Are Legumes Fattening? [Can You Live Off of Beans]

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While fat has been reviled (at least in the United States and other Western nations) since the 1960s, many have recently come around to the fact that fat is a required macronutrient in the human diet.

At the same time, since individuals rely on legumes for basic sustenance, they may ask whether beans are a good source of healthful fat.

Good fats play an important part in the human diet.

They are required for hormone function, fat-soluble vitamin absorption, hair and nail health, cell signaling and repair, and a variety of other physiological activities.

Fat is also calorically rich, thus consuming too much of it will cause weight gain, even if it is a so-called healthy fat. Except for peanuts and peanut butter, legumes are usually low in fat.

Are Legumes High in Fat?

The bulk of legumes have relatively little fat.

The majority of the calories in beans and lentils, for example, come from carbs, some from protein, and a little amount from fat.

The peanut is the only frequently consumed high-fat legume.

Peanuts’ fat composition is more than 50% monounsaturated fat, which is usually regarded as a healthy fat.

Soybeans are relatively heavy in fat, accounting for around 44% of total calories.


A comparison of five widely consumed varieties of legumes is shown in the table below:

Type of legume Grams of fat in one cup
Black beans 1.1
Lentils 0.8
Soybeans 15.4
Chickpeas 4.5
Peanuts 72.5

Observe how low in fat black beans, lentils, and chickpeas are.

These foods’ caloric value is mostly derived from carbs.

Carbohydrates, for example, account for 76% of the calories in a cup of cooked black beans.

They also have some protein in them (I.e., there are 14.2 grams of protein in a cup of cooked black beans).

Soybeans, on the other hand, include a more balanced nutritional profile.

Soybeans provide 296 calories per cup cooked. Protein accounts for 37% of these calories, carbohydrates for 20%, and fat for 44%.

The nutritional makeup of peanuts differs much more dramatically. A cup of dry roasted peanuts has 857 calories. Protein accounts for 14% of these calories, carbohydrates for 15%, and fat accounts for 71%.

Since fat comprises 9 calories per gram, this explains why peanuts have a substantially greater calorie load than low-fat legumes.

According to the NCCDB database, monounsaturated fat accounts for more than half of the fat content in peanuts, with the remainder being polyunsaturated or saturated. Because of their typically favorable influence on cardiovascular disease risk factors such as LDL and triglycerides, monounsaturated fats are commonly considered as good fats.

Yet, it is crucial to remember that even good fats include a lot of calories.

If you want to lose weight, you must limit your calorie consumption.

This entails being mindful of your portion size anytime you consume peanuts or peanut butter, as well as other high fat and high carb items.

The fact that some fats are categorized as healthy does not imply that you should consume them with abandon and expect to lose weight!

Benefits of eating beans and rice together

Beans and rice combine to form an inexpensive, easy, and tasty meal that is often served in many countries’ cuisines.

Since rice is poor in nutrients, increasing the number of beans in the meal will increase the nutritious value (other than carbohydrates).

Beans and rice also go well with other healthy whole meals like meat, dairy, and fresh vegetables and herbs.

One of the most significant benefits of beans and rice is their low cost, which explains why they feed so much of the globe.

Eating rice and beans together is a long-standing custom in many cultures, so craving rice and beans is nearly genetic.

Rice and beans, typically accompanied with hot tortillas, sour cream and cheese, and freshly produced pico de gallo, may be found at the heart of many tables where family and friends gather to enjoy meals all over the globe.

With our often excessively reductionist thinking and inclination to limit the advantages of food to its macronutrient composition, we frequently overlook this aspect of food and nutrition in our contemporary society.

Food is much more than just vitamins, minerals, and protein.

Beans and rice recipes have long served as a means of connecting us with our family, friends, and cultures.

As compared to rice, beans are the more nutritionally dense food.

In terms of macronutrients, rice is mostly carbohydrate, but beans offer protein in addition to carbohydrates. Please see the table below:

Type of food Total calories in 0.5 cup Protein (grams) Carbs (grams) Fat (grams)
White rice (steamed) 103 2.1 22.3 0.2
Black beans (canned and drained) 120 7.1 22.4 0.5

Beans and rice are both low in micronutrients, however beans are the more nutritious of the two.

White rice has trace quantities of B vitamins and minerals (such as manganese), but black beans include much more folate and a greater level of certain minerals (like phosphorus).

Additionally, beans contain more fiber and therefore decrease the release of carbohydrates into the circulation, which may improve blood sugar regulation, which is important to consider when taking a meal heavy in carbs, such as rice and beans.

Can I live on beans and rice?

You may be able to survive on beans and rice for a while, but you would not flourish on this diet.

Beans and rice will supply enough calories if consumed in appropriate quantities, but they will not give a balanced or adequate quantity of protein, vitamins and minerals, or vital fats.

Carbohydrates are the principal macronutrients given by beans and grains.

Carbohydrates are beneficial as an energy source for people if you have well-functioning hormones that can utilise them effectively.

Yet, carbohydrates are not as necessary to the human diet as protein and fat are.

Protein is required for the maintenance, repair, and construction of almost every structure in the human body.

Fats are required for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, the formation and maintenance of cells, and the maintenance of brain function.

Carbohydrates, on the other hand, are interchangeable and, from a physiological standpoint, are not required.

