Can Lentils Make You Fat?

If you eat more calories than you use through your daily activity, you will gain weight. This means any food can make you fat if you eat enough of it. However, lentils are more likely to help you lose weight than make you fat, and contain a lot of beneficial nutrients.

A bowl of lentil soup.
Credit: NatasaMandic/iStock/Getty Images

Nutrition Facts

One cup of boiled lentils contains 230 calories, along with 18 g of protein and 16 g of fiber. This serving of lentils also provides you with 90 percent of the Daily Value, or DV, for folate; 35 percent of the DV for iron and phosphorus; 20 percent of the DV for magnesium, vitamin B-6 and thiamine; 15 percent of the DV for zinc; 10 percent of the DV for riboflavin and niacin; 6 percent of the DV for vitamin C; and 4 percent of the DV for calcium. Lentils are also a good source of potassium.

Lentils and Weight

Lentils contain fiber and protein to help fill you up and keep you full longer, helping you eat fewer calories during the day so you can either maintain your weight or lose weight. People who consume more fiber tend to weigh less than those who consume less fiber, according to the American Dietetic Association.

Health Benefits

Beans such as lentils might lower your risk for colon cancer, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease. The high fiber content also slows the absorption of the carbohydrates you eat, helping you control your blood sugar levels if you have diabetes, according to North Dakota State University.

Considerations

Because lentils are an incomplete protein, vegetarians should make sure to eat a complementary protein source, such as whole grains, at some point during the day. They are one of the easier legumes to prepare because you don't have to soak them before cooking. You should aim to eat 4 to 5 servings consisting of 1/2 cup of legumes each week for the most health benefits.

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