Beans can be a beneficial food for people with diabetes and a great addition to their diet. They are an excellent source of plant-based protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, making them a nutritious choice. Beans' low glycemic index can help you feel fuller for longer and may improve blood sugar control. According to the American Diabetes Association , people with diabetes should include dried beans or no-sodium canned beans in at least a few weekly dishes.

Key Facts

  • Beans are great for people with diabetes because they're low in sugar and high in fiber and protein.
  • They help keep blood sugar levels stable and can improve overall health.
  • Many types of beans exist, like black beans, kidney beans, and lentils.
  • Beans can lower bad cholesterol, support digestion, and provide essential nutrients like antioxidants.
  • Adding beans to your meals can be a tasty and beneficial way to manage diabetes and stay healthy.

Can People With Diabetes Eat Beans?

Yes, beans can be a beneficial food for diabetics and can be a great addition to your diabetes diet. Beans can help you feel fuller, longer and can even help with blood sugar issues. People with diabetes should include dried beans or no-sodium canned beans to at least a few dishes each week, according to the American Diabetes Association.

When it comes to beans, there are many different types to choose from, including black beans, kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas, and more. You can purchase them dried or canned (look for low-sodium or no-salt-added varieties) and they can be a great addition to your main meals, soups, salads, chilis, and other dishes. Different types of beans offer slightly different nutritional profiles, so it's a good idea to mix up the varieties you eat.

The sugar content in beans can vary from one type to the next, but in general, beans are low on the glycemic index and contain only small amounts of natural sugars. For example, a 1/2 cup serving of black beans contains around 1 gram of sugar. While beans do contain carbs, the type of carbs in beans are complex and high in fiber, which helps slow digestion and prevent blood sugar spikes. This makes beans a suitable choice even for diabetics following a low-carb diet plan, as recommended by the American Diabetes Association.

Beans can help control blood sugar levels by slowing down digestion due to their high fiber content. This means your body won't release as much insulin into your system when consuming beans compared to foods containing refined carbs like white bread, pasta, and processed sugars. Studies show that eating beans and other legumes can improve blood sugar control in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Don't forget to consult with your doctor, those that provide medical advice, your registered dietitian, or your certified diabetes educator before making any significant changes to your diet. Proper portion control is important when adding higher-fiber foods like beans, as eating too many can potentially cause digestive issues like gas and bloating, especially when first introducing them. Your healthcare team can provide personalized guidance on incorporating beans into your meal plan in a way that works for your individual needs.

How Much Sugar Is In 100g Of Beans?

The sugar content in 100 grams of beans can vary depending on the type of beans:

  • Pinto beans have roughly 2.1 grams of sugar per 100 grams.
  • Black turtle beans have no sugar in 100 grams.
  • Red kidney beans contain about 2.5 grams of sugar per 100 grams.

These numbers can help you manage your sugar intake, especially if you're watching carbs for diabetes control. Remember to dose your insulin according to the serving sizes you eat to prevent high blood glucose levels.

They are nutritious because they're high in protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals and low in fat, unlike many other protein sources.

Health Benefits Of Eating Beans For People With Diabetes

Beans are a great source of low glycemic index foods packed with plant-based protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They are exceptionally high in soluble fiber, which helps control blood sugar levels by slowing digestion and preventing rapid spikes in blood glucose and insulin levels after meals. The combination of protein, fiber, and other nutrients in beans makes them an excellent choice for managing diabetes.

Benefits Of Beans

May Help Lower LDL ("Bad") Cholesterol

Beans can help lower LDL or "bad" cholesterol levels in people with diabetes, which may reduce the risk of heart disease. The soluble fiber in beans binds to cholesterol and removes it from the body before it can be absorbed. Regularly including beans in your diet plan can provide heart-healthy benefits due to their high levels of nutrients like antioxidants that help fight chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity.

High in Fiber to Support Healthy Digestion

Beans, both soluble and insoluble, are excellent dietary fiber sources. The fiber in beans helps promote healthy digestion by adding bulk to stool, reducing constipation, and feeding beneficial gut bacteria. The high fiber content also contributes to feelings of fullness, which can help with weight management and limit the intake of other carb-heavy foods. Preparing beans with healthy fats like olive oil and herbs is a tasty way to incorporate more fiber into your diet.

Loaded With Antioxidants

Beans are loaded with antioxidants that fight free radicals in the body, improve brain function, and can lower blood sugar levels naturally by slowing down digestion, which means less insulin is released into the bloodstream.

Control Blood Sugar Levels

Beans, especially whole beans such as kidney beans, help control blood sugar levels because they are low on the glycemic index and thus have a low impact on insulin production when digested.

Great for Blood Health and Bones

They're also high in other nutrients, like iron, which is excellent for blood health and blood pressure, and magnesium, which boosts bones! 

Red Kidney Bean Chili Con Carne

Which Beans Are Good for People With Diabetes?

There are many different beans like;

  • pinto beans
  • black turtle beans
  • black beans
  • red kidney beans
  • garbanzo beans
  • white beans
  • beans in red tomato sauce

I avoid baked beans in red tomato sauce because they contain much more sugar than the others. They contain around 4.3 grams of sugar per 100 grams.

Beans are nutritious, contain lots of nutrients, and are low on the glycemic index. This means they're great for people with diabetes because they can be eaten without worrying too much about your blood glucose levels due to their slow-digesting properties.

Do seek professional medical advice if you are trying to change your diet.

Conclusion

Beans are a great source of low-glycemic-index foods that contain protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They are also high in soluble fiber, which helps control blood sugar levels by slowing digestion so your body won't release as much insulin into your system when you eat them.

You can lower LDL cholesterol with beans due to their high level of nutrients that help fight chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity--the list goes on!

Plus, they're packed with antioxidants that naturally improve brain function and lower blood sugar levels. These benefits make beans a healthy food choice for people with diabetes who want to avoid carbs or need more options than meat-heavy meals at dinner time.

One Comment

  1. kurt kitchel on April 11, 2022

    Beans are loaded with carbs/glucose. (like quinona). Terrible for T2d. Who writes this shit? It’s 2022, get with the program. Mexico loves neans and corn, highest % of diabetics in the world.

    Reply

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About the Author

Ely Fornoville

Hi, I'm Ely Fornoville, and I am the founder of Diabetic Me. Being a type 1 diabetic since 1996, I developed a passion to help people learn more about diabetes. I write about diabetes and share stories from other diabetics around the world. I currently use a Medtronic Guardian 4 CGM and a MiniMed 780G insulin pump with Humalog insulin.

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