Since neither beans nor rice supply the fundamental quantity of essential fatty acids required to sustain health, they fall short if used as your only source of nourishment.

Beans certainly give some protein, but you’d have to consume at least 2-3 times more beans than rice to receive even the basic minimum of protein required to prevent sickness.

In addition, many impoverished people depend on beans and rice as staple meals since they are inexpensive and widely available in many regions of the globe.

Yet beans are generally the more costly of the two meals, so what many people do is eat more rice and fewer beans.

This is problematic since it considerably dilutes the meal’s already meager nutritional content.

How long can you survive on beans?

The quantity of calories required to live varies from person to person and is determined by a variety of factors, including basal metabolic rate (BMR), activity level, current weight, and the amount of fat stored in the body.

The amount of time you could live just on beans would also vary greatly from person to person.

It’s difficult to establish a hard and fast guideline for how long you could live on beans alone.

In reality, the world record for the longest time spent without food is 382 days, so if you had a big quantity of fat stored in your body, you could conceivably live for an extended period of time consuming nothing or just beans (its important to note that the record-breaking fast was carried out under medical supervision, and the subject also consumed vitamins and minerals during his fast).

It is, nevertheless, critical to differentiate between flourishing and just surviving.

If you are lucky enough to be able to buy, hunt, harvest, or otherwise get food, your objective should be to flourish rather than just survive.

You will not flourish if you simply consume beans for a few days.

Can you survive eating only one food?

You can live on only one meal for a while.

How long you would live would be determined on the sort and quantity of food you ate, as well as the fundamental number of calories you need to prevent malnutrition.

This, in turn, is determined by your specific basal metabolic rate, degree of exercise, present weight, and the amount of fat stored in your body that may be utilized as energy.

If I had to consume just one sort of food for the rest of my life, it would be beef.

There are an increasing number of individuals who prefer to eat this way and seem to be not just surviving but flourishing, even after eating exclusively beef on a regular basis for many years.

As previously stated, the necessary macronutrients for humans are protein and fat, both of which are abundant in beef.

Beef also contains B vitamins, choline, and a variety of minerals such as phosphorus, potassium, and zinc.

It also contains important fatty acids, such as omega-3 lipids.

Beef contains nutrients that are highly accessible and so utilised effectively in the body.

Beef is also simple to digest for the average individual.

Tel Aviv University in Israel researchers gathered several lines of evidence from various disciplines of study and utilized this to recreate the diet of Stone Age people.

Based on this reconstruction, the researchers hypothesized that Stone Age people subsisted mostly on meat (most likely the flesh of huge creatures such as mammoths) and nothing else.

Personally, if I had to limit my diet to just one item for the remainder of my life, I believe I would have the greatest chance of survival if I followed the diet of our Stone Age predecessors.

True, beef is lower in some micronutrients, including vitamins A and C, as well as several minerals, and I’m not sure how long it would take for these deficits to start affecting my health.

I may not survive on a single meal, but if I had no other option, I feel ruminant animal flesh (i.e., beef) would be my greatest chance of survival, if not flourishing.


Can you eat only beans?

A diet high in beans has several advantages. They are high in macronutrients like protein and micronutrients like iron, potassium, and magnesium. If losing weight is your aim, you can even consume beans and rice.

Are beans and legumes high in fat?

Legumes are abundant in fiber, folate, potassium, iron, and magnesium while being low in fat. Beans and other legumes may be a healthy alternative to meat, which is higher in fat and cholesterol.

Are beans considered a fatty food?

Beans have a low glycemic index and are low in fat. They include a lot of fiber and plant protein. They dramatically increase satiety and boost the gut microbiota.

What is the difference between a bean and a legume?

While the phrases “legumes,” “pulses,” and “beans” are used interchangeably, they have unique meanings. A legume is any plant from the Fabaceae family, including its leaves, stems, and pods. A legume plant’s edible seed is known as a pulse. Beans, lentils, and peas are examples of pulses.

Can you just eat beans everyday?

The US Dietary Guidelines suggest consuming around 3 cups of legumes per week, such as pinto, kidney, or black beans. You’ll satisfy the weekly Dietary Guidelines for beans if you consume roughly 12 cup of beans every day.

Can you live off beans alone?

They do, however, supply few vitamins and very little fat. You would still need Vitamin C and some of the other nutrients. Yet, you can survive for a long period on just beans. They are popular among vegetarians because they are a rich source of plant protein.

Can you eat too many beans and legumes?

It has the potential to cause cramping.

Beans include fiber, which is difficult for the body to digest. If you ingest an excessive amount of beans, the fiber in the beans might temporarily slow down your intestines (since it is indigestible) and cause cramps.

Why not eat legumes?

Eating raw or undercooked beans might induce nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and bloating, according to one particular allegation against lectins 1. There is some evidence that eating raw beans is not the best choice. Because of the high lectin concentration, it is advised to avoid consuming raw beans.

Can you get fat from eating too many beans?

Although though beans have relatively little fat, they are high in calories. As a result, consuming an excessive quantity of beans might cause weight gain. Another factor that contributes to bean fat production is how they are cooked.

What beans have no fat?

Beans of all varieties, including black, cranberry, Great Northern, dark red kidney, light red kidney, white kidney, navy, pink, pinto, and tiny red, are high in protein and fiber, and are naturally fat-free, sodium-free, and cholesterol-free.

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