & chestnut roast with tangy tomato sauce
Butternut, chestnut & lentil cake
Roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon & chestnuts

Enjoyed this? Now read…

The health benefits of walnuts
The health benefits of cinnamon
The health benefits of oranges

This page was published on 7th November 2018.

Nicola Shubrook is a nutritional therapist and works with both private clients and the corporate sector. She is an accredited member of the British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy (BANT) and the Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC). Find out more at urbanwellness.co.uk.

All health content on bbcgoodfood.com is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other healthcare professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local healthcare provider. See our website terms and conditions for more information.

Chestnuts make you fat?

Chestnuts are the symbol fruit of autumn, both roasted and boiled. Chestnuts are perfect as a base for confectionery products, however, enough calories.

Delicious roasted, boiled or pureed as a filling for cakes and breads, meaty chestnuts are beloved by adults and children as “feared” for the alleged effects fattening. Of them it is said that bloat your belly, they do “rise” waist and raise the glycemic index.
But is that really true? Not at all…In fact, this fruit symbol of autumn season enjoys a reputation a little undeserved.
No one should be deprived of the pleasure of tasting a good portion of ripe chestnuts every so often, even who is on a diet or have high blood sugar, because this fruit protects the health and is good for your mood.
Many people feel weak and vulnerable in the months between October and December, partly due to a physiological decline of the immune system, and in part by psychological reasons. Shorter days and less bright, gloomy weather, the humidity, and the first colds, they put ko and rob us of energy.
But the solution to these problems comes to us from nature and there are several fruits which can help us: pomegranates, persimmons, grapes, pumpkins, pears and apples … Among these we include chestnuts, but what benefits we derive from eating them in the fall, apart from the pleasure of the palate?
Nutritional properties of chestnuts are amazing, they contain amides (as it’s known), but also vitamins such as Vitamin C (which boosts the immune system), folic acid and vitamin B that help us fight the states of anemia and weakness, minerals important for healthy skin and hair, but also the muscles, including magnesium, potassium and phosphorus, and lots of fiber.

These restrict the absorption of sugars and fats in the intestine, therefore the chestnuts are indicated in the case of high cholesterol.

Also stimulate the intestinal peristalsis helping to combat obstinate constipation.

Chestnuts are rich in amides and carbohydrates so they provide energy.

About calories, per 100g (fresh and raw) we assume 200 calories, however, go down to 120 if we decide to eat them boiled.
Eating too many chestnuts can have unpleasant side effects such as the formation of air into the stomach (flatulence) and bloating.

A tip for the food cold period is to use, even for making cakes and cookies, chestnut flour, which has a lower glycemic index in wheat flour 00 and a naturally sweet taste that requires a smaller quantity of sugar, quality which makes it suitable for diabetics.

You can eat chestnut but don’t overdo it.

Beans and legumes are a cornerstone of various cuisines across the world. From mung beans in East Asian dishes to pinto beans and black beans in Central and South American meals, all the way across the ocean to Mediterranean salads adorned with garbanzo beans — these small, protein-packed legumes are everywhere.

Beans are high-fiber and filling in part because of their relatively high carb count. But the carbs in black beans, pinto beans, chickpeas, and many others vary by type. Some can work for the keto diet, while others are too carb-heavy.

So, can these ubiquitous protein powerhouses be a part of your low-carb diet? What if you add fat to make refried beans? Does that help?

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In this article, you’ll learn about the carb counts and net carb counts of different beans, and whether or not beans will derail your keto diet efforts.

What Are Beans? Are They Healthy?

Beans are among the oldest cultivated plants in the world. Some sources trace the dietary use of beans back 20,000 years to ancient Eastern cultures.

As part of the legume family, beans are one of the best sources of plant-based protein available. They’re inexpensive to grow and can be found in cuisines worldwide. They’re especially practical in countries where meat is expensive, providing affordable sustenance for the masses.

Some health benefits associated with beans include a lowered risk of type 2 diabetes, blood sugar control, blood pressure, reduction in LDL cholesterol (which can help prevent heart disease), and weight loss.

