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Is Mung Bean Paste Keto-Friendly?

Mung Bean Paste on a kitchen counter

Navigating the ketogenic diet involves knowing which foods fit within its low-carb, high-fat guidelines and which do not.

One such food that often comes into question is mung bean paste.

Although it is packed with nutritional benefits, the high net carb content of mung bean paste poses challenges for those trying to maintain ketosis, leading us to conclude that it is not a keto-friendly option.

However, there are viable alternatives available that can help keep your meals diverse and exciting while adhering to your ketogenic lifestyle.

In this article, we'll delve deeper into the carbohydrate content of mung bean paste, its health implications for those on a keto diet, practical tips to avoid it, and discuss some keto-compatible alternatives.


  • Mung bean paste, due to its high net carb content, is not keto-friendly.
  • Its consumption can disrupt ketosis, leading to side effects like fatigue and sugar cravings.
  • There are keto-compatible alternatives like almond butter and chia seed paste that provide nutritional benefits and versatility in cooking.

Is Mung Bean Paste Keto-Friendly?

Let's cut to the chase and tackle the million-dollar question: Is mung bean paste keto-friendly? To answer this, we have to delve into the fundamentals of a ketogenic diet and the nutritional composition of mung bean paste.

The ketogenic diet is a regimen that promotes high fat, moderate protein, and very low carbohydrate intake. The goal is to shift your body's metabolism to burn fats for fuel instead of carbs, a state referred to as ketosis. Therefore, foods consumed while following a keto diet should ideally contain a minimal amount of net carbohydrates.

Now, when we look at mung bean paste, it presents quite a different story. It contains 11.55 grams of net carbs per 100 grams. Net carbs are the total amount of carbohydrates minus dietary fiber. While this might not seem like an astronomical number at first glance, when compared to the typical daily carb limit on a ketogenic diet, which ranges from 20 to 50 grams per day, the numbers start to add up quickly.

This essentially means if you were to consume 100 grams of mung bean paste, it could potentially exhaust more than half, if not all, of your daily carbohydrate allowance, depending on the strictness of your keto regimen.

It's also important to bear in mind that the ketogenic diet isn't just about keeping your carb intake low, but about achieving a balance between your carb, protein, and fat intake. This balance is crucial for maintaining a state of ketosis, and thus, the high carb content in mung bean paste could potentially disrupt this balance.

In light of these facts, it becomes clear that mung bean paste and keto diet don't exactly make the perfect pair. It's not about labelling mung bean paste as 'bad', but more about understanding how its nutritional profile aligns, or in this case, does not align with the fundamentals of a ketogenic diet.

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

When we talk about a strict keto diet, we're looking at a dietary approach that rigidly adheres to a low-carb, high-fat, and moderate-protein macronutrient distribution. This means keeping the daily net carb intake between 20 and 50 grams, to ensure the body remains in a state of ketosis. Given this context, incorporating mung bean paste into a strict keto diet becomes a significant challenge.

The high net carb content in mung bean paste, with 11.55 grams per 100 grams, makes it a tricky ingredient for anyone adhering strictly to a ketogenic lifestyle. It's not that you couldn't consume any mung bean paste, but the portion would have to be extremely small to prevent it from overwhelming your daily carb limit. However, the tiny amount might not be satisfying or worth the effort, especially when there are other more keto-friendly food alternatives.

In considering whether mung bean paste can fit into your keto plan, it's important to keep track of your daily carb intake meticulously. There are numerous apps and online tools that can assist you in logging your food and tracking your macronutrients. These tools can provide an overview of your daily intake and flag foods, like mung bean paste, that may jeopardize your state of ketosis.

Furthermore, consider planning your meals ahead of time. This helps you control portion sizes and ensure that your meals align with your keto requirements. A well-thought-out meal plan can be a lifesaver when you're trying to maintain a strict regimen like keto.

Delving into the Carbohydrate Content of Mung Bean Paste

Understanding the carbohydrate content of mung bean paste is essential for those on a ketogenic diet. As we've previously noted, mung bean paste contains 11.55 grams of net carbs per 100 grams. But what does this really mean, and how does it impact those on a ketogenic diet?

Let's start by breaking down the concept of net carbs. Net carbs represent the total carbohydrates in a food minus its dietary fiber content. The reason we subtract fiber is because it's a type of carbohydrate that the body can't digest, hence it doesn't contribute to the blood sugar levels or disrupt the state of ketosis. Consequently, when following a ketogenic diet, it's the net carbs that matter the most.

