The current fad for low carbohydrate diets has allowed a lot of people to start understanding the differences between the three main macronutrients: proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. However, there is still plenty of confusion because not every food item fits tidily into one of the three categories. Legumes, such as lentils and beans, have become a source of controversy because some low carbohydrate diets allow them while others do not.
Here is what you need to know about lentils and beans if you are trying to lose weight by eating specific amounts of carbohydrates and proteins.
The Amount of Protein in Beans and Lentils
Beans, lentils, and other legumes remain a popular source of protein for people who do not want to get their protein from meat and other animal sources. Soybeans are the bean with the highest protein levels, and they have 31 grams of protein per cup which is almost as much protein as a serving of chicken. Therefore, soybeans and other soy products like tofu are a great source of protein. Though soybeans have the highest levels of protein, most other types of legumes also have a lot of protein. Lentils have about 17 grams of protein per cup, and most types of beans, such as black, white, or kidney beans, have roughly 15 grams of protein per cup.
The Amount of Carbohydrates in Legumes
Though lentils and beans are a great source of protein, there are some concerns about the carbohydrates in them because many people are trying to eat low carb diets. One cup of beans can have anywhere from 40 to 50 carbs, depending on the variant. Lentils have a slightly lower amount of 39 grams of carbs per cup, and soybeans have the lowest carb levels at 14 grams per cup. Since most low carb diets suggest that people stay between 50 to 150 grams of carbohydrates per day, legumes may not be suitable for very strict diets. However, it is important to keep in mind that most legumes also contain a large amount of fiber, so their net carbs are actually quite low.
How to Lose Weight While Eating Beans and Lentils
Because of their carbohydrate content, legumes like beans and lentils cannot just be counted as a basic source of protein. This makes them a little difficult to include in a diet for someone who is just avoiding carbohydrates and eating protein and fat. Therefore people on the paleo or keto diet should avoid them. However, for people who are just limiting their carbohydrate or net carbohydrate intake, legumes are an excellent choice. All of the protein and fiber in beans and lentils makes you feel full for a long time. However, if you eat excessive amounts of these legumes, their relatively high fiber and calorie amounts could become problematic. As long as you are willing to pay attention to what you eat and keep track of carb amounts, legumes can be a great option.