This article has been Fact-Checked by Kendall Kennedy MS, RD, RYT
There are a lot of different foods to choose from when you’re trying to lose weight. Are beans good for weight loss or not?
Beans are an inexpensive, simple to prepare, and popular kind of legume. You can eat beans on their own but most people like them a lot more as an ingredient, combined with other foods.
There are a lot of different sorts of beans so this article will mainly focus on kidney beans.
Micronutrients in beans
The first thing to look at is the amount of micronutrients in beans.
Micronutrients are a group of nutrients your body absolutely needs to survive and thrive. Micronutrients include vitamins and minerals. These are involved in basically every aspect of your health, including weight loss.
100 grams of kidney beans provides you with approximately (1):
- Folate: 33% of the DV (Daily Value)
- Manganese: 22% of the DV
- Phosphorus: 14% of the DV
- Potassium: 12% of the DV
- Iron: 12% of the DV
- Copper: 11% of the DV
- Thiamin: 11% of the DV
- Vitamin K: 10% of the DV
- Magnesium: 10% of the DV
And a few other micronutrients in smaller amounts. That’s a lot of micronutrients in good amounts.
In terms of micronutrients, beans will benefit you greatly if you combine them with a healthy and diverse diet.
Fiber in beans for weight loss
Another very important factor for weight loss is the amount of fiber in your food.
Beans contain around 6.4 grams of fiber per 100 grams. This is an enormous amount compared to most other foods. And this is a good thing.
Fiber has multiple benefits. First of all, it feeds your microbiome, the microbes that live in your intestines. The health of your microbiome influences your body’s health and weight. Feeding it well is usually not a bad idea.
Fiber also helps you feel less hungry without adding a lot of calories to your diet. Hunger and cravings can be a big pitfall for people trying to lose weight, so avoiding this is a big plus.
With the amount of fiber in corn you can reduce the time you spend craving for food.
Protein in beans for weight loss
Another thing in food that can help you with losing weight is the amount of protein in it.
Beans contain about 8.7 grams of protein per 100 grams. To compare, this is not quite the 25.4 grams per 100 grams in salmon (2) but for a source of plant based protein it’s a nice amount.
Protein is considered to be the most filling of the 3 macronutrients. Eating enough protein will also help you prevent muscle loss. Since muscle helps you burn extra calories throughout the day this is a big plus for protein and beans for weight loss.
Do keep in mind that overdoing it with protein isn’t good either.
Will beans help you lose weight?
To be able to say whether beans are good or bad for weight loss you still need to take a look at the macronutrients in beans.
127 calories per 100 gram. 92.7 of these calories come from the carbohydrates (22.8 g per 100 grams of which 6.4 g fiber).
The amount of calories in kidney beans is relatively low. Certainly if you keep in mind that 6.4 grams of fiber is counted as calories while you don’t actually absorb them that way.
Beans might not be suited for low carb diets due to its carbohydrate content.
All in all beans are a great weight loss food. They will fill you without adding too much calories to your diet and they will provide you with a good amount of micronutrients and fiber. There isn’t much more you could ask for in a weight loss food besides maybe a lower calorie amount.
It’s not probable that you will gain weight because of beans. Partly because you will most likely feel full before you can even come near overeating them. For most people a portion of beans every day is a great addition to their diet.
Make sure you prepare them well
Beans can contain substances that can be harmful. However, these substances disappear for the most part if you cook them well.
You can also soak beans to reduce these compounds.