Are Beans Low Carb and Keto Friendly?
Ever wondered whether or not beans are low carb and keto friendly? We will look at it.
What are Beans? What Types are Out There?
It is a widely known fact that beans are a part of the food culture worldwide irrespective of which geographic region of the world they are at. They are a kind of legume and come from leguminous plants. The difference between leguminous plants and other plants is that legumes contain properties that help replenish the soil with nutrients. Thus, they are often planted almost like grass between planting season to replenish the earth.
The two main kinds of beans that are used worldwide are the black beans and the pinto beans. Beans are rich in fiber and proteins. In fact, beans are to the vegetarians what beef probably is to people who consume non-vegetarian food.
They also contain:
- vitamins and minerals including vitamin A which is good for your eyes and improves your immune system amongst other things,
- thiamine that is beneficial to the nervous system and the heart,
- riboflavin which is essential for the growth of the body, niacin which helps reduce cholesterol, folate,
- pantothenic acid, calcium which is great for your bones and
- dental health, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, sodium, zinc, copper, magnesium and selenium.
A cup of black beans that are cooked has about 227 calories in them. It also has less than one gram of fat. However, what might catch your attention is that it contains about 25 grams of net carbs which is an absolute no-no when you are in a state of ketosis and taking the keto diet.
Interestingly, the pinto bean which is another common variety of beans contains about 670 calories in one single cup. They also contain about 91 grams of net carb which is equivalent to suicide (in a manner of speaking) when you are going through the keto diet.
When we make a comparison, both types of beans are a strict no-no while in a state of ketosis. Also, beans can also be harmful in the sense that they can be inflammatory and cause digestive problems like stomach ache and many such issues because of certain properties of legumes unless they are really cooked well in a pressure cooker.
What are the Benefits for Different Beans?
However, this is to be noted that not all beans can be excluded from a keto diet. In fact, black soya beans and white kidney beans are definitely keto friendly. Now let us discuss the benefits of consuming beans as part of your diet.
1. It is an excellent source of proteins:
For those who are unaware, beans are one of the best sources of proteins that is plant-based. Beans fall into the category of grass. Certain variations of beans are very low on the calorie intake as well. Thus, it is beneficial to our health.
2. It is very high on nutrients:
Apart from proteins, beans also contain sodium, potassium, folate, zinc, phosphorous and many more types of nutrients that are useful for the growth of our body. These nutrients can help fight against fatigue, irritation, lowering of our appetite, weakness and fluttering in the heart.
3. Acts as a source of antioxidants:
Antioxidants like polyphenols are present in beans which is benefits the immune system for fighting against cancer and physical signs of aging. This is one of the significant benefits of consuming beans.
4. Beneficial to cardiovascular health:
Beans help reduce the levels of cholesterol in the body and therefore is advantageous to the health of the heart. Consumption of beans lower the chances of an individual suffering from a heart attack.
5. Beans help reduce the chances of causing cancer:
Because of its anti-inflammatory nature and the presence of antioxidants, beans end up reducing the chances of cancer. It ends up destroying cancerous cells in the body.
6. Beans also help increase our metabolism and reduce the risk of diabetes:
Beans contain a lot of fiber and hence is great for burning the glucose in our bodies. These fibers help to increase our metabolism and consumption of beans especially soya beans reduce the risk of diabetes because it helps increase the production of insulin.
7. Prevents the accumulation of fats in the liver:
Accumulation of excess fat in the liver can lead to various diseases in the body since the liver won’t be able to help in the process of digestion anymore. Eating beans will help combat the accumulation of fat in the liver which will work wonders for our body.
8. Helps control your appetite:
Overeating is also not a good thing when it comes to maintaining the health of our body. Beans help control your appetite and leads to better digestion.
How and When Do Beans Fit into a Low Carb or a Ketogenic Diet?
Eden Black Soybeans and white kidney beans are both keto friendly and fit into the low carb or ketogenic diet. A half cup of soybeans has about 120 calories, six grams of fat and one gram of net carb which entirely fit into the category of a keto diet. You can eat them as much as you want without being kicked out of the state of ketosis.
