Exploring the Keto Diet: Are Beans Keto Friendly?

by | Jun 30, 2023

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Are beans keto? This is something that often gets asked by people on a keto diet.

While some believe that the high carbohydrate content makes beans unsuitable for a standard ketogenic diet, others argue that certain types are indeed keto-friendly.

This post aims to shed light on this topic and provide you with accurate information about various types of beans and their carb counts.

We’ll also discuss how to incorporate low-carb beans into your keto diet and explore alternatives to high-carb ones.

If you’re serious about maintaining your ketogenic lifestyle, it’s crucial to understand what foods fit within your daily carbohydrate intake limit.

So, let’s dive right in and find out – are beans really keto?

Understanding the Keto Diet and Carbs

Welcome to the world of keto dieting, where carbs are not your best friends. But hey, don’t fret. We’re here to help you traverse this new terrain.

The ketogenic or keto diet is a low-carb, high-fat meal plan that has gained popularity for its potential health benefits such as weight loss and improved blood sugar control.

The golden rule? Keep your daily intake of carbohydrates below fifty grams. Even better if you can limit it to under 25 grams of net carbs (total carbs minus fiber and sugar alcohols).

Sounds challenging, right? Especially when beans enter the picture with their inherent carb content.

But before we dive into that bean bowl, let’s understand what these ‘net’ and ‘total’ carbs mean in relation to our beloved legumes.

Total Carbs vs Net Carbs: The Battle Within Beans

‘Total carbohydrates’ refers to all types of carbs found in food including sugars, fibers, and starches while ‘Net carbohydrates’ are those which affect your blood glucose levels i.e., total carbohydrates minus dietary fiber and sugar alcohols.

A Bean-y Situation on a Keto Diet?

If you’re thinking “Beans have been my go-to protein source for years; now what?”, worry not.

We’ll help navigate this new culinary landscape by exploring how different varieties of beans fit into a keto-friendly lifestyle, considering their carbohydrate content.

Keto-Friendly Beans: Fact or Fiction?

All beans aren’t created equal, at least from a keto perspective. Some varieties, like green beans or black soybeans, may be more compatible with your low-carb goals than others due to their lower net carb count.

Busting Myths about Black Soybeans

You might’ve heard some whispers about black soybeans being controversial despite having fewer net carbs because they could potentially mess up hormone balance. 

Stay tuned as we delve deeper into this debate based on existing research studies later in this article.

In the meantime, remember: Always check labels for hidden sugars, especially when buying packaged bean products like baked beans which often contain added sweeteners, increasing the overall carbohydrate count drastically.

Carb Counts in Different Types of Beans

But are they good for your keto diet?

The answer is a resounding…it depends.

Total Carbs vs Net Carbs:

In the keto realm, not all carbohydrates are alike. You have total carbs and net carbs.

Total carbs include every type of carbohydrate present in food – including fiber.

Net carbs are determined by subtracting dietary fiber from the total amount of carbohydrates since our bodies can’t process it as a carb.

Green Beans

If you’re going green with envy over non-keto dieters enjoying their beans, worry no more. Green beans come to the rescue with only 4 grams of net carbs per half-cup serving, according to the USDA’s FoodData Central.

Black Soybeans

Moving onto black soybeans, which may be less known but pack quite a punch when it comes to being keto-friendly. With just 1 gram of net carb per half cup (as reported by Eden Foods), these can be your new best friend on this low-carb journey.

Baked Beans

Last but not least, we have baked beans – the darling at BBQs and picnics. However, these sweet delights often contain added sugars, making them high in both total and net carbohydrates – around 22 grams per half-cup serving (sorry folks.).

So unless you make them yourself using sugar substitutes or find brands that do so, like Heinz No Sugar Added Baked Beans, it might be wise to skip these at your next cookout if you’re following strict Keto guidelines.

You must always remember that portion sizes matter, even with lower-carb options like green beans or black soybeans; keep servings limited to about half a cup each time.

And yes. Always check labels before buying any packaged products because sneaky sugars could be hiding there, trying to sabotage your ketogenic goals.

Incorporating Low-Carb Beans into Your Keto Diet

Yes, you heard it right. You can still enjoy beans on a keto diet.

But remember, not all heroes wear capes, and not all beans are created equal. Let’s talk about the low-carb champions in the bean world.

Preparing Bean Dips with Black Soybeans

Black soybeans, my friend, are your new best buddies. They’re like regular soybeans, but dressed in black and packing only 1 gram of net carbs per half-cup serving.

Their mild flavor makes them perfect for dips. Here’s how to make one:

  1. Rinse canned black soybeans thoroughly under cold water.
  2. Saute garlic and onions until golden brown, then add the rinsed beans along with some spices (think cumin or chili powder).
  3. Cook until heated through, then blend everything together till smooth.

Using Green Beans as Vegetable Substitute

Moving onto another star player – green beans. They’re light on carbs (just 4 grams of net carbs per half-cup), making them an excellent addition to your keto meal plan.

Saute or steam the green beans lightly for a veggie substitute, then add them to salads and stir-fries. 

You could also roast them with olive oil, salt & pepper for a crunchy snack.

A Word Of Caution: Portion Control Is Key

No matter which bean you choose from our low-carb line-up, always keep portion sizes in check because even these good guys can kick you out of ketosis if overdone.

Your Takeaway?

Keto doesn’t mean kissing goodbye to all legumes forever. With smart choices like black soybeans and green beans coupled with mindful portion control – you’ve got yourself some tasty options that won’t derail your ketogenic goals.

