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Are Black Beans Keto-Friendly?

Black Beans on a kitchen counter

Are Black Beans Keto-Friendly? The short answer is, due to their high carbohydrate content, black beans typically don't fit well within the parameters of a ketogenic diet.

While packed with fiber, protein, and essential nutrients, the carb count in black beans can pose a significant hurdle for those aiming to stay in ketosis.


  • Black beans are not keto-friendly due to their high carbohydrate content.
  • Despite being rich in fiber, protein, and essential nutrients, the high carb count in black beans can disrupt ketosis, a metabolic state crucial to a ketogenic diet.
  • Incorporating black beans into a ketogenic diet can pose challenges due to their potential to disrupt ketosis.

Are Black Beans Keto-Friendly?

Black beans, a common ingredient in many dishes, may not be the best fit for those adhering to a ketogenic diet. Despite their nutritional benefits, black beans are high in carbohydrates which can hinder the state of ketosis, a metabolic process primarily fueled by a high fat, low carb intake.

Black beans contain 15.01 grams of carbohydrates per 100 grams, a substantial amount when considering the typical carbohydrate limit on a ketogenic diet, which ranges from 20 to 50 grams per day. Moreover, the net carbs, which is a calculation of total carbs minus fiber, comes to 15.01 grams per 100 grams as well. It’s important to note that the consumption of black beans on a keto diet can quickly consume a significant portion of the daily carb allowance, potentially disrupting the metabolic state of ketosis.

Can You Have Black Beans On a Strict Keto Diet?

On a strict ketogenic diet, where carb intake is typically limited to less than 20 grams per day, incorporating black beans can be challenging. With 15.01 grams of carbs per 100 grams, even a modest serving of black beans can take up a large portion of the daily carb allowance.

While some individuals follow a more lenient keto or low-carb diet, allowing for 30-50 grams of net carbs per day, even within these parameters, it would be difficult to incorporate black beans without surpassing the daily carb limit. This is due to the significant carb content of black beans, which can quickly tally up and potentially disrupt the metabolic state of ketosis.

Carbs In Black Beans

Black beans, like many legumes, are high in carbohydrates. A 100-gram serving contains 15.01 grams of total carbohydrates. The net carbs, which is the total carbohydrates minus fiber, also equates to 15.01 grams per 100 grams. This count is significant when considering a ketogenic or low-carb diet, where carb intake is usually restricted.

Discussing the glycemic index (GI) is also relevant when examining carbohydrates in foods. The glycemic index is a value assigned to foods based on how slowly or how quickly those foods cause increases in blood glucose levels. Foods low on the glycemic index (GI) scale tend to release glucose slowly and steadily, while high GI foods cause a more rapid rise in blood glucose levels. However, while black beans have a relatively low glycemic index compared to other foods, their high carbohydrate content may still pose challenges for those on a ketogenic or low-carb diet.

Black Beans Nutrition Facts

Black beans, also known as turtle beans, are packed with a wide array of nutrients. In a 100g portion, they contain 132.0kcal, primarily deriving from 23.71g of complex carbohydrates. A notable attribute is their high fiber content of 8.7g, which helps in digestion and keeps you feeling full longer. Additionally, they contain 15.01g of net carbs and a minimal amount of total fats, only 0.54g, making them a low-fat food source.

Furthermore, protein is another significant component of black beans, providing 8.86g per 100g. This is complemented by a variety of essential amino acids including leucine, lysine, arginine, and more.

On the micronutrient front, black beans are a powerhouse. They offer 355.0mg of potassium, an important mineral for heart health, and 140.0mg of phosphorous that contributes to strong bones and teeth. They are also a good source of magnesium (70.0mg), which is essential for nerve and muscle function.

The beans also contain a variety of vitamins, including Vitamin B-6 (0.07mg), Vitamin E (0.87mg), and Vitamin K1 (3.3ug). Notably, they have a high amount of folate (149.0ug) which is vital for cell growth and metabolism.

Interestingly, black beans are rich in beneficial antioxidants, such as copper (0.21mg), zinc (1.12mg), manganese (0.44mg), and iron (2.1mg), making them a good choice for supporting overall health.