Kidney beans, on the other hand, are high on carbs but can still be consumed in a keto diet. They have about 110 calories, very little fat and 12 grams of net carbs. But it is still okay to consume in a keto diet- in limits.
However, this is applicable only when we follow the standard keto diet or SKD. SKD states that anyone who is undergoing and following the keto diet has to have a high fat intake, a moderate level of protein intake and an inadequate intake of carbs. However, once you get used to the keto diet, and especially if you do something physically active daily or you are an athlete or a sportsperson, you need to consume higher amounts of carb.
There is a different variation of the keto diet called the targeted ketogenic diet or TKD, for people who are physically very active and/or play a sport. This variation of the keto diet allows for greater consumption of carbs going up as high as 80 grams that is an addition of 40 grams more than the standard ketogenic diet. The additional amount can be consumed both before and after your workout so that you do not lose out on your energy requirements.
There is another variation of the keto diet when beans are preferred and can be consumed. This variation is for individuals like professional athletes who have an extremely rigorous workout schedule.
The variation is called the cyclical ketogenic diet or the CKD. This follows the same pattern as the standard ketogenic diet for about five days a week. But the other two days is a period of carb backloading.
What is carb backloading, you may ask?
It is the process in which the period of 24 to 48 hours would be high on the carb and low on fat which helps replenish the levels of glycogen in your body if you are an athlete.
However, if you really want to eat black beans or pinto beans while on a keto diet, please keep a close eye on the consumption of carbs in your diet.
Recipes with Beans that Can Be Consumed while on a Keto Diet.
Now that we have discussed how and when beans can be incorporated in a keto diet, it is time to know a few quick recipes that you can make with beans to fit into your healthy lifestyle.
Keto Three Beans Salad
Net Carb Content: 5 grams only!
- Half a cup of cooked green soya beans with the skin peeled.
- A full cup of black soya beans which is to be thoroughly cleaned.
- Three cups of green beans that should be diced into smaller sizes.
- Fresh lemon juice
- Lemon Zest
- Salt and pepper as per requirement
- A tiny bit of Dijon mustard
- Olive oil
- Apple cider vinegar
- Basil leaves
Add the green beans to a large bowl and pour a cup of water in it. Now, heat this in a microwave. After it is boiled, drain the water from the bowl and put the beans in a bowl of ice water. This should be done for just about a couple of minutes. Now, drain the water again and add the black and green soybeans in the mix. Marinate and mix it well and keep aside.
Now take the lemon juice, the lemon zest, salt and pepper, Dijon mustard, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and basil leaves and mix them well together. Add this mixture to the beans and mix it thoroughly. The three beans salad is ready to be eaten. You can chill the salad for an hour or so if you want.
Green Bean Fries
Net Carb Content: 2.5 grams
- About 350 grams of green beans.
- One egg
- Less than one cup of parmesan cheese, grated.
- Salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder as per taste.
Green Bean Fries
Heat the microwave to about 400-degree Fahrenheit and chop the green beans evenly. Now add the grated parmesan cheese with salt, pepper, paprika and garlic powder till they are evenly mixed. Whisk the eggs in a large bowl to make a batter to dip the beans in and coat it with egg wash.
Now cover the beans with the mixture of parmesan cheese and add some more cheese into it. Up next, place the beans on a baking sheet and bake for about ten minutes till the coating of cheese turns golden brown in color. Cool it for a while and then serve it with your choice of dip on the sides.
Easy and straightforward, you see!
Bacon Green Beans
Net carb content: 2 grams
- About 250 grams of green beans.
- A few slices of bacon cooked and chopped.
- Avocado Oil
- Gluten-free tamari sauce
- Salt and pepper as per requirement.
Boil the green beans in water till they are a little soft. Cook the bacon in avocado oil and then chop it into tiny parts. Add the beans in the pan along with the bacon and cook until they are slightly browned and crispy. Now, put tamari sauce, salt, and pepper before mixing them well together and serving it up to eat! Voila!
