Your body loves to store energy. It is your animal self, protecting against food scarcity when food is abundant. However, for many in a modern society, that scarcity never comes and you pack on the pounds. Foods high in fat are often blamed for increases in girth, but actually any food can be “fattening” if you eat enough of it. Edamame, the sweet and savory soy snack, is no exception, but it is not especially high in fat, and it is a healthy source of protein and calcium.
Edamame is a specialty soybean harvested while it is young, when the seeds fill 80 to 90 percent of the pod. The beans inside the pods have a sweet, nutty flavor. Edamame contains all three macronutrients: protein, carbohydrate and fat.
A 1/2 cup serving of edamame contains 11.1 grams of protein, 10 grams of carbohydrates and 5.8 grams of fat for a total of 127 calories, according to the National Soy Research Laboratory. Soy is fiber-rich, and each serving of edamame contributes 3 grams of both soluable and insoluble fiber. Edamame contains vitamins A, B-12 and K and trace amounts of vitamin C. It is a good source of iron, particularly for vegetarians who don’t get iron from meat sources, and calcium.
Types of Fat
Edamame contains both polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat, sometimes termed “good fats” because they’ve been shown to lower cholesterol. They are also necessary in fiber processing and vitamin and mineral absorption. The presence of these fats does not necessarily make edamame fattening.
If you really wanted to get fat on edamame, consider the calorie count in an average serving. One pound of fat equals 3,500 calories. At 127 calories per half cup, you would need to eat almost 14 cups of edamame in addition to your regular calorie intake to pack on one pound of fat. Considering that the average calorie intake is 2,400 per day for women and 2,800 per day for men, blaming edamame for your spare tire would be a stretch.
- National Soybean Research Laboratory: Nutritional and Health Benefits of Soybeans
- University of Wisconsin Extension; Edamame: The Vegetable Soybean; John Konovsky et al.
- American Heart Association: Know Your Fats
- Soy Info Center; History of Research on the Nutritional Value, Biochemistry, and Medicinal Uses of Soybeans and Soyfoods; William Shurtleff and Akiko Aoyagi; 2007