Now, let's translate this into real-world serving sizes of mung bean paste. If you were to consume a typical serving size of mung bean paste, let's say around 50 grams (approximately three tablespoons), you'd be consuming around 5.78 grams of net carbs. But remember, on a strict ketogenic diet, your daily net carb intake should ideally not exceed 20 to 50 grams. So, even a modest serving of mung bean paste can take up a substantial chunk of your daily carb limit.

To put this into perspective, let's say you're sticking to the lower end of the keto carb limit, around 20 grams of net carbs per day. If you were to include a 50-gram serving of mung bean paste in your diet, it would constitute nearly 29% of your daily carb allowance. This doesn't leave much room for incorporating other foods, particularly vegetables, nuts, seeds, or dairy, which also contain some amount of net carbs.

Nutritional Snapshot of Mung Bean Paste

Mung Bean Paste, with its rich and varied nutritional profile, presents a beneficial option for those seeking healthful components in their diet. In a 100g sample, we observe a broad range of both macro and micronutrients.

The paste is moderately low in net carbs (11.55g), making it a consideration for those monitoring carbohydrate intake. As a source of plant-based protein, it offers 7.02g per 100g, contributing to daily protein needs. The paste is also notably low in total fats, at just 0.38g.

On the micronutrient level, Mung Bean Paste is particularly impressive, showcasing an array of vitamins and minerals. Vitamins include a presence of Vitamin A, B-6, C, E, and K1, all of which are crucial to various bodily functions. It also contains B-vitamins such as Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, and Pantothenic acid, which play a pivotal role in energy production and cognitive function.

Mineral content is equally commendable, with elements like Potassium, Magnesium, Calcium, and Iron. Potassium and Magnesium are known for their role in heart health, while Calcium and Iron are essential for bone health and oxygen transportation, respectively. The paste also contains notable amounts of Phosphorus, Copper, Zinc, and Selenium.

One of the unique features of Mung Bean Paste is its high water content, which stands at 72.66g per 100g. This characteristic contributes to its hydrating properties. It also boasts an impressive spectrum of amino acids, including essential ones like Leucine, Isoleucine, and Lysine, which are crucial for protein synthesis and other bodily functions.

Nutrient NameAmount and Unit per 100g
Net Carbs 11.55g
Carbohydrate, by difference 19.15g
Fiber, total dietary 7.6g
Total fats 0.38g
Protein 7.02g
Sodium, Na 238.0mg
Potassium, K 266.0mg
Magnesium, Mg 48.0mg
Calcium, Ca 27.0mg
Vitamin A 1.0ug
Vitamin B-6 0.07mg
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid 1.0mg
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) 0.15mg
Vitamin K1 2.7ug
Copper, Cu 0.16mg
Iron, Fe 1.4mg
Phosphorus, P 99.0mg
Selenium, Se 2.5ug
Zinc, Zn 0.84mg
Beta-carotene 14.0ug
Manganese, Mn 0.3mg
Thiamin 0.16mg
Riboflavin 0.06mg
Niacin 0.58mg
Pantothenic acid 0.41mg
Folate, total 159.0ug
Choline, total 29.4mg
Calories 105.0kcal
Water 72.66g
Tryptophan 0.08g
Threonine 0.23g
Isoleucine 0.3g
Leucine 0.54g
Lysine 0.49g
Methionine 0.08g
Cystine 0.06g
Phenylalanine 0.42g
Tyrosine 0.21g
Valine 0.36g
Arginine 0.49g
Histidine 0.2g
Alanine 0.31g
Aspartic acid 0.81g
Glutamic acid 1.26g
Glycine 0.28g
Proline 0.32g
Serine 0.35g
Fatty acids, total saturated 0.12g
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated 0.05g
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated 0.13g
This data was provided by the US Department of Agriculture's FoodData Central system.
'Mung Bean Paste' was not found in FoodData Central, so nutritional data for 'Mung beans, mature seeds, cooked, boiled, with salt ' was used instead under Cast Iron Keto's editorial and research standards.

Health Implications of Mung Bean Paste on a Keto Diet

While we've established that mung bean paste's high carb content makes it a less than ideal choice for a ketogenic diet, it's essential to understand the potential health implications of including it in your keto regime.

On a keto diet, the primary goal is to keep the body in a state of ketosis, where it metabolizes fats for energy instead of carbohydrates. If an individual on a keto diet were to consume mung bean paste in quantities significant enough to exceed their daily carb limit, they risk disrupting this metabolic state. This displacement from ketosis can lead to an array of unwanted side effects, like fatigue, brain fog, sugar cravings, and a halt in progress if the goal is to maintain a ketogenic state for health reasons.

