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Is Black Bean Paste Keto-Friendly?

Black Bean Paste on a kitchen counter

'Is Black Bean Paste Keto-Friendly?' This question is one that many starting or considering a ketogenic, or 'keto', diet might find themselves asking.

Black Bean Paste, with its rich, savory flavor, is a common ingredient in many dishes, particularly in Asian cuisine.

However, when it comes to a keto diet, a dietary plan that requires a low intake of carbohydrates, the compatibility of Black Bean Paste comes into question.

Throughout this article, we delve into the carbohydrate content of Black Bean Paste, its implications for a keto diet, methods to avoid it in your meal plan, and alternative ingredients that are more keto-compatible.

As always, it's crucial to consult with a healthcare provider or dietitian before making any significant changes to your diet.


  • Black Bean Paste, while nutritionally beneficial, is not typically compatible with a ketogenic diet due to its high net carb content.
  • The high carb count in Black Bean Paste could disrupt the state of ketosis, a key aspect of a successful keto diet.
  • There are viable, keto-friendly alternatives to Black Bean Paste that allow you to enjoy similar flavors without jeopardizing your dietary goals.

Is Black Bean Paste Keto-Friendly?

Let's get straight to the point: Is Black Bean Paste keto-friendly? Unfortunately, the answer is no. As much as we love its unique, robust flavor, Black Bean Paste doesn't quite fit into a strict ketogenic diet. Why is that? Let's delve into the details.

The "keto" in ketogenic comes from ketones, a type of fat that your body uses as fuel when it runs low on carbohydrates. For your body to stay in this state of ketosis, you need to limit your carbohydrate intake substantially, typically to around 20-50g per day depending on individual factors.

Here's where Black Bean Paste becomes problematic. A 100g serving of Black Bean Paste contains approximately 8.62g of net carbs. While this might not seem like a substantial amount at first glance, when you're working with a limited carb allowance, these numbers add up quickly.

This means that even a modest portion of Black Bean Paste can take up a significant chunk of your daily carb quota on a ketogenic diet, making it challenging to maintain a state of ketosis. So, while Black Bean Paste is packed with flavor and other valuable nutrients, its high carb content makes it incompatible with a keto diet.

Can Black Bean Paste be Incorporated into a Strict Keto Diet?

When it comes to a strict ketogenic diet, incorporating Black Bean Paste can be quite a challenge. As we've discussed, the high net carb content of 8.62g per 100g is a hurdle for those attempting to reach or maintain a metabolic state of ketosis. In a diet where every gram of carb counts, even small quantities of Black Bean Paste could quickly use up your daily carb allowance.

So, can Black Bean Paste be a part of a strict keto diet? Given its carbohydrate content, it's advisable to steer clear of it if you're following a strict ketogenic diet. Even if you're considering smaller portions, remember that the carbs add up, and even small amounts could disrupt your ketogenic balance.

But how can you keep track of your daily carb intake and make sure Black Bean Paste doesn't sneak into your meals? Utilizing digital tools or apps that track macronutrients can be highly beneficial. These tools allow you to log each food you consume throughout the day, providing a clear picture of your carb intake and helping you stay within your daily limits.

Apart from tracking apps, creating a meal plan can also be effective. By planning your meals ahead, you can ensure that your dishes are keto-friendly, rich in flavor, and diverse in nutrients, all while avoiding high-carb ingredients like Black Bean Paste.

Delving into the Carbohydrate Content of Black Bean Paste

When discussing the carbohydrate content of Black Bean Paste, it's essential to first understand the concept of net carbs. Net carbs are the total carbohydrates in a food minus its fiber content. Why is this important? Because while both fiber and other carbohydrates technically fall under the umbrella of 'carbs', your body processes them differently. Fiber, unlike other carbs, doesn't raise your blood sugar or interfere with ketosis, which is why we subtract it when calculating net carbs.

So, let's focus on Black Bean Paste. A 100g serving of Black Bean Paste contains about 8.62g of net carbs. To give you a real-world example, let's consider a common Asian dish that uses this ingredient: Jajangmyeon, a Korean noodle dish with a thick sauce made from Black Bean Paste.

In a standard serving of Jajangmyeon, you might find about 30g of Black Bean Paste, which equates to approximately 2.59g of net carbs just from the paste alone. While this might not seem like a lot, remember that other ingredients in the dish contribute to the total carb count as well, and these numbers can add up quickly on a keto diet.