Please consult a registered dietitian before incorporating any major changes into your diet.

Controversy Surrounding Consumption of Black Soybeans on the Keto Diet

If you’re following a keto diet, you’ve probably heard about the controversial black soybean.

Yes, it’s low in carbs and can be incorporated into your ketogenic meal plan. However, there’s an ongoing debate that might make you reconsider.

The Hormone Balance Controversy

Soy products like black soybeans are under scrutiny due to their potential effects on hormone balance.

Phytoestrogens, plant compounds that act like estrogen in the body, are present in soy products such as black soybeans and have raised questions about their potential impact on hormone balance.

You may wonder if consuming these could disrupt your hormonal equilibrium and cause health issues?

Mayo Clinic discusses this further. Most concur that further exploration is necessary to make definite decisions about the matter.

Beware Of Hidden Sugars In Packaged Bean Products

But wait. Before you start belting out the rest of that childhood rhyme and reaching for a can from your pantry, let’s talk about sneaky sugars in packaged bean products.

Sugar-Coated Truth About Beans

Packaged beans often come with an unexpected sidekick – added sugar. That innocent-looking can of baked beans? It could be hiding more carbs than a slice of pizza.

Don’t believe me? Check out this enlightening piece on hidden sugars in foods.

The Sneaky Label Trick You Need to Know 

Food manufacturers are crafty creatures. They know ‘sugar’ is a red flag for many health-conscious consumers like yourself. 

So instead, they use terms like ‘corn syrup’, ‘maltose’, or even ‘organic cane juice’.

This clever guide on decoding food labels will help you uncover these hidden sugars.

The Great Baked Beans Betrayal

A classic example is baked beans – those sweet little nuggets might seem harmless but most brands add significant amounts of sugar during processing.

Finding The Right Balance On A Keto Diet

You don’t have to banish all canned goods from your keto kitchen though. Just be vigilant when shopping and always check the label before tossing it into your cart.

Your Action Plan: Become A Label Detective

  1. Ditch the front-of-package claims (they’re mostly marketing hype).
  2. Flip over to the nutrition facts panel – this is where truth resides.
  3. Note down total carbohydrates AND dietary fiber (you’ll need both numbers later).
  4. Cruise through ingredients list – beware if any form of sugar appears within the first five items.

This simple yet effective strategy ensures no sneaky sugars slip past your radar. So next time you find yourself humming “beans, beans…”, remember – not all cans are created equal.

Alternatives To High-Carb Beans For A Ketogenic Meal Plan

If you’re looking to keep your ketogenic goals on track, there are several promising alternatives that offer similar texture without compromising taste. Let’s dive into these substitutes.

Mushrooms As An Alternative To High Carb Beans

Mushrooms, with their meaty texture and umami flavor, can be a fantastic substitute for beans in many dishes. 

Whether sauteed, grilled, or roasted, they bring a hearty element to any meal. Check out this stuffed mushroom recipe for inspiration.

Eggplant Based Recipes That Mimic The Texture Of Cooked Legumes

Eggplants have a unique ability to absorb flavors while providing a satisfyingly chunky bite – making them an excellent stand-in for legumes in stews and curries. Here’s an amazing spicy vegan eggplant curry recipe.

Avocado – The Perfect Substitute For Refried Bean Dip

Avocados, rich in healthy fats and fiber but low in carbs, make the perfect keto-friendly alternative to refried bean dip. 

Try whipping up some homemade guacamole for a delicious, keto-friendly alternative to refried bean dip. This simple yet delicious guacamole recipe would do just fine.

Ground Meat Varieties That Can Replace Legumes In Soups And Chilis

You might not think of it immediately as a replacement for beans, but ground meat varieties like beef or turkey can add protein-packed substance to soups and chilies. Check out this keto chili recipe without beans.

Boiled Peanuts – Not Just Nuts But Also A Member Of The Legume Family.

Last but not least, “boiled peanuts”. They may sound unusual, but these little guys are actually part of the legume family themselves. 

With fewer carbs than most other nuts, they could serve as another interesting alternative. Here is how you can prepare your own batch of Southern boiled peanuts.

FAQs in Relation to Are Beans Keto

Are beans allowed on the keto diet? No, most types of beans are not typically allowed on a ketogenic diet due to their high carbohydrate content.

What beans are safe for keto?

The only exceptions are green beans and black soybeans, which have lower carb counts. 

You can learn more about these in our articles on green beans and black soybeans.

Are beans too high in carbs?

Yes, most varieties of beans contain significant amounts of carbohydrates, making them unsuitable for a low-carb or ketogenic diet.

Why are legumes not allowed in keto?

Legumes, including most types of beans, tend to be high in carbs, which can interfere with ketosis – the metabolic state that makes the keto diet effective.


After grasping the keto diet basics and its obsession with low-carb intake, we’ve delved into the carb counts of different bean varieties. 

Green beans are a keto winner with their low carb content, but black soybeans stir up some controversy due to their higher carb count, despite their health perks. 

Beware of sneaky sugars in packaged bean products when incorporating them into your keto meal plan.

If you’re on the hunt for low-carb bean alternatives, mushrooms step up to the plate with their meaty texture, while eggplant-based recipes can imitate the cooked legume experience. 

Avocado makes a perfect substitute for refried bean dip, and ground meat varieties can take the place of legumes in soups and chilis. 

Written By SEODave777

David Nilsson is the founder of The SEO Back Office and former SEO agency Converted Click. Passionate about people, search engines, faith, technology and boxing.

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