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Glycemic Index for Beans

author image Amy Long Carrera
Amy Long Carrera is a registered dietitian in Los Angeles who has been writing since 2007 for such publications as The Insider, On the Other Side and Arthritis Today. She is a certified nutrition support clinician and her writing employs current research to provide evidence-based nutrition information. Carrera holds a master of science degree in nutrition from California State University, Northridge.
Glycemic Index for Beans
Beans are a low-glycemic index food. Photo Credit Blue Jean Images/Photodisc/Getty Images

Where a carbohydrate food falls on the glycemic index indicates how much it will raise your blood sugar. This is particularly important if you have diabetes, as your body’s ability to manage the amount of sugar in your blood is impaired. Although carbohydrate counting is a more effective way to plan meals and manage your glucose levels, the glycemic index can help you fine-tune your carb intake, reports the American Diabetes Association.

How Bean GI Affects You

If a food has a low GI – less than 55 -- it will affect your blood sugar less than a medium or high food will. The GI score of beans ranges from 10 to 40 for a serving of about a 1/2-cup. Dried chickpeas come in the lowest at 10, while kidney beans and lentils score 29. Black beans have a GI of 30, canned chickpeas are at 38 and baked beans come in at 40. Here's an added bonus: Eating beans with foods higher on the GI scale will even out the effect of the less nutritious foods on your blood sugar, according to the American Diabetes Association.

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The Disclaimer

Unfortunately, the GI is not foolproof. Foods that contain fat are lower on the index, meaning that a candy bar may appear healthier than oatmeal due to a lower glycemic index. Other factors affect GI too, such as cooking or storage time, amount of processing and degree of ripeness.

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