Beans are also rich in dietary fiber and provide a good source of many vitamins and minerals. Here’s a closer look at a couple of examples.

Nutrition and Carbs in Black Beans

At first glance, the nutrition facts for black beans look good with many phytonutrients like folate, magnesium, and thiamin to contribute to your healthy diet.

One cup of black beans provides:

Thamin .42mg 38% RDI
Riboflavin .1mg 7% RDI
Folate 256ug 64% RDI
Iron 3.6 mg 20% RDI
Phosphorus 241mg 34% RDI
Zinc 1.93mg 20% RDI
Magnesium 120mg 38% RDI

A delicious bowl of black bean soup is sounding pretty good, right?

Here’s the problem — while they’re rich in phytonutrients, beans are also rich in carbohydrates.

Take a look at the macronutrient breakdown of that same cup of black beans:

Calories 227 kcal
Fat 1g
Protein 15g
Carbohydrates 41g
Fiber 15g
Net Carbs 26g

With 41 grams of carbs and 26 grams of net carbohydrates, the carbs in black beans could easily take you to the limit if you’re on a keto diet. That fiber content is just no match for the total carbohydrates, and the total fat is quite low. Remember, a major component of the keto diet is an abundance of healthy fats.

Since the cornerstone of the ketogenic diet is to keep your carbs low, adding black beans to your diet may be more trouble than it’s worth.

Nutrition and Carbs in Pinto Beans

Pinto beans boast a number of phytonutrients as well. One cup of pinto beans includes 160 milligrams of calcium and 10.8 milligrams of iron. But the carb count in pinto beans is even higher than black beans.

One cup yields 88 grams of total carbohydrates and 56 grams of fiber. That equals 32 grams of net carbs — not ideal for the keto diet.

You likely already knew that the flour or corn tortillas in traditional Mexican tacos and burritos weren’t going to work on the keto diet. But now you know that pinto beans (even the refried beans that contain added animal fat like lard) won’t work either.

Anti-Nutrients in Beans

The problem with beans doesn’t end with their high carb count; they also contain compounds called “anti-nutrients.”

These compounds are hard on your digestion and may make it difficult for you to absorb all of the vitamins and minerals that beans contain.

Here’s a breakdown of the anti-nutrients in beans and lentils.

Lectins

Lectins are proteins in a variety of plants that bind with carbohydrate molecules. Some types of lectins have been found to be inflammatory, toxic, and possibly damaging to the mucosal walls of your intestines.

Phytates

Phytates, also known as phytic acid, is the storage form of phosphorus in plant food. Although there are many health benefits associated with phytic acid, there is a steep downside as well.

Namely, phytates can bind minerals and inhibit their absorption. This is especially true for the essential minerals zinc, iron, and calcium.

The good news is that soaking beans overnight (between 8-24 hours) can help release some of these anti-nutrients and make them easier to digest. Just make sure you rinse the beans thoroughly before cooking.

Also, some canned beans are pre-soaked — Eden Organics brand does a great job of this.

When Do Beans Fit Into a Low-Carb or Keto Diet?

Now that you’ve learned about the carbs in black beans and pinto beans, you might be thinking that all beans are off-limits. But that’s not necessarily true. Here’s how you can potentially fit these legumes into your low-carb lifestyle.

Watch Your Portion Size

While beans tend to be carb-heavy, if you watch your portion size, you may be able to sneak a partial serving here and there.

You might also consider spreading out your small serving into a larger dish (like a soup or salad) with ingredients that contain more fiber and low- to no-net carbs in order to help you stay in balance on this meal plan.

Here are a couple of lower-carb bean options that — when eaten in moderation — may work for your keto diet.

White Kidney Beans

The carbs in white kidney beans are lower than the carbs in black beans, so if you stick to smaller quantities they might work on a ketogenic diet.

One serving (about a half cup) of white kidney beans contains a total of 110 calories, half a gram of fat, 13 grams of net carbs, and 8 grams of protein.

Depending on your personal needs and activity levels, you may be able to stay in ketosis with 13 grams of net carbs.

