IF YOU’RE on (or at least interested in) the ketogenic diet, then you likely know that the high-fat approach to requires you to restrict your net carb intake to 50 grams or fewer.
For reference, one medium banana has 27 grams of carbohydrates.
So you’d be right to assume broad swaths of delicious carb-rich foods are basically off-limits on keto: pasta, bread, baked goods. And you’d also be correct in assuming that the keto diet is very, very difficult to stick with because other high-carb foods aren’t quite so obvious.
This whole extremely low carb thing is also what makes the diet potentially detrimental to your overall health. Carbohydrates aren’t inherently evil. (Fiber is a carb, for poop’s sake.)
And many high-carb foods are packed with nutrients, such as the disease-fighting antioxidants found in fruits and the heart-healthy fats insides nuts.
One great example of this conundrum is beans. Beans are rich in fiber. Beans are a decent source of protein. Beans are good for your heart. And the bean benefits list goes on…
Can you derive these perks from other foods? Of course. But is it harder to do so when a diet (cough cough, keto) puts restrictions on certain foods and food groups? Absolutely.
That’s not to say you can’t eat beans on a keto diet (in fact the keto diet doesn’t really prohibit any foods—just places severe limitations on them). You can. You just have to be really careful about how many—and what kind—you’re eating.
Are Beans Keto?
If you’re on the keto diet, beans probably aren’t going to fly.
“Although they have a ton of fiber which is great for supporting gut health, the high starch content in just 1 cup of chickpeas [or other beans] exceeds the total amount of carbs a keto dieter can have in an entire day,” says Julie Stefanski R.D.N., C.S.S.D. , spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics.
You can expect a 1/2 cup of beans to have 20-something grams of net carbs. Black beans have 24 grams and chickpeas have 28 grams, for example.
Even if you halve it, you’re still eating plenty of carbs from one source of food in a sitting, and that’s excluding whatever else you’re pairing those beans with.
So think about it: would you really want to spend about half of your daily net carb amount on a ½ cup of beans? Or might you want to spread those babies out elsewhere?
Are There Any Beans That Are Keto Safe?
“One bean which some people can fit into a keto plan, depending on their carb limit, is the Lupini bean,” Stefanski says. For instance, you can buy BRAMI snacks for a small-sized portion of pickled beans to enjoy when you have the afternoon munchies. These happen to have no net grams of carbs.
So Should You Eat Beans on the Keto Diet?
For people following sensible diets, there’s nothing wrong with including higher-carb foods in your diet—in fact, it’s a good idea to do so! But if you’re on the keto diet, know that you can’t eat beans and stay in ketosis. You’ve got to pick your priority. If you’re a keto fan and aren’t ready to give it up, then it’s time to part ways with that can of beans until you’ve switched to another eating plan.
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