For individuals on a ketogenic diet, it's crucial to keep track of these net carbs to ensure they stay within their daily carb limit, which is typically around 20-50g per day. With its high net carb content, Black Bean Paste could quickly consume a significant portion of this limit, which is why it's considered unsuitable for a keto diet.

Nutritional Snapshot of Black Bean Paste

Black Bean Paste is a nutritious condiment, offering a variety of macro and micronutrients. For every 100g serving, it provides 15.42g of carbohydrates, 4.83g of protein, and a minimal 1.32g of total fats. Its net carbs, standing at 8.62g, along with 6.8g of dietary fiber, make it a balanced choice for those monitoring carbohydrate intake.

Beyond its macronutrients, Black Bean Paste delivers an array of essential vitamins and minerals. It gives a good supply of sodium (970.0mg) and potassium (250.0mg), two vital electrolytes for heart health. Its contribution to calcium (35.0mg) and magnesium (33.0mg) meets the needs for bone health.

The paste is rich in several vitamins, including Vitamin A, B-6, C, E, and K1. Vitamin A (22.0ug) and beta-carotene (219.0ug), both crucial for vision, are present. The modest amount of Vitamin C (0.2mg) plays a role in immune function. Vitamin E (0.36mg) and K1 (1.8ug) are also present, contributing to heart health and blood clotting, respectively.

In terms of trace elements, it's a modest source of iron (1.5mg), beneficial for hemoglobin formation, and zinc (1.1mg), needed for the immune system. It also contains phosphorus (75.0mg), manganese (0.5mg), and copper (0.3mg), each playing a vital role in different aspects of health.

While it's not a calorie-dense food with 91.0kcal, it's high in water content (75.33g), which can aid in hydration. Despite its minimal fat content, it provides a balance of saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats. It's important to note that each serving contains a small amount of folate (66.0ug), a B-vitamin that's crucial for cell division and DNA synthesis.

Nutrient NameAmount and Unit per 100g
Net Carbs 8.62g
Carbohydrate, by difference 15.42g
Fiber, total dietary 6.8g
Total fats 1.32g
Protein 4.83g
Sodium, Na 970.0mg
Potassium, K 250.0mg
Magnesium, Mg 33.0mg
Calcium, Ca 35.0mg
Vitamin A 22.0ug
Vitamin B-6 0.07mg
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid 0.2mg
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) 0.36mg
Vitamin K1 1.8ug
Copper, Cu 0.3mg
Iron, Fe 1.5mg
Phosphorus, P 75.0mg
Zinc, Zn 1.1mg
Beta-carotene 219.0ug
Cryptoxanthin, beta 12.0ug
Lycopene 463.0ug
Lutein + zeaxanthin 36.0ug
Manganese, Mn 0.5mg
Thiamin 0.04mg
Riboflavin 0.04mg
Niacin 0.41mg
Pantothenic acid 0.16mg
Folate, total 66.0ug
Choline, total 15.5mg
Calories 91.0kcal
Water 75.33g
Fatty acids, total saturated 0.34g
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated 0.48g
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated 0.41g
This data was provided by the US Department of Agriculture's FoodData Central system.
'Black Bean Paste' was not found in FoodData Central, so nutritional data for 'Soup, black bean, canned, condensed ' was used instead under Cast Iron Keto's editorial and research standards.

Health Implications of Black Bean Paste on a Keto Diet

On a ketogenic diet, the primary challenge of incorporating Black Bean Paste is maintaining ketosis. As we've mentioned, the high net carb content can quickly consume a large portion of your daily carb limit, potentially disrupting the metabolic state of ketosis that is central to the ketogenic diet. But what does this mean for your health on a keto diet?

First, it's important to recognize that Black Bean Paste, while high in carbs, does offer a range of nutritional benefits. It is rich in protein, fiber, and contains several key vitamins and minerals, such as iron and potassium. These nutrients contribute to overall health and wellness, supporting functions such as immune health, digestive health, and heart health.

However, on a keto diet, the goal is to burn fats rather than carbs for energy. Consuming foods high in net carbs, like Black Bean Paste, can cause your body to switch back to burning carbs for energy, kicking you out of ketosis. This not only defeats the purpose of the keto diet but may also lead to potential side effects like fatigue or brain fog as your body shifts between energy sources.

This doesn't mean that Black Bean Paste is unhealthy—it simply means that it's not ideally suited for a keto diet. If you're not on a strict keto diet and are simply aiming for a lower-carb, higher-fat diet, you might be able to include small amounts of Black Bean Paste occasionally, but it would be best to consult with a healthcare provider or dietitian first.

