Carbs and Nutritional Information in Black Beans

Nutritional Information, Glycemic Index, Calories, Protein

black beans
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Black beans are a type of legume which can be purchased dried or canned. As noted below, there are advantages to cooking them yourself, as the impact on blood sugar will be less, and the benefits to gut flora will be maximized. After soaking the beans (overnight is best), throw away the soaking water before boiling them in fresh water. This will remove some of the substances which cause flatulence, as well as some of the anti-nutrients (phytates and tannins) that can make it more difficult to absorb all the nutrients in the beans.

Black Soy Beans are a great low-carb substitute for black beans

Carbohydrate and Fiber Counts for Black Beans

Glycemic Index of Black Beans

Two studies for soaked boiled black beans reported an average glycemic index of 25. Canned beans and beans cooked in a pressure cooker almost always reveal a higher GI (mid-40's to mid-60's, with the canned beans being at the higher end).

More Information About the Glycemic Index

Glycemic Load of Black Beans

  • ½ cup cooked black beans: 7

Health Benefits of Black Beans

Black beans are an excellent source of fiber (both soluble and insoluble) and folate, a very good source of manganese, magnesium, and thiamin, and a good source of potassium and iron. Black beans also contain some phytonutrients, mainly polyphenols in the coating.

Black beans, like other legumes, are perhaps the best food source of slowly-digested carbohydrate and resistant starch.

Essentially, this means that they contain starch which is slowly converted to glucose, and starch which is not digested in the small intestine at all. At least one study has shown that replacing more rapidly-digested carbohydrates with legumes improved glycemic control in diabetics. Consuming foods high in resistant starch may also improve colon health, including promoting healthy bowel flora.

Resistant starch may even improve insulin sensitivity and absorption of minerals such as calcium. Note, though, that canned beans have a higher glycemic index, and less slowly-digested and resistant starch than dried beans which are soaked and boiled. Also, some diabetics notice that beans raise cause a rapid rise of blood glucose, so there is clearly a lot of individual variation in how our digestive systems handle legumes.

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Carmona-Garcia, R., Osorio-Diaz, P., Agama-Acevedo, et al. Composition and effect of soaking on starch digestibility of Phaseolus vulgaris (L.) cv. ‘Mayocoba’. International Journal of Food Science and Technology.

Fernandes AC, Nishida W, da Costa Proenc RP et al. Influence of soaking on the nutritional quality of common beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) cooked with or without the soaking water: a review. International Journal of Food Science and Technology 2010, 45: 2209–2218. 2010. 2007, 42: 296-302. 2007.

Leroux, MarcusFoster-Powell, Kaye, Holt, Susanna and Brand-Miller, Janette. "International table of glycemic index and glycemic load values: 2002." American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Vol. 76, No. 1, 5-56, (2002).

USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 21.