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Are Beans Keto-Friendly?

Navigating the world of keto can be tricky, especially when it comes to certain food items like beans.

Although nutritious, beans are not considered keto-friendly due to their high carbohydrate content.

In this breakdown, we delve into the specifics of the carbs in beans and why they pose a challenge for those adhering to a ketogenic lifestyle.

Moreover, we'll be exploring various keto-compatible alternatives to beans, helping you maintain your low-carb diet without missing out on your favorite food's nutritional benefits.

So, let's dive into the world of beans and their place, or lack thereof, in a keto diet.


  • Beans are not keto-friendly due to their high carbohydrate content, with 45.07g of carbs per 100g serving.
  • Beans pose a challenge to those on a ketogenic diet due to their moderate glycemic index, which can lead to considerable blood sugar level spikes.
  • The high carb content of beans outweighs their nutritional benefits, like high protein content and essential nutrients, in the context of a keto diet.

Are Beans Keto-Friendly?

When assessing the compatibility of beans with the ketogenic diet, it's important to consider their carbohydrate content. Given that beans contain 45.07g of carbs per 100g serving, they are not considered keto-friendly.

This verdict primarily stems from the high net carb content in beans. Net carbs, representing the total carbohydrates minus fibers, are a critical factor when following a ketogenic regimen. With 45.07g net carbs per 100g, beans exceed the low-carb threshold typically set for keto diets.

Can You Have Beans On a Strict Keto Diet?

Beans, due to their high carbohydrate content, are not typically included in a strict keto diet. A strict ketogenic regimen involves limiting daily carb intake to less than 20g, and with beans packing 45.07g of carbs per 100g serving, they simply don't fit within these parameters.

For those who opt for a more moderate low-carb approach, limiting their daily carbs to around 30-50g, beans still prove to be a challenge. Even with this slightly increased carb allowance, the inclusion of beans could easily push one past their daily limit, disrupting the state of ketosis.

Carbs In Beans

Taking a closer look at the carbohydrate content in beans, it's clear this legume is high in carbs. A 100g serving of beans contains 45.07g of total carbs and 45.07g of net carbs. Net carbs are the total carbohydrates minus the dietary fibers, and they are the carbs that most impact blood sugar levels, which is why they matter so much on a keto diet.

Beans Nutrition Facts

A 100g portion of beans provides an extensive range of both macronutrients and micronutrients. It's a powerhouse of nutrition, and here's why:

Beginning with macronutrients, beans contain 333.0kcal of energy. The majority of this energy comes from carbohydrates, with a total of 60.27g per 100g. Out of these carbs, 45.07g are net carbs, and a significant amount of 15.2g comes from dietary fiber, which is great for your digestive health.

Protein content is also noteworthy. With 23.36g of protein per 100g, beans are a good source of plant-based protein. Protein is essential for building and repairing tissues in the body. Also, the fat content is quite low at 0.85g per 100g, with more polyunsaturated fats (0.36g) than monounsaturated fats (0.07g) and saturated fats (0.22g).

Apart from macronutrients, beans provide a host of essential micronutrients. They are an excellent source of Potassium (1795.0mg), which is needed for nerve function and muscle contraction. They are also high in Magnesium (190.0mg) and Phosphorus (301.0mg), both involved in various body functions including bone health.

Beans are also an excellent source of Iron (10.44mg), important for red blood cells production, and loaded with Calcium (240.0mg), necessary for bone health and muscle function. Notably, they contain Copper (0.98mg), an often overlooked mineral, which is needed for energy production and iron metabolism.

Additionally, beans have a rich array of vitamins. They provide a good amount of B-vitamins, including Vitamin B-6 (0.32mg), Thiamin (0.44mg), Riboflavin (0.15mg), Niacin (0.48mg), and Pantothenic acid (0.73mg). These vitamins play a key role in energy production. They also contain Vitamin E (0.21mg), a powerful antioxidant, and Vitamin K1 (5.6ug), which plays a key role in blood clotting and bone metabolism.

Beans are not only full of essential amino acids such as Leucine (1.86g), Lysine (1.6g), and Arginine (1.45g) but also feature a high amount of Folate (388.0ug), a type of B vitamin needed for cell growth and metabolism.

To top it off, even minor nutrients like Zinc (3.67mg), Selenium (12.8ug), and Manganese (1.8mg) are present in beans, which further contribute to its nutritional profile.

