Can You Eat Beans on the Keto Diet?

are beans safe for the keto diet

One of the biggest problems for people who decide to adhere to a ketogenic diet is knowing what foods are good to eat and what foods to avoid.

Most people know that a keto diet means restricting their consumption of carbohydrates and processed foods to a minimum. But for many people, it is not so easy to figure out if they can eat beans on the keto diet. On one hand, bean dishes are filled with healthy fiber and protein.

But does the carb content of this otherwise healthy food make it unsuitable for the keto diet?

In this article, we are going to look at if beans are safe for the keto diet.

Are Beans Safe for the Keto Diet?

Beans have been cultivated by people for food since the beginning of time. The list of beneficial ingredients contained in bean dishes includes soluble fiber, protein, carbohydrates, iron, and folate. The macronutrient content of beans would seem to make them a great part of any diet plan.

However, there are a few concerns for people who consume bean dishes as a regular part of their diets:

  • Phytate – Phosphorus is stored in the bean as phytic acid. Phytates can negatively affect your body’s ability to absorb many of the essential minerals your body needs.
  • Protease Inhibitors – Protease is an enzyme in the body that blocks protein and is inhibited by compounds contained in the bean. The lack of protease can also result in leaky gut.
  • Lectin – Lectin is a natural pesticide that provides plants with natural protection against organisms that seek to harm them. Lectin is highly present in bean products. Lectins also play a role in causing gut problems in people.

It is important to understand that the number of toxins in your bean dishes will be greatly affected by the way they are prepared. Proper preparation can guarantee you consume little or none of the potentially harmful toxins discussed above.

The Truth About The Bean and a Ketogenic Diet

The bean is like many types of food in that there are a lot of variations. Some bean types are not too bad when consumed as part of a ketogenic diet. While other bean types should be avoided by any means necessary.

The basis of the ketogenic diet philosophy is to lower your carbohydrate consumption to the point that your body has no choice but to burn fat for fuel. Many bean types are carb-heavy and not suitable to be consumed regularly by people who live a keto lifestyle.

safe bean for keto diet

The following bean types are suitable as part of a ketogenic diet:

  • Black Bean – Black bean should be avoided by anyone who is serious about their keto efforts. The amount of carbohydrates in the black bean is sure to kick you out of ketosis. A 50 gram serving of black bean contains 31 grams of carbs.
  • Pinto Bean – The pinto bean is nearly as bad as the black bean with 47 grams of carbohydrates per 100 grams.
  • Red Kidney Bean – Red Kidney bean is high in protein but these benefits are lost to keto dieters due to the carb content of the bean. A 100 gram serving of red kidney bean contains 30 grams of carbohydrates.

Keto-Safe Beans

Bean lovers who wish to continue to eat beans on keto diet possess bean choices that will allow them to remain in ketosis after enjoying a bean dish. Two of these choices available to keto dieters include:

  • Lima Bean – The 10 grams of carbohydrates that are available in a 50 gram serving of Lima Bean makes the bean one of the most ketogenic bean choices available. The carb content in lima bean is even more impressive when it is taken into account that most of the carbs present in the bean are in the form of fiber.
  • Black Soybean – Black soybean is a favorite for keto dieters due to the 12 grams of carbs present in 100 grams of the bean. The fact that many of these carbs are in fiber form makes black soybean great to include as part of the keto diet.

Bean Alternatives for Keto-Dieters

People who love bean dishes are oftentimes attracted to their texture and the fact the bean is a great addition to a number of meals. The good news for bean lovers is that a number of bean alternatives exist that possess the same qualities. Two of the most popular bean alternatives are:

  • Enoki Mushrooms – Enoki mushrooms are available fresh or in a can. These mushrooms are perfect additions to salads and soups. Keto dieters will be excited to learn that Enoki mushrooms contain only 3 grams of net carbs in each serving.
  • Beanless Refried Bean – The list of ingredients needed to make beanless refried bean include zucchini, garlic, chili powder, onion, and other substances used for taste. This bean alternative contains 8 grams of carbohydrates per serving.

Can Bean Dishers Become a Regular Part of a Ketogenic Diet

Bean loves who find they are unable to part ways with one of their favorite foods may benefit from a simple solution that may remedy this problem. While it will always be true that the carbohydrate content in most bean dishes is too high to become a regular part of a conventional ketogenic diet approach, this may not be the case with Targeted Ketogenic Diets and Cyclical Ketogenic Diets.

Targeted Ketogenic Diet

The targeted ketogenic diet allows dieters to “load up” on carbs to fuel their workouts. This means on the days that you train or head to the gym it is permissible for you to eat a meal that includes your favorite bean dish. It is important to remember, however, that the TKD diet is for people who enjoy vigorous workouts. People who live a more sedentary lifestyle would do better for themselves by sticking with the standard ketogenic diet.

Cyclical Ketogenic Diet

Keto dieters who adhere to the cyclical ketogenic approach will eat as if they are using the standard ketogenic diet for five to six days per week. These dieters can then fuel up on carbs for one to two days. The CKD approach will take you out of keto as you ‘refuel’ on carbs but this is offset by the benefits you gain from consuming carbs for up to two days. Your favorite bean dish is perfect for this refueling period.

Both of these approaches to the ketogenic diet will allow you to refuel with your favorite bean dish and other carbohydrates for a restricted time period in order to replace your glycogen stores. These glycogen stores are needed to fuel muscle-building efforts and facilitate maximum athletic performance.

When Ketogenic Dieters Should Avoid Beans

By now it is becoming obvious that your favorite bean dish will quickly wreck your efforts to spend as much time as possible in the state of ketosis if you do not carefully manage the situation. It is also important to remember that a bean is not simply a bean when it comes to carbohydrate content. For the most part, ketogenic dieters should avoid bean dishes unless the following conditions are met

  • Your keto plan allows it – You should have no problem fitting the bean dishes you like into your meal plan if you are following either the CKD or TKD plan. This is especially true for keto dieters who are concerned with athletic performance and people who want to build muscle.
  • Your bean dishes include low-carb choices – If your bean dishes include the low-carb bean options discussed above, you will more than likely be able to maintain ketosis while enjoying the dish a couple of times each week. Remember that moderation is key for keto dieters who want to enjoy bean dishes from time to time.

The Bottom Line

Bean dishes have been a staple food in many societies for many centuries. But the high-carb content of most bean dishes makes them less than desirable for individuals who wish to adhere to a ketogenic diet plan.

Fortunately for true bean lovers, there are low-carb bean options you can use if you are one of the many people who find they cannot live without their bean dishes.

Also, if you adjust your ketogenic diet in the direction of the CKD or TKD philosophies, you can exercise more freedom over the bean dishes you consume. You only need to remember to do so in moderation.