Lowest Carb Beans By Rank

Lowest carb beans

Beans come in many shapes, sizes, and colors. Regardless of variety though, they serve as an excellent source of plant-based protein, health-promoting fiber, and countless vitamins and minerals. What about carbohydrates though? If you’ve ever wondered which type of beans contain the least amount of carbohydrates per serving then today you are in luck. In this article we’ll be surveying 14 different bean varieties to determine the lowest carb beans by rank.

As it turns out, the lowest carb beans are edamame and soybeans– each of which contain 14 grams of carbohydrates per 1-cup serving. Soybeans, which are just matured edamame beans, contain slightly fewer net carbohydrates though, clocking in at 4 grams of net carbohydrates per serving.

Let’s have a closer look at the details.

Beans And Carbohydrates

Beans are revered as one of the most health-promoting foods in existence, boasting numerous health benefits. According to WebMD, these benefits include helping to manage a health weight, improve heart health, diabetes control, and more.

What’s more, they make for an excellent source of plant-based protein, making them a popular choice among vegan, vegetarian, and plant-based athletes who want to boost their protein intake without introducing animal products into their diets.

A young, fit couple exercising.

Although beans and other legumes (such as lentils) pack lots of protein, they also tend to come with lots of carbohydrates as well.

Carbohydrates may not be inherently bad, but some dieters seek to restrict their intake of carbohydrates in an effort to reap the benefits of a low-carb, or Ketogenic diet— a way of eating characterized by displacing carbohydrate calories with protein and fat.

That said, beans come in many varieties, and carbohydrate count can vary wildly based on the type of bean. This is why it’s important to know what the lowest carb beans are if you intend to pursue a low-carb diet.

What About Net Carbohydrates?

Net carbohydrates are what results when you subtract dietary fiber grams from total carbohydrate count.

It is based on the belief that certain types of carbohydrates — such as fiber and sugar alcohols — do not spike blood sugar levels like other carbohydrates do. However, there is scant evidence to support this belief. Not only that, but “net carbohydrates” is not a legally-defined term, nor is it acknowledged by the FDA or the American Diabetes Association.

For that reason we have decided not to include net carbohydrate count in our ranking of lowest carb beans. But fiber count has been included in case you’d like to make that calculation on your own.

Lowest Carb Beans By Rank

Without further ado, let’s have a look at 14 different bean varieties and where they rank in terms of carbohydrate content. 

The table below compares the nutrition data of various bean varieties based on a 1-cup cooked serving:

Rank Bean Type Serving Size Calories Carbohydrates Fiber
1 Edamame
1 Cup, Cooked 224 14g 8g
2 Soybeans
1 Cup, Cooked 296 14g 10g
3 Fava Beans
Fava beans
1 Cup, Cooked 187 33.4g 9.2g
4 Black-Eyed Peas
Black-eyed peas
1 Cup, Cooked 198 35.5g 11.1g
5 Great Northern
Great Northern beans
1 Cup, Cooked 209 37.3g 12.4g
6 Mung Beans
Mung beans
1 Cup, Cooked 212 38.7g 15.4g
7 Lima Beans
Lima beans
1 Cup, Cooked 216 39.3g 13.2g
8 Kidney Beans
Kidney beans
1 Cup, Cooked 225 40.4g 11.3g
9 Black Beans
Black beans
1 Cup, Cooked 227 40.8g 15g
10 Pinto Beans
Pinto beans
1 Cup, Cooked 245 44.8g 15.4g
11 Chickpeas
1 Cup, Cooked 269 45g 12.5g
12 Navy Beans
Navy beans
1 Cup, Cooked 255 47.8g 19.1g
13 White Beans
White beans
1 Cup, Cooked 299 55.5g 12.6g
14 Adzuki
Adzuki beans
1 Cup, Cooked 294 57g 16.8g
Sources linked in item names

Edamame And Soybeans: The Lowest Carb Beans

As you can see in the table above, the bean with the fewest carbohydrates per serving is actually a tie between edamame and soybeans. And for good reason– they’re actually one and the same.

As it turns out, edamame and soybeans are the same bean. The only difference between them is where they’re at in their lifecycle.

Edamame are still green and have not fully matured, whereas soybeans have fully matured and take on a muted yellow shade.

A single 1-cup serving of either edamame or soybeans only contains 14 grams of carbohydrates per serving! That is less than half the amount found in Fava beans, which are a distant third place, coming in at 33.4 grams per serving.

Fun Fact: Soybeans Also Have The Most Protein Of Any Bean Variety

Not only do soybeans come with the advantage of having the least amount of carbohydrates, but they also pack the most protein of any bean variety, clocking in at 31 grams per 1-cup serving. This is roughly double the amount of protein found in most other bean varieties, which average roughly 15 grams of protein for an equal serving size.

This could explain why soybeans are such a popular choice among plant-based athletes and fitness enthusiasts alike. Soy beans are often used for making protein supplements and meat substitutes, such as Tofu.

A single 1-cup serving of soybeans contains:

  • Calories: 296
  • Total fat: 15g
  • Saturated fat: 2.2g
  • Total carbohydrates: 14g
  • Dietary fiber: 10g
  • Protein: 31g
  • Calcium: 13% DV
  • Iron: 49% DV
  • Potassium: 19% DV

Furthermore, they’re also a good source of vitamin B6, vitamin K, and copper.

Beans Tend To Be High In Carbohydrates

Browsing through the rankings, it’s probably no secret that beans in general probably aren’t the best food choice if you’re looking to reduce your carbohydrate consumption. This is especially true if your aim is to reach a state of Ketosis, which requires carbohydrate intake to be even lower than your standard low-carb diet.

Those seeking lower-carb plant-based alternatives may be better served opting for nuts and nut butter products instead. They tend to be much lower in carbohydrates, but still pack lots of protein and fiber like beans do.

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, beans come with many nutritional benefits. They are high in fiber, protein, iron, and various other vitamins and minerals. However, if carbohydrate count is of concern for you then you’d probably be better off seeking other plant-based foods that are lower carb.


This post was contributed by a member of the PBF writing staff. PlantBasedFAQs.com is an online publication for learning about plant-based food and nutrition.

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