Are lentils keto? How many carbs are in lentils? Lentils are tasty and versatile legumes that can be used to make soups, stews and even vegan-friendly burger patties. They’re also well known for their health benefits, but can they fit into your keto diet?
In this post, we’re breaking down the facts on lentils, from carb content to keto-friendly substitutes.
What is Keto and How to Maintain Ketosis
A keto diet involves restricting carbs and sugars to get the body into a state of ketosis. There are several types of the keto diet, and the standard version is composed of over 70% fat, 20% protein, and less than 10% carbohydrates. When fat is the body’s primary source of energy, it pushes the body to react with a biochemical process known as ketosis.
Ketosis is when the body breaks down the body’s fat stores and creates ketones while fat is burning. Regular blood tests (or urine tests) can show the level of ketones in your body if you want to track it very closely.
On a keto diet, the goal is to avoid excess carbs and sugar. This means no pasta, bread, crackers, or most types of fruit.
Are Lentils Keto-Friendly?
Lentils are not considered keto-friendly as they are pretty high in carbohydrates. Just one serving of lentils can take up half of your daily carb allowance.
If you really like lentils, it’s still possible to enjoy them in moderation every once in a while. You’ll just have to ensure that your other meals for the day are very low in carbs. There are also some lentil-based recipes that are lower in carbs than eating the beans on their own.
How Many Net Carbs In Lentils?
According to the USDA, 1 cup (198 grams) of boiled lentils contains 39 grams of carbs with 16 grams of fiber. This works out to 23 grams of net carbs per 1-cup serving.
Carbs in Lentil Soup
A typical bowl (100 grams) of lentil soup contains 8.2 grams of net carbs, according to the USDA. Lentil soup is one way that you can safely fit these legumes into your keto diet.
Keto Substitutes for Lentils
To truly mimic the taste and texture of lentils, you’d have to turn to other legumes, many of which are similarly high in carbs. We’ve listed out some low-carb legumes you could try:
- Edamame beans
- Black soybeans
Other substitutes for lentils include nuts and seeds. These examples have similar nutritional benefits to lentils:
Other Healthy Foods to Avoid on A Keto Diet
- Sweet Potatoes: though they’re considered more nutritious in comparison to white potatoes, sweet potatoes have too many carbs for a keto diet. A 100g serving of sweet potatoes has a whopping 20 grams of carbohydrates.
- Quinoa is widely considered to be a healthier alternative to rice, but it’s just as unsuitable for keto. According to nutrition information from the USDA, ½ cup of cooked quinoa contains all of 17 grams of net carbs.
- Yogurt is surprisingly high in carbs, especially when sweetened or combined with fruits. For a keto-friendly way to enjoy this dairy product, stick to Greek yogurt, which has less than 5 grams of carbs per 3.5oz
- Black Beans, like other legumes, are considered a wholesome source of plant-based protein and fiber. At the same time, black beans are loaded with 13g of net carbs in a ½ cup serving.
- Oranges (and their juice) are a healthy source of vitamin C and antioxidants, but their sugar content makes them
- Chickpeas are a healthy ingredient used in many vegan recipes. Though they provide a host of nutritional benefits, they’re also super high in net carbs, with as much as 32 grams per cup of cooked garbanzo beans. Instead of whole chickpeas, satisfy your craving with hummus, which is quite keto friendly.
- Brown Rice may be more nutritious than white rice, but it’s quite similar in terms of carb content. A ½ cup serving contains 23 grams of net carbs, which may be enough to erase your keto progress.
Lentils Nutrition (Macros)
How Many Carbs In Lentils?
Unfortunately for keto dieters, there are almost 29 grams of carbs in a 1-cup serving of lentils. The upside is that these legumes are fiber-rich, with over 15 grams per cup.
Lentils are a naturally fat-free food and contain virtually no fat. Many people choose to cook these legumes with butter, oil or other fats.
Lentils are a popular choice of plant-based protein for vegans and vegetarians. With a generous 18 grams of protein per cup, these legumes are often used to make meatless burger patties and veggie nuggets.
There are 226 calories in a cup of cooked lentils, the majority of which are from carbs.
Are Lentils High in Carbs?
Cooked lentils have a pretty high total carb content, with 39 grams in a 1-cup serving. Despite having 16 grams of fiber, lentils still have a high amount of net carbs.
If you’re doing keto, you’ll ideally want to keep your carb count at 20-50 grams per day, which makes it pretty difficult to incorporate lentils into your diet.
Are Red Lentils Keto?
Red lentils are even higher in carbs than brown or green lentils. With a whopping 121 grams of carbs per cup (according to the USDA), there’s pretty much no way you can have red lentils on a keto diet, even in small amounts.
Are Black Lentils Keto?
Black lentils are also too high in carbohydrates for a keto diet. Even a small ¼ cup serving contains 30 grams of carbs.
Are Brown Lentils Keto?
According to the USDA, there are 60 grams of carbs per 100 grams of brown lentils. Definitely not keto-friendly!
Are Green Lentils Keto?
Like other varieties of lentils, green lentils are best avoided on a keto diet. A 50 gram (¼ cup) serving provides 30 grams of carbs, according to the USDA.
Are Lentil Chips Keto?
No, lentil chips aren’t keto-friendly. These chips are mostly made up of the high-carb ingredient, lentils. They’re also highly processed and contain preservatives and other unhealthy ingredients.
Are Lentils ok on a Low-Carb Diet?
A more liberal low-carb diet would have a higher carb allowance than a keto diet. If you’re aiming to consume between 50-100 grams of carbs per day, you can definitely enjoy lentils, beans and other legumes.
A ketogenic diet is a lot more unforgiving. Most people on keto try to consume between 20-50 grams of carbs per day, which would make lentils a no go.
Can I Eat Chickpeas on Keto?
Like lentils and other legumes, chickpeas are best avoided on a keto diet. According to the USDA, one cup of cooked chickpeas contains 45 grams of carbs, which is way too high for keto.
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Keto Lentils Substitute
- 1 cup black soybeans
- optional other keto substitutes
- Replace lentils with black soybeans according to the recipe
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