Carbs in Black Beans and Other Beans: Are They Keto-Friendly?

minute read | Last update: Jan 19th2024

This article is backed by studies and reviewed by a certified dietician.

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Are the carbs in black beans and other types of beans suitable for individuals looking to start a ketogenic diet? Beans tend to be among the regular foods consumed daily globally, but the meals allowed on a keto diet are far from regular.

Black beans can be consumed on a keto diet, but it is best if you can restrict your consumption. This is because a portion of the carbs in black beans are fiber while being rich in vitamins and minerals like Vitamin B6 and potassium needed during ketosis.

Does this mean you have to discard the possibility of your meals containing black beans on a ketogenic diet?


Keep on reading to see how you can incorporate black beans into your keto diet, its carb content, nutritional profile, and healthier alternatives.

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What class of food do black beans fall into?

Black beans and beans, in general, are classified as legumes. While most people tend to classify beans as proteins, legumes have a closer similarity with vegetables. Legumes are rich in vitamins, minerals, protein, phytonutrient content but are on the high side when it comes to carbs.

Black beans seem to have a bit of everything, especially considering the 25% protein makeup per weight on a dry basis. This is considerably higher than other grains like rice, which should be avoided on a ketogenic diet.

How many carbs are in black beans?

This is where we see the need to restrict the consumption of black beans when on a ketogenic diet. The recommended daily intake while on a ketogenic diet is a maximum of 50 grams, with the minimum being as low as 20 grams depending on the individual.

Black beans contain a whopping 41 grams of carbohydrates in a single serving of a 160 to 200 grams cup. 

This is just 9 grams short of the recommended maximum intake required to stay in ketosis. However, the amount of net carbs (amount of carbs metabolized by the body) is 26 grams, with 15 grams being fiber.

What is the nutritional profile of black beans?

I spoke about how black beans have a bit of all the good stuff, right? Well, asides from the carbohydrate content discussed in the previous section, there is a lot this legume has to offer

The information below is based on a single 86 gram serving of cooked beans and obtained from the National Nutrient Database;

  • Protein: 7.6g
  • Carbohydrates: 20.4g
  • Fat: 0.46g
  • Sugars: 0.28g
  • Fiber: 7.5g
  • Iron: 1.81mg
  • Magnesium: 60mg
  • Phosphorus: 120mg
  • Sodium: 1mg
  • Potassium: 305mg
  • Zinc: 0.96mg

Black beans contain thiamin, niacin, folate, and Vitamin K. Though rich in nutrients and vitamins, there is one drawback with black beans in a keto diet. The fat content is almost negligible, which should not be so on a keto diet.

Is there any time when black beans or beans, in general, can fit into my keto diet?

The standard ketogenic diet (SKD) is the ideal keto plan for newbies trying keto for the first time. In the standard ketogenic diet, the low carb amount is crucial. Only when you are sure you are well into ketosis can you make some changes.

The ketogenic diet has variations that give room for the addition of more foods that have a moderate carb content, like beans. Below are the ketogenic diet plans which could allow for black beans and other legumes;

Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD)

This variation of the ketogenic diet is perhaps the most lenient and flexible available. If the standard ketogenic diet leaves you feeling drained constantly, then the targeted ketogenic diet should be given a try.

The targeted ketogenic diet allows for an additional 20 to 50 grams of carbs before exercising. This is an excellent opportunity to throw in some black beans in your meals.

Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD)

For individuals with high activity levels, even the amount of carbs on the TKD may not be enough to keep you going. If that’s the case, how about trying the cyclical ketogenic diet.

If you opt for the cyclical ketogenic diet, you will follow the standard ketogenic diet for five days, but with a 24 to 48-hour window to refuel on carbs. The meals within this allowed window would be high-carb and low-fat, instead of the other way round.

What are the health benefits of black beans?

There are many health benefits that black beans have to offer. Aside from the vitamins and minerals, black beans do a lot more for the human body. Away from the high carb content

How far must I have been into my keto diet before I can include black beans?

Switching from regular meals to a meal plan suited for weight loss could be hard on an individual’s body. Different individuals adapt differently to lifestyle changes, and transitioning too fast to a keto plan could lead to the much-dreaded keto flu.

Since the primary focus of a keto diet is high-fat and low-carb meals, it could take your body a while to adapt to ketones instead of glucose as an energy source. When you are sure you no longer experience dizziness, headaches, and thirst, you can make some changes.

Adding black beans could be one of those changes, as the body needs carbs to function. This is advisable and accepted if you are active, as those glycogen levels need to stay up.

What type of beans should I fit into my ketogenic diet and why?

So what type of beans should be in my keto diet then? I am not saying you should cancel black beans off your list entirely. However, there are healthier alternatives with a considerably lesser amount of carbohydrates than black beans.

Below are suitable replacements for black beans when drafting a ketogenic diet plan.


Chickpeas are dense in carbs, but a serving size of one-fifth of a cup of cooked chickpeas is fine.

A half-cup serving of dark red kidney beans, when cooked, contains the following;

  • Calories: 135
  • Fiber: 6 grams
  • Net carbs: 16 grams
  • Fat: 2 grams
  • Protein: 7 grams

To add chickpeas into your keto diet plan, you will need to cut your serving size down to one-fifth of a cup. This gives about 6.5 grams which are suitable for a ketogenic diet,

White kidney beans

White kidney beans are difficult to add to a keto diet, but moderation is the trick here. Like the other alternatives on this list, it would be suitable to take less than half a cup. A quarter-cup should be just fine.

