This article has been Fact-Checked by Kendall Kennedy MS, RD, RYT
Choosing the right weight loss foods for your diet can be a challenge. What about lentils, are they good for weight loss?
Lentils are a gluten-free kind of legume very popular in Indian cuisine but also eaten around the world. There are different types of legumes with slightly different nutritional values and micronutrient contents (1).
The question is are lentils good for weight loss and if so, how do they compare to other popular food choices?
Micronutrients in lentils
The first thing to look at is the amount of micronutrients in lentils.
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 boiled lentils provides you with approximately (2):
- Folate: 45% of the DV (Daily Value)
- Manganese: 25% of the DV
- Iron: 19% of the DV
- Phosphorus: 18% of the DV
- Copper: 13% of the DV
- Thiamin: 11% of the DV
- Potassium: 11% of the DV
- Vitamin B6: 9% of the DV
- Magnesium: 9% of the DV
- Zinc: 8% of the DV
- Vitamin B5: 6% of the DV
- Niacin 5% of the DV
And some other vitamins and minerals in less significant amounts. That’s a great amount of vitamins and minerals compared to a lot of whole foods.
Lentils also contain antioxidants and phytochemicals that may benefit your health (1).
Fiber in lentils for weight loss
Another very important factor for weight loss is the amount of fiber in your food.
Lentils contain around 7.9 grams of fiber per 100 grams.
That’s a very big amount of fiber per 100 grams compared to many whole foods.
Fiber has multiple benefits for weight loss. 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 lentils you can greatly reduce the time you spend craving for food a lot.
Protein in lentils for weight loss
Another thing in food that can help you on your weight loss journey is the amount of protein in it.
Boiled lentils contain about 9 grams of protein per 100 grams. To compare, salmon contains around 25.4 grams per 100 grams (3).
Protein is considered to be the most filling of the 3 macronutrients. Eating enough protein will also help you prevent muscle loss. Muscle helps you burn extra calories throughout the day which is very good for weight loss. Protein calories also take your body more calories to process than calories from carbs and fats.
The amount of protein in lentils is good for a plant-based source of protein. Compared to certain other whole foods the amount of protein in lentils is a nice addition.
That being said, if you need a lot of protein in a small volume of food there are better options.
Do lentils help you lose weight?
You still need a final piece of the puzzle. The amount of calories in lentils.
Lentils contain around 116 calories per 100 grams. 81.5 these calories come from the carbohydrates (20.1 g per 100 grams of which 7.9 g fiber).
You could even fit in a small portion of lentils in a low carb diet like the keto diet.
The amount of calories in lentils is not that high in general. Even compared to other legumes lentils are on the low side when it comes to calories. That being said, fruits and vegetables are usually lower in calories than lentils.
Even with that in mind lentils are still a low-calorie food that can help you feel fuller with its fiber and protein content and provide you with important vitamins and minerals.
Depending on your current diet lentils can help you lose weight by helping you feel a lot fuller without adding that many calories to your diet. This can help you avoid higher calorie foods that may interfere with your weight loss.
What happens if you eat lentils every day?
Nutrition is always a bit of a puzzle in terms of what the perfect diet looks like. It’s a pretty individual thing.
Most people will benefit from eating lentils every day. You will probably feel fuller because of the fiber and protein. The vitamins and minerals in lentils may benefit your health and how you feel.
You can implement them throughout the day, as breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Do lentils help burn belly fat?
Targetting fat loss in a specific area like your belly is generally not possible. Not by eating more of a specific food or by doing a specific exercise. To lose belly fat you have to lose weight overall.
Since lentils can help you lose weight in general this legume can also help you lose belly fat once your body wants to lose fat in your abdominal area.
Is lentil soup good for weight loss
A popular way to add more lentils to your diet is lentil soup. A lentil soup recipe comes down to combining lentils, other vegetables like carrots and onions, some spices, and some salt.
Most vegetables are great for weight loss. There is also nothing wrong with some spices in regards to weight loss. And water is also very helpful for losing weight. It helps you feel fuller and increases the amount of calories you burn.
All in all this makes lentil soup rather good for weight loss. By eating more of this it becomes harder to overeat on calories and for most people, this is enough to help them lose weight.
Lentils vs other popular foods for weight loss
You now know how good lentils are for weight loss but how do they compare to certain other popular food options? Find out how good lentils are for weight loss vs beans, split peas, and chickpeas.
Lentils vs beans
Beans are another weight loss food that gets compared to lentils a lot. If you’re only looking at calories, in this example kidney beans contain slightly more calories. Lentils contain around 116 calories per 100 grams vs the 127 calories per 100 grams of beans (4).
Lentils contain around 7.9 grams of fiber per 100 grams, beans 6.4 grams. The protein content of these foods is very similar, 9 grams per 100 grams in lentils and 8.7 grams per 100 grams in kidney beans. Finally, beans contain slightly more vitamins and minerals in total.
Overall, lentils will most likely be slightly better for weight loss.
Lentils vs split peas
The amount of fiber is also very similar. Split peas have about 8.3 grams of fiber per 100 grams vs the 7.9 grams of lentils. Split peas contain about 8.3 grams of protein per 100 grams, so slightly lower than lentils. Lentils are slightly higher in vitamins and minerals than split peas.
It’s hard to predict which of these 2 foods is the best for weight loss. Their main nutritional values are very close to each other.
Lentils vs chickpeas
Chickpeas contain around 7.6 grams of fiber per 100 grams. About the same as the 7.9 grams of fiber per 100 grams in lentils. Chickpeas contain about 8.9 grams of protein per 100 grams. These 2 foods are about the same when it comes to the quantity of vitamins and minerals but with a different focus of vitamins and minerals.
All in all, lentils are likely better for weight loss than chickpeas.
Chart of lentils vs other popular foods
All in all, the differences between these foods won’t make that much of a difference when it comes to losing weight. Besides maybe chickpeas being worse. If you like all these foods equally you might as well choose the ones that are better for weight loss.
The amount of vitamins and minerals in the foods does matter for weight loss and health but you can’t simplify that in one number. You can check out the numbers for lentils (2), beans (4), split peas (5), and chickpeas (6) to compare.
|Values Per 100g||Lentils||Beans||Split Peas||Chickpeas|
|Calories||116 calories||127 calories||118 calories||164 calories|
|Fiber||7.9 g||6.4 g||8.3 g||7.6 g|
|Protein||9 g||8.7 g||8.3 g||8.9|