Putting together your weight loss diet can be a challenge with all the possibilities. What about soybeans, are they good for weight loss or fattening?
Soybeans, when prepared in their immature form known as edamame, are a type of bean you can use in a wide variety of recipes ranging from boiled on their own to the dish tofu.
Soybeans are normally gluten-free but it’s always smart to check the packaging to make sure they didn’t come into contact with foods containing gluten.
Like many legumes, many people will benefit in terms of weight loss by eating more soybeans. Find out just how good soybeans are and what some good ways are to eat them for weight loss.
Micronutrients in soybeans
The first thing to look at is the amount of micronutrients in soybeans.
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 soybeans provides you with approximately (1):
- Manganese: 41% of the DV (Daily Value)
- Iron: 29% of the DV
- Vitamin K: 24% of the DV
- Phosphorus: 24% of the DV
- Magnesium: 21% of the DV
- Copper: 20% of the DV
- Riboflavin: 17% of the DV
- Potassium: 15% of the DV
- Folate: 14% of the DV
- Vitamin B6: 12% of the DV
- Thiamin: 10% of the DV
- Calcium: 10% of the DV
- Selenium: 10% of the DV
- Zinc: 8% of the DV
And a few others in smaller amounts. These are great amounts of vitamins and minerals per 100 grams compared to many other whole foods.
If you have trouble reaching your daily vitamin and mineral goals soybeans can be a good food to add to your diet for certain micronutrients.
Soybeans also contain anti-oxidants. These are substances that help your body deal with oxidative stress, damage that occurs from day to day. It is not entirely clear if and to what extent antioxidants help weight loss.
Fiber in soybeans for weight loss
Another very important factor for weight loss is the amount of fiber in your food.
Soybeans contain around 6 grams of fiber per 100 grams.
This is a very big amount compared to many other foods. For most people more fiber is a good thing for weight loss.
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 soybeans you can reduce the time you spend craving for food a very big amount.
Protein in soybeans for weight loss
Another thing in food that can help you on your weight loss journey is the amount of protein in it.
Soybeans contain about 16.6 grams of protein per 100 grams. To compare, there are about 25.4 grams per 100 grams in salmon (2). Soybeans are a good source of plant-based protein but also a good source of protein in general.
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 soybeans is good for a plant-based source of protein. You will most likely also need protein from other foods but some soybeans can get you started towards your daily goals.
Do keep in mind that overdoing it with protein isn’t good either.
Are soybeans good for losing weight?
To know whether or not you can eat soybeans while trying to lose weight you still need a final piece of the puzzle. The number of calories in soybeans.
Soybeans contain around 173 calories per 100 grams. 40.2 of these calories come from the carbohydrates (9.9 g per 100 grams of which 6 g fiber). 1 cup of boiled soybeans (172 g) contains about 298 calories.
Soybeans are one of the few beans you should be able to fit in low carb diets like the keto diet.
The number of calories in soybeans is higher than most vegetables, fruits, and relatively high compared to other beans. Even with that in mind this number is medium-low compared to many other foods.
Together with the big amount of fiber and a nice amount of protein this means that soybeans can help you feel fuller without adding that many calories to your diet.
This can help you avoid higher-calorie foods. And for most people that, and thus adding soybeans to their daily diet, is enough to help them lose weight.
In theory, you can overdo it with soybeans in terms of calories, in that case they could be fattening. In reality, you will likely feel too full before you reach that point with soybeans.
Do keep in mind that some people are allergic to soybeans. These inviduals should avoid this food anyway.
How to eat soybeans for weight loss
You can implement soybeans in different ways into your diet. Some are better than others for weight loss. You definitely need to cook soybeans before eating them. Boiling is the preferred cooking method if you’re trying to lose weight.
After that you can eat them on their own or as an ingredient in other healthy dishes. Here are some examples of weight loss friendly recipes you can add soybeans to:
The first alternative way to “eat” soybeans is as soy milk. 100 grams of soy milk contains about 43 calories of which 2.6 grams of protein and 0.2 grams of fiber (3).
For a liquid containing calories, soy milk is not bad for weight loss when it comes to macronutrients. In general, consuming your calories with solid foods is a good idea when trying to lose weight. Just imagine how much more filling 100 grams of boiled potatoes would be vs 100 grams, half a glass, of water.
Another popular soybean product is tofu which is made from soy milk. 100 grams of raw tofu contains about 76 calories of which 8.1 grams of protein and 0.3 grams of fiber (4).
Tofu can be a decent low-calorie protein source. On the other hand, if you’ve already hit your daily protein goals, vegetables and fruits may be more filling for fewer calories than tofu. This is generally helpful for weight loss.