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Keto-Friendly Lentils: Myth or Reality?

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are lentils keto friendly

Many people on keto wonder if they can still enjoy lentils. Lentils are packed with protein and fiber but also high in carbs. This blog will explore whether there’s room for lentils in a keto diet without breaking your carb limit.

Keep reading to uncover the truth!

Key Takeaways

  • Lentils have a lot of carbs, making them a poor choice for keto diets. One cup has about 36 to 40 grams of net carbs.
  • Beans like lupini beans, edamame, and soybeans are better for keto because they have fewer carbs.
  • Soybeans have only 9 grams of net carbs per cup and lots of protein, which is good for people eating low-carb.

Understanding Lentils and Keto Diet

Lentils are a popular legume known for their high protein and fiber content, but also contain a significant amount of carbohydrates. In this section, we will explore the carbohydrate content in lentils and their overall nutrient profile to determine if they can be included in a keto diet.

Carbohydrate content in lentils

Understanding the carbohydrate content in lentils is crucial for those on a keto diet. Here’s a breakdown in HTML table format:

Type of LentilTotal CarbohydratesNet Carbohydrates
Cooked Lentils (1 cup)40 grams36 grams*
Puy Lentils (1 cup)Similar to cooked lentilsHigh
Yellow Lentils (1 cup)HighHigh
Red Lentils (1 cup)HighHigh
*Net carbohydrates are calculated by subtracting fiber from total carbohydrates. However, even with fiber deducted, the net carbohydrate count remains high, making lentils a poor choice for those following a ketogenic diet. Therefore, despite their protein and fiber content, individuals following a strict low-carb or keto diet should avoid lentils.

Nutrients in lentils

Lentils are rich in essential nutrients, such as protein, fiber, iron, and folate. They are a good source of plant-based protein and provide about 18 grams of protein per cooked cup. Lentils contain significant amounts of dietary fiber, approximately 16 grams per cup. These legumes also offer critical minerals like iron and folate, which are vital in supporting overall health.

Furthermore, lentils are a great source of complex carbohydrates that release energy slowly and steadily into the body. They also contain various vitamins like B vitamins, including folate and thiamine. Despite their high carbohydrate content making them unsuitable for keto diets due to their net carb count, lentils offer an array of valuable nutrients important for a balanced diet.

Can Lentils Be Part of the Keto Diet?

Lentils can be part of the keto diet, but it’s important to consider their carbohydrate content. Comparing lentils to other legumes and calculating their net carbs can help determine if they fit into a low-carb, high-fat diet.

Comparing lentils to other legumes

Lentils, known for their high carbohydrate content, are not the best option for a keto diet. On the other hand, legumes like lupini beans and edamame contain lower net carbohydrates than lentils. Also, soybeans can be an alternative as they are low in carbs and protein.

Chickpeas and quinoa, compared to lentils, both have higher carb contents. However, these options provide more fiber and less saturated fat than lentils, making them slightly better choices for low-carb diets.

Net carbs in lentils

Lentils have a high carbohydrate content, with one cup of cooked lentils providing around 36 to 40 grams of carbs. This amount makes it challenging to fit them into a low-carb or keto diet, as they exceed the typical daily carb intake.

Due to their net carbohydrate content, lentils are not considered suitable for those aiming to achieve ketosis or maintain a low-carb lifestyle. Despite being rich in protein and fiber, lentils do not align with a keto diet’s macro-friendly and carb-conscious requirements.

Keto-Friendly Alternatives to Lentils

Consider trying lupini beans, edamame, and soybeans as keto-friendly lentil alternatives. These legumes are lower in net carbs and can be incorporated into your low-carb diet while still providing a good source of protein and nutrients.

Lupini beans

Lupini beans, or lupin beans, are a keto-friendly alternative to lentils. They are low in net carbs and high in protein, making them suitable for a low-carb or keto diet.

One cup of cooked lupini beans contains about 11 grams of carbohydrates and an impressive 26 grams of protein, aligning well with the macro needs of those on a ketogenic diet. Additionally, they are rich in fiber and other nutrients such as iron and magnesium, further enhancing their suitability for a low-carb lifestyle.

Edamame is another excellent option for those following a keto diet. With only around 8 grams of net carbs per cup, edamame provides significant amounts of plant-based protein while being relatively low in carbohydrates.


Edamame, or young soybeans, are a keto-friendly alternative to lentils. They are low in net carbs and high in protein, making them suitable for a low-carb or ketogenic diet. With only 8 grams of net carbs per cup, edamame provides a good source of plant-based protein and essential nutrients.

These green pods are also fiber-rich and low on the glycemic index, making them an excellent choice for those looking to manage their blood sugar levels while following a carb-conscious diet.

Soybeans, including edamame, serve as macro-friendly legumes that can be incorporated into various keto recipes as a substitute for high-carb ingredients like lentils. Additionally, soybeans offer versatility in cooking and can be enjoyed steamed as a snack or added to salads and stir-fries.


Soybeans are a keto-friendly legume with significantly lower net carbohydrate content than lentils. One cup of cooked soybeans contains about 9 grams of net carbs, making them suitable for those following a low-carb or keto diet.

Additionally, soybeans are high in protein and fiber, which can help support weight loss on the keto diet. Therefore, incorporating soybeans into meals can provide essential nutrients while maintaining carb-consciousness.

Soybeans offer a versatile alternative to lentils for individuals looking to maintain ketosis and blood sugar levels while enjoying legumes. Edamame is another excellent substitute that aligns with the low-glycemic requirements of the keto diet.


In conclusion, lentils are not keto-friendly due to their high carbohydrate content. While they are nutritious and high in protein, they are unsuitable for a low-carb or keto diet.

It’s essential for those following a ketogenic diet to explore alternative legumes like lupini beans, edamame, and soybeans. Regarding keto-friendly options, lentils may not be cut after all.


What makes a food keto-friendly?

A keto-friendly food is low in carbs but can have higher amounts of fat and protein. This helps people on a keto diet to keep their bodies in ketosis, a state where they burn fat for energy.

Can I eat lentils on a low-carb diet like keto?

Most lentils are high in carbs, which means they’re not the best choice for a strict keto diet focused on very low carb intake.

Are there any legumes that work well with the keto diet?

Yes, there are some low-carb legumes and high-protein beans that might fit into a more relaxed version of the keto diet or be good for someone just looking to lower their carb intake.

Will eating lentils stop my body from staying in ketosis?

Because most lentils have high carb content, eating them could take your body out of ketosis. It’s important to watch your portion size or choose legume alternatives for keto if you want to stay in ketosis.

Do red lentils have fewer carbs than other types?

Red lentils still have carbs but might have slightly less than other types when we look at net carbs (total carbs minus fiber). Still, you should check how much you can eat without going over your daily carb limit on a ketogenic diet.