Just make sure you don’t go over a half-cup serving size.

Lima Beans

One serving of lima beans (about half a cup) contains 108 calories with 7 grams of protein. There’s a total carb count of 20 grams and 7 grams of fiber, leaving you with net carbs around 13 grams.

Once again, you’ll likely want to stick to the half-cup serving size here.

Reminder: If you decide to consume beans on a keto diet, make sure that you soak your beans first to release anti-nutrients.

Modified Keto Diets

Paying close attention to your carb intake is a crucial aspect of the standard ketogenic diet (SKD). As a keto beginner, you’ll want to stick closely to the low-carb, high-fat, and moderate-protein guidelines for your daily diet.

However, once your body has adjusted to using fat for fuel, you may realize that you need some high-carb foods on occasion. This is especially true if you’re active.

For this reason, there are a couple of keto diet variations. These modified eating plans allow for a bit more leniency with carb intake per serving of food, loosening the reins on moderate- to high-carb foods like beans.

Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD)

The targeted ketogenic diet (TKD) is most beneficial if you lead an active lifestyle or exercise regularly. If you’ve been following the SKD for a couple of months and still feel like you lack some serious energy during your workouts, the TKD could be right for you.

The TKD allows for up to 20-50 grams of additional carbs up to both an hour before and after your workout window. This window might be the perfect time to add beans to your diet.

Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD)

If you perform at extremely high intensities, the number of carbs allowed on TKD could still be too low to fuel your required energy levels. In this case, the cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD) would be the preferred diet.

The CKD follows a typical SKD for most of the week (about five days) with two days of carb backloading. Carb backloading includes 24-48 hours of high carb, low-fat intake in order to replenish your glycogen levels.

When to Avoid Beans on Keto

In general, you should avoid beans as much as possible on a low-carb or ketogenic diet. This is especially true if you’re following the traditional form of the SKD or if you’re not fat-adapted.

At the beginning stages of the keto diet, while your body is first transitioning into fat-burning mode, it’s essential to keep your carbs very low. It’s strongly advised to avoid beans during these first few weeks to ensure that you get into ketosis.

Everyone’s body is different, which means you may process carbs differently than your neighbor. You also might be able to handle a small portion of beans without getting kicked out of ketosis once you’re fat-adapted.

Some people may be able to play with having a half cup here and there. However, some people will get kicked out of ketosis with less than that. You’ll have to find out for yourself where you fall on the spectrum.

If you’re fat-adapted and you want to try to incorporate a small portion of beans into your keto diet, do so slowly. Check your ketones after a meal with beans and see how your body responds.

If you’re doing a CKD or TKD, you may have more wiggle room. Many athletes find they can tolerate more carbs than sedentary folks.

The Bottom Line on Carbs in Black Beans and Other Beans

If you’re going low-carb or keto, be cautious with bean consumption. Instead, opt for low-carb bean substitutes.

There are some circumstances in which the ketogenic diet would allow you to boost your carb consumption. For example, before and after training time on the TKD, or on your high-carb days if you’re following the CKD.

Your other days on the keto diet, however, should be kept well under 50 grams of carbohydrates — and often much fewer.

Beans or not, you can figure out your daily carb limit with the Perfect Keto macro calculator.

“The Healthy Geezer” answers questions about health and aging in his weekly column.

Question: What exactly is the difference between good carbs and bad carbs?

Answer: Here’s the short answer: Good carbs — or carbohydrates — are good for you. Bad carbs aren’t.

Carbohydrates that come from white bread, white rice, pastry, sugary sodas and other highly processed foods can make you fat. If you eat a lot of these so-called bad carbs, they will increase your risk for disease.

On the other hand, the good carbs, including whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables, keep you healthy by providing you with vitamins, minerals, fiber and many other nutrients. That’s why a healthy diet should include good carbs.

Carbohydrates are the most important source of energy for your body. Your digestive system converts carbohydrates into blood sugar (glucose). Your body uses the glucose and stores any extra sugar for when you need it.

