Are Lentils Considered To Be Keto Friendly?
- 14 Aug, 2020
WHAT ARE LENTILS
Lentils are small pea sized beans, members of the legumes family, found in pods and contain a dose of healthy nutrients as they contain ample amounts of fats, carbs? protein, fiber, and minerals. Lentils are a great source of protein in plant based diets.
Lentils are easily found in markets, inexpensive, highly nutritious and can be easily stored for a long time without refrigeration. These are recommended to people working on a body - building diet, people looking to lose weight, maintain a healthy blood pressure level, people on a vegan diet etc. thus making it a staple food for people across the globe. Lentils are available in different colours and sizes which vary in their nutritional values as well but more or less have the same nutrients in them. The most commonly found lentils are the brown lentils, green lentils, red lentils and the golden lentils.
TYPES OF LENTILS
1. BROWN LENTILS
Brown lentils are one of the most commonly found varieties of lentils in any grocery store and are the most inexpensive of all lentils available. These lentils are highly nutritious, rich in protein, vitamin B, fiber content etc. Their colour ranges from khaki to black colour and has a flavour ranging from mild to earthy.
2. GREEN LENTILS
Green lentils are another variety similar to that of brown lentils apart from the fact that they are salty green to dark green in colour. They have a salty and peppery flavour and come in various sizes as well. These are also easily available and inexpensive as well. Green lentils are also equally nutritious and are quite common in North Indian cuisine such as dal.
3. RED AND YELLOW LENTILS
As the name suggests, red and yellow lentils range from being red, primary red to orange and golden to dark yellow. These are generally big sizes of lentils which are sold after processing them into splits. These lentils taste sweetish and are quite common in the part of India and the parts of the Middle East. It is an important part of the Indian cuisine and is the major key to premier everyday dishes such as the Indian daal or tadka and other side dishes such as dal makhani, paneer makhani etc.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF LENTILS
Lentils are a powerhouse of nutrients which provide a plethora of health benefits to the body. Some of them are mentioned below.
- Lentils are extremely low in Fats.
- Lentils are very high in Protein. (26% of the total calorie intake from lentils are in the form of proteins.)
- Lentils are super rich in Folate. (More than any other plant diet)
- Lentils are high in phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, zinc and iron.
- Lentils are high in Vitamin B. (Best for curing vitamin B deficiency)
- Lentils are an excellent source of plant-based protein. (On a bodybuilding diet, vegan diet)
- Lentils are high in fiber as well. (It helps in supporting a healthy digestive tract and the growth of good gut bacteria.)
- Consuming lentils regularly can help get rid of constipation and improve stomach functioning.
- Lentils have the presence of soluble fiber which helps in regulating high levels of cholesterol and fluctuating blood sugar levels.
- Lentils contain phytochemicals which help in the treatment and prevention of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart diseases, renal problems etc.
INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT LENTILS
Here are some interesting facts about lentils which a Keto dieter and otherwise a nutrition and health conscious person may be interested in knowing.
- Lentils contain the third highest level of protein in all the legumes and nuts available.
- 26% of lentils' calories are attributed to protein thus making them one of the richest sources of protein.
- 3/4th cup of cooked lentils contains more potassium than a large sized ripe banana
- Lentils have more folate than any other vegan food/plant based diet.
NUTRITIONAL VALUE OF BOILED LENTILS
The data given below is in accordance to the USDA. (THE UNITED STATES' DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE)
- Amount- 100 GRAMS
- Calories- 116
NUTRIENTS AND DAILY VALUE IN %
- Total Fat (0.4 g) - 0%
- Saturated fat (0.1 g) - 0%
- Polyunsaturated fat ( 0.2 g)
- Monounsaturated fat (0.1 g)
- Cholesterol (0 mg) - 0%
- Sodium (2 mg) - 0%
- Potassium (369 mg) -10%
- Total Carbohydrate (20 g) - 6%
- Dietary fiber (8 g) - 32%
- Sugar (1.8 g)
- Protein (9 g) -18%
- Vitamin A - 0%
- Vitamin C - 2%
- Calcium - 1%
- Iron - 18%
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin B-6 -10%
- Cobalamin - 0%
- Magnesium - 9%
(*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.)
ARE LENTILS KETO FRIENDLY?
A Keto diet deals with 75% fats, 20% proteins and 5% net carbs. Lentils are simply high in carbs but also in proteins therefore the answer to this question can be tricky and depends on the understanding of the person. It is understood that lentils are high in both carbs and fiber and due to their high carbohydrate content, most of the legumes are avoided on a strict Keto diet which does not compromise on the diet and healthy foods.
However it is a matter of fact that net carbs refer to the total number of digestible carbohydrates in a food product and it is calculated by subtracting the fiber content from the total carbs, thus making it slightly compatible for a Keto diet. Just like Quinoa, the consumption of Lentils depends upon the quantity in which it is consumed, the physical activity of the dieter along with other factors combined. Those who are following a strict Keto diet should refrain from having lentils and those who are not on a strict diet and do regressive exercise should consider taking it in small quantities from time to time considering the fact that they are very healthy.
CARB CONTENT IN LENTILS
If we talk of the carb content in Lentils, we see that 1 cup of cooked lentils (approximately 180 grams) provides the following : 36 GRAMS OF CARBS and 14 GRAMS OF FIBER. Here, if we subtract the fiber content from the carbs, we gain 22 GRAMS OF NET CARBS. As a matter of fact, an ideal Keto diet restricts the total carb intake to 20-50 grams a day (not more than 50 grams of net carbs and not less than 20 grams). Hence, lentils would count upto 50% of your total carb intake in a day and can be taken in small quantities without any tension of hindrances in the process of Ketosis.
CALORIES IN LENTILS
A bowl of cooked lentils of approximately 100 grams would contain 230 calories in total which sums up to say that lentils are low in calories. The advantage of Lentils being low in calories makes them a good diet option for people following a weight loss plan, for example the Keto diet as lentils keep the hunger pangs in control for a long time and provide the dieter with satiety.
THE BOTTOM LINE
We can conclude by saying that even though lentils are highly nutritious and have many health benefits, it is possible that it may not be suitable for every type of diet. Keto is a unique diet which cuts down the carbs consumption and focuses on the fats and proteins intake to help the body attain the process of Ketosis wherein the body runs short on carbohydrates to produce energy therefore uses fats and proteins (fatty acids and amino acids) to produce energy.
Since, Lentils are high in both carbs and proteins, people who are following a targeted diet, causal Keto diet or people with rigorous physical activity can still consume it in limited quantities to maintain the smooth process of Ketosis. On an overall basis, Lentils are healthy, nutritious and important for the proper functioning of our bodies therefore we one should consider adding it to the daily meal platter in optimum quantities if not on a diet and in very limited quantities on a Keto diet.