Nutrient NameAmount and Unit per 100g
Net Carbs 15.01g
Carbohydrate, by difference 23.71g
Fiber, total dietary 8.7g
Total fats 0.54g
Protein 8.86g
Sodium, Na 1.0mg
Potassium, K 355.0mg
Magnesium, Mg 70.0mg
Calcium, Ca 27.0mg
Vitamin B-6 0.07mg
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) 0.87mg
Vitamin K1 3.3ug
Copper, Cu 0.21mg
Iron, Fe 2.1mg
Phosphorus, P 140.0mg
Selenium, Se 1.2ug
Zinc, Zn 1.12mg
Manganese, Mn 0.44mg
Thiamin 0.24mg
Riboflavin 0.06mg
Niacin 0.5mg
Pantothenic acid 0.24mg
Folate, total 149.0ug
Choline, total 32.6mg
Calories 132.0kcal
Water 65.74g
Tryptophan 0.1g
Threonine 0.37g
Isoleucine 0.39g
Leucine 0.71g
Lysine 0.61g
Methionine 0.13g
Cystine 0.1g
Phenylalanine 0.48g
Tyrosine 0.25g
Valine 0.46g
Arginine 0.55g
Histidine 0.25g
Alanine 0.37g
Aspartic acid 1.07g
Glutamic acid 1.35g
Glycine 0.35g
Proline 0.38g
Serine 0.48g
Fatty acids, total saturated 0.14g
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated 0.05g
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated 0.23g
Nutritional data is sourced from the US Department of Agriculture's FoodData Central system. Please see Cast Iron Keto's editorial and research standards for more information.

Health Implications of Black Beans on a Keto Diet

Including black beans in a ketogenic diet presents a challenge due to their high carbohydrate content, which can disrupt the state of ketosis, a metabolic state that relies on fat as the primary energy source rather than carbohydrates.

Nutritionally, black beans offer a variety of beneficial nutrients. They are packed with fiber, providing about 8.7 grams per 100 grams, which aids in digestive health. They are also a good source of protein (8.86 grams per 100 grams) and contain essential minerals like potassium (355.0 milligrams per 100 grams) and magnesium (70.0 milligrams per 100 grams). In terms of vitamins, black beans contain Vitamin B-6 and folate, which are essential for various bodily functions.

Keto-Compatible Alternatives for Black Beans

  1. Zucchini: Zucchini is a versatile, low-carb vegetable that can be used as a substitute for black beans in many recipes. It can be roasted, grilled, or even spiralized to make zucchini noodles. A 100-gram serving of zucchini contains only about 3.11 grams of carbs, making it a considerably lower-carb alternative to black beans.
  2. Cauliflower: Cauliflower is another excellent low-carb vegetable that can be used as a substitute in many dishes. It can be riced, mashed, or roasted and added to a variety of recipes. With only 5 grams of carbs per 100-gram serving, cauliflower is a keto-friendly alternative that offers a similar texture to black beans without the high carb content.
  3. Mushrooms: Mushrooms can also serve as a good low-carb alternative to black beans. They can be grilled, sautéed, or used in soups and stews. A 100-gram serving of mushrooms contains about 3.3 grams of carbs, making them a suitable option for those following a keto diet.
  4. Avocados: Avocados, while not exactly similar in taste or texture to black beans, can add creaminess and richness to dishes traditionally made with black beans. They are high in healthy fats and very low in carbs, containing only 1.8 grams of net carbs per 100 grams.

Concluding Thoughts on Black Beans and Keto

In the context of a ketogenic diet, black beans present a notable challenge due to their high carbohydrate content. While they are rich in fiber, protein, and essential nutrients like potassium, magnesium, and vitamins B-6 and folate, their high carb count can disrupt the metabolic state of ketosis vital to a ketogenic diet.

Finding a balance between nutrient intake and carb restriction can be a delicate process on a keto diet. However, it's worth noting that there are numerous low-carb alternatives that can be used in place of black beans in many recipes. Zucchini, cauliflower, mushrooms, and avocados are all excellent choices and can offer a variety of textures and flavors to keep meals varied and satisfying.

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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.

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Frequently Asked Questions

No, black beans are not typically keto-friendly due to their high carbohydrate content.

Yes, the high carb count in black beans can disrupt ketosis, a metabolic state crucial to a ketogenic diet.

Yes, black beans are rich in fiber, protein, and essential nutrients but their high carbohydrate content may outweigh these benefits for individuals following a strict ketogenic diet.