A half-cup serving of white kidney beans, when cooked, contains the following;

  • Calories: 124
  • Fiber: 8 grams
  • Net carbs: 16 grams
  • Fat: 0.3 grams
  • Protein: 9 grams

Navy beans

Like cranberry beans, consumption of navy beans on a keto diet has to be minimal. Navy beans consist of 14 grams of net carbs in the same half-cup serving size.

A half-cup serving of navy beans, when cooked, contains the following;

  • Calories: 127
  • Fiber: 10 grams
  • Net Carbs: 14 grams
  • Protein: 8 grams
  • Fat: 0.6 grams

On the bright side, navy beans have a high fiber content which aids bowel movement. Consumption of navy beans should be reduced to 7 grams at most to keep the carbs reasonably low.

Cranberry Beans

Cranberry or borlotti beans are creamy, but their consumption will need to be restricted. This is due to its carb content of 13 grams per half-cup which means about one-quarter of a cup will do for a keto diet.

A half-cup serving of cranberry beans, when cooked, contains the following;

  • Calories: 120
  • Fiber: 9 grams
  • Fat: 0.4 grams
  • Protein: 8 grams
  • Net Carbs: 13 grams

Mung Beans

Mung beans are green in appearance and have an uncanny resemblance to green peas.

A half-cup serving of mung beans, when cooked, contains the following;

  • Calories: 105
  • Fiber: 8 grams
  • Fat:0.4 grams
  • Protein: 8 grams
  • Net Carbs: 12 grams

Dark Red Kidney Beans

Dark red kidney beans are lower in carbs than their white counterpart. Dark red kidney beans contain 11 grams of net carbs, while white kidney beans contain 5 grams more.

A half-cup serving of dark red kidney beans, when cooked, contains the following;

  • Calories:109
  • Fiber: 8 grams
  • Fat: 0.2 grams
  • Protein: 8 grams
  • Net Carbs: 11 grams

When using dark red kidney beans, add in more fatty foods for a higher fat count. Foods high in fat suitable for a keto diet include avocados, nuts, and flax seeds.

Eden Canned Black Soybeans

These are probably the most keto-friendly beans on this list. Also known as black soybeans, Eden Canned Black Soybeans is used in tofu, and tofu is relatively low in carbs.

Eden Canned Black Soybeans contains the following in a cooked half-cup serving:

  • Calories: 120
  • Fiber: 7 grams
  • Fat: 6 grams
  • Protein: 11 grams
  • Net Carbs: 1 gram

The fat content is significantly higher than black beans while having only 1 gram of net carbs.

Great Northern Beans

Great Northern beans have the same carbohydrate content as light red kidney beans. Moderation is essential when eating this legume, though.

A half-cup serving of dark red kidney beans, when cooked, contains the following;

  • Calories: 104
  • Fiber: 6 grams
  • Fat: 0.4 grams
  • Protein: 7 grams
  • Net carbs:13 grams

Light Red Kidney Beans

With 3 grams of carbohydrates less than white kidney beans, light red kidney beans seem like a great addition to a keto meal.

However, it is still advised to reduce consumption to one-quarter of a cup. A half-cup serving of light red kidney beans, when cooked, contains the following;

  • Calories: 112
  • Fiber: 7 grams
  • Fat: 0.4 grams
  • Protein: 8 grams
  • Net carbs: 13 grams

One-quarter of a cup will yield 6,5 grams of carbohydrates which is still very acceptable on a keto diet.

When should I avoid black beans on the keto diet?

Anyone looking to commence a keto diet should avoid black beans until they are sure that the body has adapted to ketones as its energy source. For some individuals, this could be between two weeks to a month.

There is also the issue of being allergic to lentils such as beans and peas. Individuals who have an allergic reaction to soybeans might also react to black beans. Consult with a doctor to know if it is safe for you to consume black beans while on the ketogenic diet.

Final Thoughts

Despite the health benefits, minerals and nutrients, black beans have no business being among your top sources of healthy carbs on a ketogenic diet. The fat content is low, while the carb content is high, which is the opposite of everything a standard ketogenic diet should be.

There are healthier options when it comes to choices of legumes. Try out cranberry beans, navy beans, or mung beans in moderate serving sizes of one-fifth and one-quarter of a cup.


Where do black beans rank on the glycemic index?

Black beans rank 30 on the glycemic index. 30 is a low number when compared to foods like honey and white bread.

What effect do black beans have on my blood sugar level?

Black beans don’t raise your blood sugar levels immediately or as fast as other foods. The carbs are slowly absorbed, keeping your blood sugar levels stable for a long time.

What healthier and lower sources of carbohydrates can I substitute black beans for on a ketogenic diet?

Examples of foods to add as low-carb sources in a ketogenic diet include raspberries, kale, broccoli, leafy greens, avocados, and macadamia nuts.

About the author

The Authentic Keto Team is here to bring you health tips that help you with losing weight fast. We focus on a clean keto diet for beginners because we believe that is the easiest and most simple way to healthy eating. Our keto weight loss tips will not only bring you into ketosis fast but will also help you to improve your mental health, sleep problems, and wellness.

- Our goal is to make keto success easy. -

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