Carbohydrates were once grouped into two main categories — simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates included sugars such as fruit sugar (fructose), corn or grape sugar (dextrose or glucose) and table sugar (sucrose). Complex carbohydrates included everything made of three or more linked sugars. Complex carbohydrates were thought to be the healthiest to eat. Now there are questions about that assumption.

A new system, called the glycemic index, classifies carbohydrates according to how quickly and how high they boost blood sugar. Foods with a high glycemic index, like white bread, cause rapid spikes in blood sugar. Foods with a low glycemic index, like whole oats, are digested more slowly, causing a lower and gentler change in blood sugar.

Diets rich in foods that have a high glycemic index have been linked to an increased risk for diabetes, heart disease, obesity, age-related macular degeneration, infertility and colorectal cancer. Foods with a low glycemic index help control diabetes and improve weight loss.

However, other studies have found that the glycemic index has little effect on health or weight. As a result, more research on the glycemic index is needed.

You can’t base a diet on the glycemic index alone. Instead, use it as a general guide. In the meantime, eat foods that have a low glycemic index: whole grains, beans, fruit and vegetables.

The University of Sydney in Australia maintains an updated searchable database at www.glycemicindex.com that now has almost 1,600 entries.

Here are five quick tips about carb consumption from the Harvard School of Public Health:

1. Start the day with whole grains. Try a hot cereal, like old-fashioned oats, or a cold cereal that has a whole grain topping the ingredients list.

2. Use whole grain breads for lunch or snacks.

3. Bag the potatoes. Instead, have brown rice, bulgur, wheat berries, whole wheat pasta or another whole grain with your dinner.

4. Choose whole fruit instead of juice. An orange has twice as much fiber and half as much sugar as a 12-ounce glass of orange juice.

5. Bring on the beans. Beans are an excellent source of slowly digested carbohydrates as well as a great source of protein.

If you would like to read more columns, you can order a copy of “How to be a Healthy Geezer” at http://www.healthygeezer.com/.

Get to Know Carbs

Get to Know Carbs

Carbohydrates or “carbs” get a lot of attention these days and you may wonder if you should even eat them at all. The fact is that food is made up of three main things: carbohydrate, protein, and fat. You need all of these to stay healthy, but the amounts that each person needs or chooses to eat may be very different. The most important thing is choosing the carbs that give you the most bang for your buck in terms of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Processed foods tend to be high in carbohydrate while very low in vitamins, minerals, and fiber, giving carbs a bad rap. But choosing less processed carb foods and paying attention to how much you are eating can make a big difference in your blood sugar and overall health.
Carbs come in many different forms, but let’s focus on the top three: starch, sugar and fiber.

Starch

Foods high in starch include:

  • Starchy vegetables like peas, corn, lima beans and potatoes
  • Dried beans, lentils and peas such as pinto beans, kidney beans, black eyed peas, and split peas
  • Grains like oats, barley, rice, wheat, and others.
  • Whole grains are just that, the whole plant that has been harvested and dried with little processing. They provide fiber as well as essential vitamins including B and E and other minerals needed for optimal health.

Refined grains are processed to remove the most healthful parts including fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Laws were passed in the U.S. to ensure that essential vitamins and minerals be added back in during processing as a result of vitamin and mineral deficiencies leading to diseases in children and adults.

Sugar

Sugar is another source of carbohydrate. There are two main types of sugars:

  • Naturally occurring sugars such as those in milk or fruit
  • Added sugars that are added during processing, such as fruit canned in heavy syrup, sugar added to make a cookie, and table sugar to name a few.

There are many different names for sugar. Examples of common names are table sugar, brown sugar, molasses, honey, beet sugar, cane sugar, confectioner’s sugar, powdered sugar, raw sugar, turbinado, maple syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, agave nectar and sugar cane.

If you are looking for information about sugar substitutes, look here.

Fiber

Fiber comes from plant foods so there is very little if any fiber in animal products such as milk, eggs, meat, poultry, and fish.