But it's also important to note that mung bean paste isn't a 'bad' food by any means. It comes packed with numerous nutrients that contribute significantly to overall health and wellness. It's rich in protein, a crucial macronutrient for muscle growth and repair. It's also a good source of dietary fiber, which aids in digestion and helps maintain a healthy gut.

Moreover, mung bean paste contains essential minerals like potassium and magnesium. Potassium is vital for nerve function and heart health, while magnesium plays a crucial role in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body, including energy production and DNA synthesis.

Avoiding Mung Bean Paste in Your Keto Meal Plan

Navigating a ketogenic diet can be challenging, especially when it comes to excluding certain foods that do not align with this low-carb lifestyle, like mung bean paste. However, with a few practical tips and strategies, avoiding mung bean paste in your keto meal plan can be made simpler.

Firstly, it's essential to be aware of what you're eating. Mung bean paste is a common ingredient in many Asian dishes, often used as a filling in sweet treats like mooncakes or as a base for sauces and dips. So, always be sure to check the ingredients of any prepared food you consume.

Next, planning your meals in advance can be a great strategy to avoid unintentionally including high-carb foods like mung bean paste in your diet. When you're in control of what you're cooking, you can ensure your meals align with your keto requirements.

Another critical aspect is learning how to manage food cravings. If you find yourself yearning for some mung bean paste, try to identify the specific flavor or texture you're craving. Is it the sweetness? The smooth texture? Once you've identified what you're missing, you can then find keto-friendly substitutes that can satisfy your cravings. For example, if it's the sweetness you're after, you could opt for a small serving of berries or a keto-friendly dessert made with a sweetener like stevia or erythritol.

Lastly, focusing on the wide range of keto-friendly foods you can eat, rather than dwelling on what you can't, can make sticking to your meal plan more enjoyable. Just because mung bean paste is off the menu doesn't mean you can't delight in a variety of delicious and nutritious foods like avocados, leafy greens, fatty fish, and nuts.

Keto-Compatible Alternatives for Mung Bean Paste

If you're on a ketogenic diet and looking for alternatives to mung bean paste, you're in luck. There are several low-carb options that can effectively replace mung bean paste in various dishes without knocking you out of ketosis.

One such alternative is almond butter. With its creamy texture, it can mimic the consistency of mung bean paste in many recipes. Almond butter contains only 3 grams of net carbs per two tablespoons serving, making it a much more keto-friendly choice. It can be used as a filling in low-carb pastries or as a base for keto-friendly sauces.

Another fantastic substitute is chia seed paste. Made by mixing chia seeds with water, it forms a gel-like consistency similar to mung bean paste. Chia seeds are high in fiber and only have 2 grams of net carbs per two tablespoons serving.

Flaxseed paste, made in a similar way to chia seed paste, is another keto-friendly alternative. Just two tablespoons of ground flaxseeds contain around 0.2 grams of net carbs, making it one of the most keto-friendly options out there. It can be used as a thickening agent in sauces or as a binder in keto-friendly baking.

These alternatives not only help keep your carb intake in check but also offer their own unique health benefits. Almond butter is a good source of magnesium and vitamin E, while chia seeds and flaxseeds are rich in fiber and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

Remember, while these alternatives can help replicate the texture of mung bean paste, they won't provide the same flavor. You may need to experiment with additional low-carb ingredients to achieve the desired taste in your dishes.

Concluding Thoughts on Mung Bean Paste and Keto

Navigating the ketogenic diet means making informed food choices that align with the low-carb, high-fat principles of this dietary approach. While mung bean paste is notably high in net carbs and poses challenges for maintaining ketosis, it's not without its merits in a broader nutritional context.

Mung bean paste, with its protein richness and content of essential minerals like potassium and magnesium, contributes significantly to overall health. The challenge lies in balancing these nutritional benefits with the requirements of the ketogenic diet, which emphasizes drastically reduced carbohydrate intake.

Substitutions can play a key role here. Alternatives like almond butter, chia seed paste, and flaxseed paste not only help you stay within your carb limits but also bring their own unique nutritional benefits. These alternatives offer versatility and allow for creativity in the kitchen, making the keto journey more enjoyable.

It's worth noting that the role of any single ingredient, including mung bean paste, should be considered in the context of a varied and balanced diet. While it's crucial to follow the macronutrient distribution of your chosen diet strictly, it's equally essential to remember the broader objective of overall health and well-being.

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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

Mung bean paste is a popular ingredient in many Asian cuisines, often used as a filling in pastries or as a base for sauces and dips. It is made from mung beans that have been cooked and pureed.

Mung bean paste is high in net carbohydrates, which can disrupt the state of ketosis that is the basis of a ketogenic diet.