Are Beans Good for Diabetics?

Health and Nutrition

Beans are the major protein sources in the diets of vegetarians and vegans. They are also considered to be an economically important crop in the world.  Dried beans are commonly referred to as legumes also. Mostly beans are used in the form of dried seeds. 

What are beans?

Beans are defined as edible, nutritious seeds in the form of pods within the legume family. Legumes are sometimes also called pulses. 

Here are some common beans or legumes that are available kidney beans, cannellini beans, Great Northern beans, navy beans, fava beans, cranberry beans, black beans, pinto beans, soy beans, black-eyed peas, chickpeas, and lentils (1).

Importance of beans in the diet

Beans or dried legumes not only provide proteins but are also good sources of carbohydrate and micronutrients such as potassium, magnesium, folate iron, and zinc (2). Because they contain the essential amino acid lysine, they are important as complementary protein to cereals. 

Legumes or beans are low in fat except for soybean which can be grouped under oilseeds also.

Apart from providing several nutrients beans also are a good source of dietary fiber and bioactive compounds which offer a range of health benefits (3). Beans contain various bioactive compounds, such as phytates, saponins, or polyphenols/tannins (4).

Diabetes and beans

At the rate the diabetic population is increasing globally it is very important to follow certain guidelines to prevent and manage diabetes. 

One such strategy is to adopt diets in which whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts are incorporated. Alcohol consumption should be moderate and restrict or avoid refined grains, red/processed meats and sugar-sweetened beverages. 

This type of diet was observed to reduce diabetes risk and also improve glycaemic control and blood lipids in people with diabetes (5). 

From the evidence gathered over a period of time it looks like beans or legumes can have beneficial effects on people afflicted with diabetes and can form an important part of their diet.


Effect of beans on blood glucose levels

According to a review conducted it was stated that clinical studies consistently demonstrated that when other carbohydrate-rich foods were replaced with beans they reduce postprandial glucose levels in diabetic and nondiabetic participants (2).

Consuming beans with rice

For many people rice is a major staple in their diet. 

Rice has high glycaemic index and in a study conducted it was seen that beans reduce the glycaemic response to rice. Pinto, dark red kidney and black beans consumed along with rice attenuate the glycaemic response when compared to just rice (6).  The post prandial glucose values were significantly lower.

Beans and metabolic syndrome

Another study concluded that frequent consumption of pulses (yellow peas, chickpeas, navy beans and lentil) as part of an ad libitum diet reduced risk factors of the metabolic syndrome and the results were equivalent, and in some cases stronger than counselling for dietary energy reduction (7).

Beans also improve blood lipid profile and may decrease cardiovascular diseases by reducing inflammation (2). Diabetes is a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases.

Final word

Beans or legumes are very popular in many cultures. And as a good source of protein they are irreplaceable in a vegan or vegetarian diet.

They have a beneficial effect on blood glucose levels as well as they are heart health friendly. Therefore, in a strategy to prevent and also to manage diabetes they can perform an important role if incorporated into a balanced diet. 


24 Mantra Organic Kabuli Chana, Brown Chana,Rajma ,whole Mun and several other beans/legumes are of superior quality and easily available.Incorporate them in your diet because of all the nutrients and health benefitsthey have to offer.


  1. Polak, R., Phillips, E. M. and Campbell, A. (2015) Legumes: Health Benefits and Culinary Approaches to Increase Intake, Clinical diabetes: a publication of the American Diabetes Association. Vol. 33 (4).

  2. Messina, V. (2014) Nutritional and health benefits of dried beans, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Vol.100 (1).

  3. Hayat, I., Ahmad, A., Masud, T., Ahmed, Dr. A. and Bashir, S. (2014) Nutritional and Health Perspectives of Beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.): An Overview, Critical reviews in food science and nutrition. Vol. 54.

  4. Margier, M., Georgé, S., Hafnaoui, N., Remond, D., Nowicki, M., Du Chaffaut, L. and Reboul, E. (2018) Nutritional Composition and Bioactive Content of Legumes: Characterization of Pulses Frequently Consumed in France and Effect of the Cooking Method, Nutrients. Vol. 10 (11).

  5. Ley, S. H., Hamdy, O., Mohan, V. and Hu, F. B. (2014) Prevention and management of type 2 diabetes: dietary components and nutritional strategies, Lancet (London, England). Vol. 383 (9933).

  6. Thompson, S.V., Winham, D.M. and Hutchins, A.M. (2012) Bean and rice meals reduce postprandial glycemic response in adults with type 2 diabetes: a cross-over study, Nutrition Journal. Vol.11 (23).

  7. Mollard, R.C., Luhovyy, B. L., Panahi, S., Nunez, M., Hanley, A. and Anderson, G. H.(2012) Regular consumption of pulses for 8 weeks reduces metabolic syndrome risk factors in overweight and obese adults, Br J Nutr. Vol. 108 (1).

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