Beans are generally considered a healthy food but contain some carbs, so it can be challenging to work them into a low-carb, high-fat keto diet. Most people on a keto diet aim to eat 50 grams or less of total carbs per day, or no more than 25 grams of net carbs, which is the total carbs minus the fiber and sugar alcohols. Here are some beans that are keto-friendly:
Green beans: On a strict keto diet, green beans are a good option as they are low in carbs and are typically prepared more like a vegetable than a bean.
Black soybeans: Black soybeans are another “keto bean” you can enjoy while following a low-carb diet. They are a great alternative to other starchier beans in soups, bean dips, refried beans, or other recipes.
Lima beans: Lima beans are a low-carbohydrate option that can be safely incorporated into a keto diet.
Edamame: Edamame is a low-carb, high-protein option that can be enjoyed on a keto diet.
Mung beans: Mung beans are the most keto-friendly beans to eat as they are the lowest in carbs.
Most other beans are too high in carbs to be staples on the keto diet. However, with careful planning, you can include small servings of beans.
Alternative Sources of Protein for a Keto Diet
If beans are not recommended on a keto diet, there are several alternative sources of protein that can be included. Here are some promising alternatives:
- Green beans: Green beans are low in carbs and can be used instead of beans in soups, stews, and chili to reduce their carb counts drastically.
- Black soybeans: Black soybeans are a great alternative to other starchier beans in soups, bean dips, refried beans, or other recipes. They are low in carbs and high in protein.
- Lupin beans: Lupin beans are a type of legume low in carbs and high in protein. They can be used instead of beans in salads, soups, and other dishes.
- Mushrooms: Cooked mushrooms are low in carbs and calories and can be used instead of beans in soups, stews, and chili to reduce their carb counts drastically.
- Squash: Squashes like yellow squash and zucchini may also be suitable substitutes for beans in cooking thanks to their mild flavor. They’re also very low in carbs.
- Sausage: For more protein and fat, ground or diced sausage can be a flavorful alternative to beans in keto dishes.
- Ground meat: Ground meat can be substituted for beans to keep the protein content high. This can be used in chili, soups, and other dishes.
While beans are high in fiber and protein and are part of a heart-healthy diet, they are also high in carbohydrates and are not recommended on a keto diet.
Reducing Carbohydrate Content in Beans
Beans are generally not a low-carb food and can be high in carbohydrates. However, some beans have lower carbohydrate content than others and can be enjoyed on a keto diet in small portions. Here are some specific cooking methods or preparations that can reduce the carbohydrate content in beans for a keto diet:
- Green beans: Fresh or cooked green beans have a total carb content of 4.3 grams and a net carb content of 2.4 grams per 100 grams. They can easily fit into macros for a low-carbohydrate diet and can be enjoyed in various dishes.
- Black soybeans: Black soybeans are another “keto bean” you can enjoy. They have a total carb content of 2.7 grams and a net carb content of 1.3 grams per 100 grams.
- Lima beans: Lima beans contain 39.3 grams of total carbohydrates per cup, but the 7 grams of fiber reduces the net carbohydrates to about 33 grams. To cut down on carbs, using a smaller portion size or mixing them with other low-carb vegetables is easier.
- Kidney beans and other high-carb beans: These beans are not recommended for a keto diet due to their high carbohydrate content.
Overall, it’s important to remember that beans should be consumed in small portions on a keto diet, and choosing beans with lower carbohydrate content is best.
While most beans are off-limits due to their high carb content, several types won’t interfere with your keto diet. Green beans, black soybeans, Lima beans, edamame, and mung beans can be incorporated into your menu, albeit in moderate amounts. Always remember, the key to a successful keto diet is balancing your carbs intake while ensuring you receive the necessary nutrients.