Fiber is found in plant foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and pulses (dried beans, peas and lentils). Fiber is like your body’s natural scrub brush, passing through your digestive tract carrying a lot of bad stuff out with it.

For optimal health, adults need to eat 25 to 30 grams of fiber each day. Most Americans do not consume nearly enough fiber in their diet, so while it is wise to aim for this goal, any increase in fiber in your diet can be helpful. Most of us only get about half of what is recommended.

Eating foods higher in fiber can improve your digestion, lower your blood sugar, and reduce your risk of heart disease.

Good sources of dietary fiber include:

  • Beans and legumes. Think black beans, kidney beans, pintos, chick peas (garbanzos), white beans, and lentils
  • Fruits and vegetables (for example, apples, celery and beans) and those with edible seeds (for example, berries)

Whole grains such as:

  • Whole wheat pasta
  • Whole grain cereals like old fashioned or steel cut oats
  • Whole grain breads (To be a good source of fiber, one slice of bread should have at least three grams of fiber. Another good indication: look for breads where the first ingredient is a whole grain. For example, whole wheat or oats.) Many grain products now have “double fiber” with extra fiber added.
  • Nuts — try different kinds. Peanuts, walnuts, and almonds are a good source of fiber and healthy fat, but watch portion sizes, because they also contain a lot of calories in a small amount.

You can find foods that are naturally high in fiber that are labeled as “excellent source,” meaning they contain more than 5 grams of fiber; while foods labeled as “good source” contain at least 2.5 grams of fiber.

It is best to get your fiber from food rather than taking a supplement, but if that is not possible, a supplement can help.

If you haven’t been eating a lot of foods high in fiber on a daily basis, it’s important that you increase your intake slowly. Even though they are good for you, it can take time for your body to adjust. A sudden increase in eating foods high in fiber (especially foods with added fiber or when using supplements) can cause gas, bloating, or constipation. Be sure you are drinking enough water too, because fiber needs water to move through your body!

Protein and Carbohydrate Content in Foods

Lizette writes, “Can you explain what types of foods contain protein, carbohydrates, and starches so that we know exactly what you mean when you use these terms?”

I like to think that it’s possible to eat healthy without having a degree in nutrition. So when I talk about nutrients like protein or carbohydrates, I always try to include examples of actual foods. For example, in my article on the benefits of protein, I suggested that protein foods such as eggs, meat, fish, soy, peanuts, and other legumes are great for controlling your appetite because they keep you satisfied for longer. I’ve also talked about out the importance of portion control when eating starches such as bread, pasta, rice, and other grains.

But the truth is that none of those “protein foods” are pure protein and none of the “starches” are pure carbohydrates. Although I don’t want to make things more complicated than they need to be, perhaps it’s time for quick review of which nutrients these basic foods provide.

What Foods Provide Protein?

Meat and Eggs Are Protein Plus Fat. Animal products like meat, fish, and eggs are the most concentrated sources of protein but they also contain varying amounts of fat. Very lean meats like bison, chicken or turkey breast, shellfish, and non-oily fish like haddock and flounder have the highest ratio of protein to fat—they’re 75-95% protein. Although egg whites are virtually 100% protein, whole eggs are about half protein and half fat. Oily fish like salmon are also about half protein and half fat—but the fats are the very healthiest kind.

Quick and Dirty Tip: The leaner the meat, the more protein it contains.

Dairy Products Contain Protein, Fat, and Carbohydrates. All dairy products start out as whole milk, which is about 20% protein, 30% carbohydrate, and 50% fat. (The carbohydrate portion, by the way, is mostly lactose, or milk sugar.) To make low fat-milk and yogurt, they skim off the fat, which means that the percentage of protein and carbohydrate goes up. Low fat milk is about 30% protein, 50% carbohydrates, and just 20% fat. To make cheese, on the other hand, they separate out the whey, which contains most of the carbohydrates. Cheese is about 25% protein and 75% fat.

Quick and Dirty Tip: Low-fat dairy products are higher in protein (and lower in calories) but they are also higher in milk sugars.

