Beans are a welcome addition to weight-loss meal plans because they are packed with essential nutrients and help keep you feeling full for long periods of time. However, with the exception of green beans, which are not a legume like other beans, many beans are not necessarily low in calories. The Skinny Center recommends eating them in moderation as part of a reduced-calorie meal plan to help you shed pounds.
Benefits of Beans
Legumes, such as kidney, garbanzo, black, pinto and navy beans, are high in protein and fiber — beneficial nutrients when you’re trying to shed pounds. Protein helps boost satiety and calorie expenditure, and fiber helps you feel full without the extra calories. Even though green beans are considered a vegetable and not a legume, they are still packed with fiber and contain just 44 calories per cup, notes the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference.
Cons of Beans
Although legumes are protein- and fiber-rich, most are not low-calorie foods. The USDA National Nutrient Database reports that 1 cup of cooked pinto beans contains 245 calories in just 1 cup. The majority of these calories are from carbohydrates, which are essential nutrients but can lead to weight gain when consumed in excess. However, beans — even starchy beans — can help you lose weight when eaten in recommended portions.