Green Beans with Lemon and Almonds
Net Carb Content: 6.5 grams
- About 450 grams of green beans with the fibrous ends cut off.
- Lemon juice
- Salt to taste.
- Extra virgin olive oil.
- Cloves of garlic that are chopped into thin slices.
- Almonds which should be sliced.
Steam the green beans till they are crisp yet soft that is they are not chewy. While the beans are still warm, put them in a bowl and add the lemon juice as well as the salt. Mix them well together and keep the container away. Now heat a pan and add olive oil in it for cooking. When the oil turns hot, add the almonds, it is always better if the almonds are organic. Now cook the almonds till they are browned. Add the slices of garlic to the mix and cook till it has taken on a beautiful golden-brown color. Now add this mixture to the bowl of beans and mix well. And it is all ready to be served,
Cook and eat your meal in less than half an hour!
Green Bean Casserole
Net Carb Content: 5.8 grams
- Three cups of green beans
- Half a cup of onions that are chopped well
- Cloves of garlic that are finely chopped
- Heavy cream
- About half a cup of chicken stock
- Xanthan gums
- Salt and pepper
- Pork rinds
Boil the green beans in a bowl after cutting off the fibrous ends of the beans. Cook it well. Now combine the onions, the garlic, and the mushrooms. Heat up a pan and add a bit of butter. Cook the mixture of onions, garlic, and mushrooms in the butter until they are well done. Now, boil the cream and chicken stock together and let it simmer for about twenty minutes.
Now, put in the xanthan gum in the broth. Wait till the broth becomes more consistent. Now, add the green beans in the sauce until they are covered with it and now move the seeds to a pan. Now add the pork rinds, that should be cut into tiny pieces. Now cook the entire dish for about ten minutes in a microwave and serve it while it is still hot. This dish is a little more time consuming but totally worth it!
If you notice carefully, there are no chili in any of these meals which means that people who cannot eat a lot of spice and thereby chili can also have them. Also, if you like to eat tomatoes, then you can add tomatoes to each of these recipes, but moderately.
Should Beans Be Avoided?
Now that we have discussed the keto beans let us learn if beans should be avoided while on a keto diet.
It must be noted that when it comes to the consumption of beans, it is essential to see what variety of beans you are consuming. If you eat a lot of pinto beans and black beans, you naturally end up consuming a higher amount of carb. It can end up not letting you stay in a state of ketosis. These types of beans can only be had if you are following the cyclical ketogenic diet or the SKD when you can backload on carbs.
However, there are other varieties of beans like Black Soybeans which can be eaten during a regular course of a keto diet because they have an absolute minimal amount of net carbs in it. Other things like the kidney beans can be eaten as well only if you watch the number of carbs that you eat for the rest of the day.
Therefore, if you want to keep following the keto diet, then you should be very careful about what kind of beans you are eating. Try to gain information about the nutrient content in the different varieties of beans and entirely bypass the ones that contain higher amounts of net carb in them. There are many substitutes of the bean that you can have instead so in case you are unsure; it is always best to stick those options.
Try and figure out a diet chart that will keep your carb limit in check, so that you remain in the state of ketosis for a more extended period for as long as you want.
Do note that your health should always come first. If at any given point you feel uncomfortable with your food, change it to a more traditional diet which will include more carbs. While the keto diet works well for most people, some have had to experience a few adverse effects.
Top Tips to Remember Before Going In for a Keto Diet
If you are consuming any medication before you start following a keto diet, consult your doctor first. Because, there might be a chance, however slight, that you aren’t physically fit to take on a diet that is high on fat like a keto diet.
- Often, people who suffer from type 1 and type 2 form of diabetes, are pregnant or at the stage of nursing their new-born baby.
- The warning about visiting a doctor is also applicable to people suffering from certain rare conditions that can adversely affect the liver, the kidneys or the pancreas.
- Finally, the keto diet is especially not suitable for you if you are suffering from any sort of eating disorder or have recently recovered from it.
Always make sure that you are aware of your health conditions before you decide to take on a drastic dieting step like the keto diet.