Avoiding Black Bean Paste in Your Keto Meal Plan

Navigating through a keto diet can sometimes seem like a culinary minefield, especially when you're trying to accommodate your taste buds without compromising your diet plan. If you're following a strict keto diet, it's essential to avoid high-carb foods, including Black Bean Paste. But how can you make sure that Black Bean Paste doesn't find its way onto your plate?

Firstly, start by thoroughly reading food labels when you're shopping. Black Bean Paste is a common ingredient in many Asian cuisines, and it could be hidden in ready-made sauces, marinades, or dishes that you might assume are keto-friendly.

If you're dining out, particularly at Asian restaurants, be mindful of the dishes you order. Ask about the ingredients and request that high-carb ingredients like Black Bean Paste be left out of your dish if possible.

Craving that rich, savory taste of Black Bean Paste? Don't worry, it's natural to occasionally crave foods that are off-limits on your diet. Finding low-carb alternatives or using spices and seasonings that provide a similar umami flavor can help you overcome these cravings. For example, a combination of sautéed mushrooms and a dash of soy sauce can emulate the rich flavor profile of Black Bean Paste.

Another tip is to plan and prepare your meals ahead of time. By cooking at home, you have complete control over what goes into your dishes, allowing you to steer clear of Black Bean Paste and other high-carb ingredients.

Keto-Compatible Alternatives for Black Bean Paste

Given the high net carb content of Black Bean Paste, it's not the most keto-friendly option. However, there are alternatives available that can provide similar flavors while adhering to the guidelines of a ketogenic diet. Let's explore some of these options.

Firstly, consider using Mushroom Paste, a low-carb alternative that can mimic the umami flavor of Black Bean Paste. It's rich in flavor, low in carbs, and can be used in a variety of dishes. For example, you could use it as a base for a keto-friendly stir-fry or a marinade for meats.

Another option is Soybean Paste, which, while still having some carbs, is lower in net carbs than Black Bean Paste. It offers a robust flavor similar to Black Bean Paste and can be used in soups, stews, or sauces. A 100g serving of Soybean Paste typically contains about 6g of net carbs - lower than the 8.62g found in the same amount of Black Bean Paste.

Lastly, Tomato Paste can also serve as a good substitute in some recipes. While it doesn't provide the same flavor profile as Black Bean Paste, it has a lower net carb content and can be used in a variety of dishes to provide depth and richness. A 100g serving of Tomato Paste contains about 13.4g of net carbs, and given that you usually use it sparingly in recipes, it can be a viable option.

When making the shift to these alternatives, remember to adjust the quantities accordingly to match your taste preferences and keep your carb intake within ketogenic levels.

Concluding Thoughts on Black Bean Paste and Keto

Black Bean Paste, with its rich flavor and nutritional benefits, is a common ingredient in many Asian cuisines. However, as we've discussed, the high net carb content makes it a challenging food to include in a strict ketogenic diet. Even small amounts of Black Bean Paste can contribute significantly to your daily carb limit, potentially disrupting the metabolic state of ketosis—key to the effectiveness of a keto diet.

While Black Bean Paste does offer several health benefits, including high protein, fiber, and key vitamins and minerals, it's crucial to balance these benefits against your dietary goals. If your aim is to maintain ketosis, alternatives like Mushroom Paste, Soybean Paste, or even Tomato Paste can be more suitable, offering similar richness and depth of flavor with fewer net carbs.

Embracing a ketogenic diet requires careful meal planning, thorough label reading, and a deep understanding of macronutrients, especially carbs. However, it also opens up an opportunity for culinary creativity, as you experiment with new, keto-friendly ingredients.

Lastly, remember that every individual's dietary needs and health goals are unique. The ketogenic diet is not one-size-fits-all, and what works best for one person might not work for another. For instance, you may choose to follow a less strict low-carb, high-fat diet where the occasional use of Black Bean Paste could be accommodated.

Consider trying recipes and flavors you'd never considered before. For example, mixing spices like cumin, coriander, or paprika with your chosen alternative to Black Bean Paste might create a new favorite dish while keeping your carbs in check.

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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.


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Frequently Asked Questions

No, due to its high net carb content, Black Bean Paste is not typically compatible with a strict ketogenic diet as it may disrupt the state of ketosis.

Yes, some low-carb alternatives to Black Bean Paste include Mushroom Paste, Soybean Paste, and in some cases, Tomato Paste. These alternatives offer similar richness and depth of flavor with fewer net carbs.