Are beans high in fat?

Most beans contain negligible amounts of fat. Only soybeans are high in fat, while chickpeas contain moderate amounts.

Fat is necessary for health

Although, fat has a bad reputation, it’s actually important for many functions of the human body. Fat is involved in energy metabolism, cell function, nutrient absorption, and hormone production.

In addition, fat protects organs and regulates body temperature.

Furthermore, consuming certain types of fat in moderation, such as polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, can help reduce bad cholesterol levels in the blood, lowering your risk of heart disease and stroke.[1]

Also, certain types of fat such as polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega-3s & omega-6s) may have health benefits in a wide rage of diseases, such as diabetes, cancer, and autoimmune diseases.

How much fat should we consume per day?

There are 4 types of fat: polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, saturated, and trans fats.

We shouldn’t consume trans fats at all. They’re very dangerous for health. Eating foods high in trans fats significantly increases the risk of heart disease. Trans fats are mainly found in highly processed products like cakes, pies, biscuits, pizzas, cookies, crackers, margarine and other spreads. Small amounts of trans fats are naturally present in animal products like milk, dairy, and meat.[2]

Eating too much saturated fats can raise LDL-cholesterol levels in the blood, increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke. Hence, the American Heart Association recommends consuming no more than 13 g of saturated fats a day.[3]

On the other hand, consuming polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats in moderation is good for you. Replacing saturated and trans fats with polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats is beneficial for the heart.[4]

But, we should consume even healthy fats in moderation. Too much fat can make us gain weight. Fat is more calorie-dense than carbs or protein. 1 g of fat has 9 calories. 1g of carbs or protein has only 4 calories.

So, the recommended daily intake of healthy fats is between 20 and 35% of total calories.[5]

The minimum fat intake should be at least 20% of total calories in order to ensure adequate consumption of total energy, essential fatty acids, and fat-soluble vitamins. Moreover, we need healthy fats to keep HDL-cholesterol (the good one) within the normal range.

How much fat is in beans?

Most beans and legumes have a pretty low fat content. Only soybeans and chickpeas are relatively high in fat. A serving of cooked soybeans provides about 15 g of fats, while a serving of chickpeas provides about 4 g of fats.

Other beans contain negligible amounts of fat. They consist mainly of carbs and protein.

fat (g)
per 100g
fat (g)
per serving
tofu20.317.1
soybeans915.4
chickpeas2.64.2
navy beans0.61.1
pinto beans0.651.1
kidney beans0.50.9
pink beans0.50.83
lentils0.40.7
lima beans0.40.7
fava beans0.40.7
Fat content of common beans.[6]

Due to their high fat content, soybeans have the most calories as compared to other beans. They have almost 300 calories per serving.

What’s the fat content of beans?

Beans consist mainly of healthy fats. They’re low in saturated fatty acids and, above all, they contain no trans fats.

For instance, the fat content of soybeans is about 15% saturated fats, 25% monounsaturated fats, and 60% polyunsaturated fats. In addition, a serving of soybeans contains about 1 g of omega-3 fatty acids!

Health benefits of beans

Beans are among the healthiest foods you can eat. They’re rich in minerals like potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc, as well as potent antioxidants compounds.

Actually, beans are high in polyphenols, which have powerful antioxidant properties. Long-term consumption of beans may lower LDL-cholesterol, and systolic blood pressure. It may reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes as well.[7]

Also, beans may reduce the risk of certain cancers, like colon cancer.[8]

Moreover, beans are particularly high in fiber and protein. Foods high in protein and fiber have a great satiating effect. Actually, a diet high in beans helps maintain a healthy body weight and reduce waist circumference.[9]

As beans are low in sugars, even people with diabetes can consume small amounts. Beans contain nutrients which help control blood sugar.

Common foods high in healthy fats

Getting the required amounts of healthy fats is easy.

All vegetable oils are almost 100% fat. Olive oil and canola oil are the best options, though. Olive oil is rich in polyphenols, while canola oil is rich in omega-3s! Don’t consume too much, though. Just a tbsp of any vegetable oil has almost 125 calories!

Avocado, seeds, nuts, and seafood are also good dietary sources of healthy fats. As a rule of thumb, try to consume a handful of mixed nuts and seeds a day,