Bean and Legumes are Mostly Carbs With Some Protein. Vegetarians rely on beans and legumes for a lot of their protein, but these foods are actually a combination of protein and carbohydrate. Beans like pinto, navy and kidney are about one-quarter protein and three-quarters carbohydrate. The carbohydrate portion is a mixture of fiber and starch. Of all the legumes, soybeans have the most protein and they’re much lower in carbohydrates but they’re also a bit higher in fat. Whole soybeans are about one-third protein, one-quarter carbs and the rest (about 42%) is fat.

Quick and Dirty Tip: Beans and legumes are high in carbohydrates. So if these are your primary source of protein, you may want to cut back on other starchy foods like grains and breads.

Nuts are Mostly Fat With a Little Protein. Nuts are also an important protein source for vegetarians and I usually include nut and nut butters in my list of protein foods. But you should be aware that most nuts are also very high in fat. On average, nuts are about 10% protein, 15% carbohydrate, and 75% fat. The carbohydrate portion is a mixture of starch and fiber. Of all the nuts, peanuts (which are technically legumes), provide the most protein. They are about 15% protein, 15% carbohydrate, and 70% fat.

Quick and Dirty Tip: Nuts and nut butters supply a lot of fat and calories along with the protein.

What Foods Contain Carbohydrates?

Fruits and Vegetables are Mostly Carbohydrate. Although they contain small amounts of fat and protein, most fruits and vegetables are primarily carbohydrates. With the exception of starchy vegetables like corn and potatoes, the carbohydrates in most fruits and vegetables are in the form of sugar and fiber. Serving for serving, however, most vegetables are quite low in both sugar and calories—and loaded with valuable nutrients.

Quick and Dirty Tip: Although vegetables are almost entirely carbohydrate, most of them are still considered low carbohydrate foods.

Grains Contain Carbohydrates Plus Protein. Often, when people talk about restricting carbohydrate foods, they are really talking about foods that are high in starches, such as grains and products made from grains, like bread, pasta, crackers, and anything made with flour. Grains like wheat and rice are about 80-85% carbohydrate, mostly in the form of starch along with some fiber. They also contain anywhere from 5-15% protein, by the way. Whole wheat spaghetti, for example, contains the same percentage of protein as peanut butter.

Although I’m not a fan of low-carb diets per se, I have suggested that if you need to cut calories, grain-based foods are often a good place to start. These foods pack a lot of calories into a relatively small space, they are notoriously easy to overeat, they don’t keep you full as well as other foods, and they’re nowhere near as nutritious as other sources of carbohydrates, such as vegetables, fruit, beans, and legumes.

Quick and Dirty Tip: An easy way to cut calories is to replace some of the starches in your diet with vegetables. For example, instead of serving rice or potatoes with dinner, serve a second vegetable. Or, try mixing regular spaghetti half and half with spaghetti squash. If you’ve never made spaghetti squash, here’s a video showing you how.

Eat Food, Not Nutrients!

I hope you found this information about the nutritional content of foods useful – or at least interesting. If you found it a little overwhelming, don’t worry: You don’t have to know the protein, fat, and carbohydrate ratios of all the various foods in order to build a balanced diet. I’ll continue to translate nutritional principles into guidelines that focus on everyday foods and meals. Just follow my Quick and Dirty Tips for eating well and feeling fabulous!

Protein image courtesy of

Low-carb vegetables – the best and the worst

  1. Does it matter if vegetables are low carb? Well, to limit carbohydrate intake it may. And scientific studies now prove that compared to other diets, low carb is generally more effective, for weight loss and certain health markers:

    PLOS ONE 2015: Dietary intervention for overweight and obese adults: comparison of low-carbohydrate and low-fat diets. A meta-analysis

    Most studies on low-carb diets contain so few carbs per day (e.g. below 20 grams) that vegetables can’t be freely consumed in unlimited quantities. Learn more on our low-carb science page. ↩

  2. Net carbs = digestible carbs, i.e. total carbs minus fiber.

    The numbers are for uncooked vegetables. The carb content per 100 grams is generally slightly lower in cooked form.