Nutrient NameAmount and Unit per 100g
Net Carbs 45.07g
Carbohydrate, by difference 60.27g
Fiber, total dietary 15.2g
Total fats 0.85g
Protein 23.36g
Sodium, Na 16.0mg
Potassium, K 1795.0mg
Magnesium, Mg 190.0mg
Calcium, Ca 240.0mg
Vitamin B-6 0.32mg
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) 0.21mg
Vitamin K1 5.6ug
Copper, Cu 0.98mg
Iron, Fe 10.44mg
Phosphorus, P 301.0mg
Selenium, Se 12.8ug
Zinc, Zn 3.67mg
Manganese, Mn 1.8mg
Thiamin 0.44mg
Riboflavin 0.15mg
Niacin 0.48mg
Pantothenic acid 0.73mg
Folate, total 388.0ug
Choline, total 66.2mg
Calories 333.0kcal
Water 11.32g
Tryptophan 0.28g
Threonine 0.98g
Isoleucine 1.03g
Leucine 1.86g
Lysine 1.6g
Methionine 0.35g
Cystine 0.25g
Phenylalanine 1.26g
Tyrosine 0.66g
Valine 1.22g
Arginine 1.45g
Histidine 0.65g
Alanine 0.98g
Aspartic acid 2.82g
Glutamic acid 3.56g
Glycine 0.91g
Proline 0.99g
Serine 1.27g
Fatty acids, total saturated 0.22g
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated 0.07g
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated 0.36g
This data was provided by the US Department of Agriculture's FoodData Central system.
'Beans' was not found in FoodData Central, so nutritional data for 'Beans, white, mature seeds, raw' was used instead under Cast Iron Keto's editorial and research standards.

Health Implications of Beans on a Keto Diet

Incorporating beans into a keto diet can pose severe challenges to maintaining ketosis due to their high carb content. This, coupled with their moderate glycemic index, can make it difficult for individuals following a ketogenic lifestyle to manage their blood sugar levels effectively.

On the brighter side, beans are nutritionally dense and offer several health benefits. They pack a powerful punch of protein at 23.36g per 100g serving and are a good source of dietary fiber, providing 15.2g per 100g. They are also rich in essential nutrients like Iron, Potassium, and Magnesium, which contribute to overall health and wellbeing.

Keto-Compatible Alternatives for Beans

  1. Zucchini: This vegetable serves as a low-carb, non-starchy alternative to beans. With only 3.11g of carbs per 100g serving, zucchini can be used in various dishes such as soups, salads, and keto-friendly stir-fries, without disrupting ketosis.
  2. Cauliflower: With just 5g of carbs per 100g, cauliflower makes a versatile substitution. Its mild flavor and satisfying crunch make it a suitable replacement in recipes that call for beans, like stews or casseroles.
  3. Avocado: Known for its high healthy fat content and low net carbs (around 1.8g per 100g), avocado can be added to salads or used in dips as a creamy substitute for beans.
  4. Green Beans: Despite their name, green beans are more similar to non-starchy vegetables than legumes in terms of their carb content. With only 7g of carbs per 100g serving, they can be an effective replacement in many dishes.

Concluding Thoughts on Beans and Keto

While beans bring a host of nutritional benefits such as high protein content and essential nutrients, their high carbohydrate content makes them less compatible with a ketogenic diet. The 45.07g of carbs per 100g serving in beans starkly contrasts with the low-carb requirement of a standard keto diet, making it a potential pitfall for those seeking to maintain ketosis.

Their moderate glycemic index also implies that they can cause considerable spikes in blood sugar levels, a situation not ideal for those pursuing a keto lifestyle. As nutritious as they are, the high carb value of beans outweighs their benefits in the context of a keto diet.

Instead, incorporating low-carb, keto-friendly alternatives like zucchini, cauliflower, avocado, and green beans can provide the necessary versatility in your diet without compromising nutritional value or taste. These substitutes not only fit well within the carb restrictions of a keto diet but also offer unique health benefits of their own.

Cast Iron Keto's Editorial and Research Standards

Certain rare or exotic food items may not have nutritional profiles in the FoodData Central database. If an exact match is not found in the FoodData Central database, then, the Cast Iron Keto team utilizes a three-prong approach to provide readers with the closest relevant nutritional data, where possible.

First, in the event that nutritional profiles for a rare or exotic food item is not available in the FoodData Central database, we investigate alternative names for that particular food item and use that data, when possible. Second, in cases where no alternate names exist, Cast Iron Keto will use nutritional data for a close relative or similar food item. Finally, if no close relatives or similar items exist, we refrain from publishing nutrient data tables.

When making dietary or health decisions based on FoodData Central's data, we suggest readers consult with a nutritionist or other health experts, particularly if the food in question has a significant role in your diet or if you are using the food item to treat any health disorder(s).

Furthermore, it is important to note that even if a close relative or similar item is used to approximate the nutritional data, different food items can have varying levels of nutrients due to factors such as soil quality, farming practices, and regional differences.


The information on this website is only intended to be general summary information for public use, designed for educational purposes only and is not engaged in rendering medical advice or professional services. This information does not replace written law or regulations, nor does it replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have questions about a medical condition or are seeking to evaluate the health merits of certain food items for the treatment of any medical condition, you should seek the advice of a doctor or other qualified health professionals.

The views expressed at, or through, Cast Iron Keto are for informational purposes only. Cast Iron Keto cannot guarantee the validity of the information found here. While we use reasonable efforts to include accurate and up-to-date information, we make no warranties as to the accuracy of the content and assume no liability or responsibility for any errors or omissions in the content. All liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on the contents of this website are hereby expressly disclaimed. The content on this posting is provided "as is;" no representations are made that the content is error-free.

Frequently Asked Questions

Beans are high in carbohydrates, with 45.07g of carbs per 100g serving, making them incompatible with the low-carb requirements of a ketogenic diet.

Yes, beans have a moderate glycemic index, which can lead to significant blood sugar level spikes, a situation not ideal for those adhering to a ketogenic lifestyle.