Are beans fattening or slimming? Nutritionist clarifies

Do beans get fatter or slimmer? A darling of Brazilians, the grain is present in several dishes, usually accompanied by rice, meat and salads.

But, as it is so common in Brazilian cuisine, it is natural that the food causes some doubts. One of these questions involves the power of beans in the diet, causing many people to ask if they get fatter or slimmer.

So, to clarify this matter once and for all, we invited nutritionist Janiele da Silva Rodrigues. According to the nutrition professional, beans not only help with weight loss but also have a series of health benefits.

Therefore, consuming this food can be good for the diet and for the body in general.

However, to be successful in the process of weight loss using beans, you need to take some precautions that the expert cites throughout this article. Follow below all the main information about this famous legume.

Fattening beans?

No, beans are not fattening. Most bean varieties are only about 5% fat. On the other hand, soy, which is part of the same family as beans, can have up to 47% fat in its total composition.

“The group of beans is diverse, in 100 g of homemade measure, it has an average of 68 calories already prepared,” says nutritionist Janiele da Silva Rodrigues. This caloric value may vary depending on the cooking process. Dishes like feijoada, for example, are very high in calories due to the other items added to the beans.

Plus, it’s low in fat and calories, so it’s a great food to include in weight loss diets.

A great source of fiber, regular consumption of the legume can promote a feeling of satiety. This is because it is a food with a low glycemic index, that is, it is more slowly digested. (1)

Benefits of Eating Beans Daily

No wonder that beans are one of the most consumed foods in the country. In addition to their flavor, small grains are a “dish full” of nutrients that are beneficial to human health. Among the various benefits of the legume, the following stand out:

  • protein source
  • diabetes prevention
  • rich in iron
  • Digestive
  • Beneficial for the heart.

In the next topics, you can follow more details about the health benefits of beans. Look!

protein source

Contrary to what many people think, proteins are not only found in animal foods. Legumes from the Fabaceae family are examples of protein-rich vegetables. (1)

Very linked to the gain of lean mass , proteins are also structural components for cells, being of great importance for their formation.

According to the nutrition professional, in relation to proteins, soy occupies a prominent position, since it can have about 40% of this nutrient. But they are also present in various types of beans.

Prevention and control of diabetes

Beans are a source of phaseolamine, a protein capable of significantly reducing the body’s absorption of carbohydrates. Thus, it causes a control of the glycemic index, which brings positive effects for those suffering from diabetes. The soluble fibers present in the legume, help to reduce the absorption of glucose in the human body. (two)

rich in iron

Possibly the most popular benefit of beans is that they are a source of iron , a very important mineral for the functioning of the human body. Both its deficiency and excess can cause problems for the body.

The mineral is important for the production of hemoglobin, a protein present in red blood cells that transport and store oxygen. Its deficiency is called iron deficiency anemia and it is the most common nutritional deficiency in the world. In an advanced stage, it causes weakness, decreased respiratory capacity and even neurocognitive disorders. (3)


The large concentration of fiber present in beans collaborates with the proper functioning of the gastrointestinal tract. These nutrients have a biological effect of making the intestinal content more viscous and voluminous, reducing intestinal transit time. This prevents problems like constipation , for example. (1)

Beneficial for the heart

Still talking about dietary fiber , they can absorb fat molecules that are eliminated by fecal cake. The reduction in the absorption of fats can act to reduce bad cholesterol, which in large amounts ends up clogging up veins and arteries. (1)

Excess LDL cholesterol in the body can cause a variety of heart diseases. But in addition, beans are also a source of potassium and magnesium, substances linked to lowering blood pressure .

Nutritional table of beans

As mentioned earlier in the benefits, beans are legumes rich in various nutrients and minerals. At the same time, it is a food with very few calories.

Despite the various types of beans available for consumption, their properties are almost the same, with only a small variation in amounts between one and the other.

A good example of this is white beans, which have a slightly higher amount of phaseolamine than other types of beans. Beans deliver an average of 4.5 g of protein, 13 g of carbohydrate and 8 g of fiber for every 100 g of the prepared legume.

Minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron and potassium are found in abundance in grains. In smaller amounts, it is also a source of manganese, sodium, copper and zinc.

Which has more calories: beans or rice?

Despite appearances, any of the three varieties of rice consumed in the country, are more caloric than beans.

As mentioned earlier, 100 g of beans have about 68 calories, while brown rice has 124 calories. White has around 128 calories and parboiled 130 calories.

“Rice together with beans form a complete protein, rice is low in the amino acid lysine, which is in surplus in beans. The amino acid methionine is not found in beans, but it is abundant in rice,” says nutritionist Janiele da Silva Rodrigues.

What is the ideal amount for consumption?

There is no consensus on the ideal amount of beans that an adult person needs to consume. This varies depending on the individual’s nutritional status, nutritional needs, and the purpose of the diet.

According to nutritionist Janiele Rodrigues, for a more balanced diet one can adopt a portion of a shell, which has an average of 100 grams or a shell and a half, which is equivalent to 150 grams of the legume.

Ellie Lauderdale

My name is Ellie Lauderdale, MD and I am USA based professional Nutritionist .

I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and board certified specialist in sports dietetics who is trained in integrative medicine. I have worked with hundreds of clients, from those suffering with chronic disease to professional and olympian athletes. My goal is to help optimize you from the inside so that you can feel, perform, and look your best on the outside.

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