    For example, while raw broccoli has about 4 grams of net carbs per 100 grams, cooked broccoli has about 3 grams. The main reason for this difference is an increase in water content in cooked vegetables.

    The numbers are taken from online databases, like the USDA database. Note that there are minor differences between these databases. The reason could be that different breeds of vegetables can differ in carb content, and there can be seasonal variation etc. In cases where there are significant differences between databases we have attempted to choose a median value. ↩

  3. Net carbs = digestible carbs, i.e. total carbs minus fiber. ↩

  4. I.e. vegetables with a number of 5 or lower in the pictures above. ↩

  5. Vegetables are generally considered very healthy, possibly because of the vitamins and minerals they contain. However, the belief in the potential healthiness of eating vegetables is mainly based on weak observational data, so it’s hard to know for sure.

    British Medical Journal 2014: Fruit and vegetable consumption and mortality from all causes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer: systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies
    ↩

  6. The ranking is rather subjective, and open for debate. ↩

  7. Net carbs = digestible carbs, i.e. total carbs minus fiber. ↩

  8. The fear of saturated fats, including from dairy, appears to have been completely misguided:

    Nutrition Journal 2017: The effect of replacing saturated fat with mostly n-6 polyunsaturated fat on coronary heart disease: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials (analysis)

    Learn more ↩

  9. Nutrition facts of avocado
    ↩

  10. Nutrition facts of spinach ↩

  11. Here’s a study investigating if eating eggs for breakfast every day has any negative effects on cholesterol levels. They found none, but the egg-eating group reported greater satiety:

    American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2015: The effect of a high-egg diet on cardiovascular risk factors in people with type 2 diabetes: the Diabetes and Egg (DIABEGG) study-a 3-mo randomized controlled trial

    Eating eggs daily on a low-carb diet might improve HDL cholesterol:

    The Journal of Nutrition 2008: Dietary cholesterol from eggs increases plasma HDL cholesterol in overweight men consuming a carbohydrate-restricted diet
    ↩

  12. Wikipedia: Asparagus ↩

  13. Nutrition facts of asparagus
    ↩

  14. Nutrition facts of kale
    ↩

  15. The evidence against eating red meat, including bacon, appears to be very weak. Learn more

    American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2017: Total red meat intake of ≥0.5 servings/d does not negatively influence cardiovascular disease risk factors: a systemically searched meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials
    ↩

  16. Nutrition facts of Brussels sprouts
    ↩

  17. They are the seeds of grasses:

    Wikipedia: Vegetable ↩

  18. Wikipedia: Vegetable ↩

  19. Even foods made from wholemeal flour is relatively rapidly digested and raises blood glucose quickly, though slightly less fast than foods made from white flour:

    The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2018: The effects of whole-grain compared with refined wheat, rice, and rye on the postprandial blood glucose response: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

    Journal of the American Medical Association 2002: The glycemic index. Physiological mechanisms relating to obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease

    British Medical Journal 1980: Rate of digestion of foods and postprandial glycaemia in normal and diabetic subjects
    ↩

  20. Unlike whole-grain wheat and rye, whole-grain rice may produce a smaller blood glucose response compared to white rice, however, in relation to low-carb foods it is still very big.

    The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2018: The effects of whole-grain compared with refined wheat, rice, and rye on the postprandial blood glucose response: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials ↩

What are High-Carb Vegetables and Should I Avoid Them?

We don’t have to tell you that you should eat your vegetables. With their fiber, antioxidant properties, vitamin and minerals, and typically low-calorie count, they’re paramount in any healthy diet.

There’s a catch, though. Not all vegetables are created equal.

You can eat just about as many fibrous veggies as you want (think asparagus, celery, and spinach). However, some vegetables are particularly starchy and higher in carbs.

Read on as four professionals give us the details on these high-carbohydrate vegetables.

What are high-carb vegetables?

“Vegetables can be categorized as starchy vegetables and non-starchy vegetables,” says Maya Feller, MS, RD, CDN, CLC, and creator of Maya Feller Nutrition. “Both starchy and non-starchy vegetables contain carbohydrates. However, starchy vegetables are higher in total carbohydrate content, in comparison to non-starchy vegetables.” Don’t fret! This doesn’t make them any less healthy by comparison. “It’s important to note that starchy vegetables provide energy and nutrients (vitamins, minerals, and fiber). can be a part of a healthy, balanced diet,” Feller assures.

Now that we know what separates these vegetables from the rest of the pack, let’s get specific. The most common high-carb vegetables are potatoes, peas, corn, and squash. Here’s a quick breakdown. Note: These amounts are all for one cup servings unless otherwise specified.

  • Cubed potatoes: 26 grams of carbohydrates
  • One large potato: 57 grams of carbohydrates
  • Corn: 27 grams of carbohydrates
  • Peas: 21 grams of carbohydrates
  • Squash: 14 grams of carbohydrates

“The body needs carbohydrates, as it is the primary source of energy for the brain, blood cells, and muscles.”

Other high-carbohydrate veggies worth mentioning are lima beans (24 grams per cup), artichokes (24 grams per cup), and black-eyed peas (26 grams per cup).

While you may be tempted to blacklist these from future grocery lists, don’t. To compare, a cup of rice has around 40 grams of carbs. A cup of beans has around 35 grams of carbs. “These vegetables can play a role in a healthy diet,” says Jonathan Valdez, MBA, RDN, CSG, CDN, ACE-CPT, and owner and founder of Genki Nutrition. “Not only that, but the body needs carbohydrates as it is the primary source of energy for the brain, blood cells, and muscles.” If you’re active and like to exercise often, the need for carbs increases. That’s not to say that these veggies are a free-for-all. But certainly don’t nix them from your diet altogether.

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How many (or how few) high-carb vegetables should I eat?

Unlike many vegetables, you probably shouldn’t eat starchy ones in bulk. You may think that they’re all vegetables and count as such. But, you’ll be surprised to find out that’s not the case. “When building your meal, the starchy vegetables count as a starch. can be categorized along with all grains and beans,” notes Feller. “When I work with patients I remind them that having rice and corn counts as having two starches on the plate. this is okay, I encourage them to be mindful of the serving size. I suggest that the plate has a palm or fist full of starches coming from grains or beans or starchy vegetables.” In short, keep your portions to about half a cup to one cup.

For some perspective, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020 recommends that 45 to 65 percent of your daily calories come from carbs. Depending on your weight and body, this could be anywhere from 150 to 300 grams. To stay satisfied, distribute them evenly throughout the day. “If that sounds small, add some greens to beef up the volume and satisfaction,” adds Amy Shapiro, RDN and founder of Real Nutrition NYC. Feel free to load up on fibrous vegetables like lettuce, broccoli, celery, and mushrooms to satisfaction.

How do they affect weight loss?

“If weight loss is your goal, it’s best to practice portion control with these starchy vegetables the way you would with other carbohydrates. Whereas foods like lettuce, cucumbers, and tomatoes are low in calories and are pretty much unlimited for weight loss, these starchy vegetables should be kept to a one-half cup portion,” says Sammi Haber, MS, RD, CDN, and Founder of Nutrition Works NYC. This is especially true if you’re trying to be low-carb. Shapiro touches on this, adding, “If you’re following a low-carbohydrate diet, it would be best to eliminate or reduce these starchy vegetables in your diet. Although good sources of fiber and some starchy vegetables have many health benefits, such as antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, they do count as carbohydrates in your meal.”

However, it’s important to emphasize that these vegetables aren’t bad! If you’re not abiding by a low-carb diet, they’re nothing to stress over. They’re still vegetables, after all. “When we look at the standard American diet, people are not really overeating peas, corn, and baked potatoes. They are having an overabundance of fries, fried chicken, and fast food pizza,” Feller points out. Like many foods, just be mindful of your portion sizes and you’ll be perfectly fine.

Weight loss is achievable and Aaptiv can help you with your goals, no matter how big or small they are. and see all the workouts you can start.

Are beans a carb

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