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Home arrow Health arrow Diabetes arrow Are Pinto Beans Good for Diabetes? Facts Explained

Are Pinto Beans Good for Diabetes? Facts Explained

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: March 22, 2023
5 min read 1458 Views 0 Comments
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Many types of beans contain important nutrients that support diabetes. You might be wondering – how do they keep my blood sugar levels low? We explain if pinto beans are good for diabetes management and provide 4 amazing health benefits of eating this food product.

Are pinto beans good for diabetes

So, you want to learn more about pinto beans.

The pinto bean is a type of bean that has a creamy texture and mild flavor. It contains lots of important minerals that help improve your overall health. These nutrients might be magnesium, potassium, thiamine, and iron, which are all great for managing diabetes. 

If you want to eat more diabetes-friendly foods, pinto beans might be a good option for those who need extra fiber and protein. You might be asking: how will this food benefit my long-term health?

In this article, you’ll discover if these beans are good for diabetes management. 

Are Pinto Beans Good for Diabetes?

Yes, pinto beans are great for managing diabetes. They contain fiber and magnesium – two nutrients that can help lower blood sugar levels. Foods with a low-glycemic rating can benefit any diabetes diet, so it’s worth incorporating these beans into your meals.

Pinto beans won’t directly treat diabetes, but they’re good for reducing symptoms. Cooked pinto beans can help control blood sugar levels and improve your glucose response. This is because they’re slow to digest, meaning your body won’t produce too much insulin after consumption.

The magnesium in these beans can decrease insulin resistance, and it also helps to regulate metabolism. Your pancreas won’t make too much or too little insulin, which strengthens this organ in the long term. People who regularly meet their daily magnesium intake have a 22% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. 

A single serving of pinto beans may also have the best vitamins for diabetes. This is vitamin B1 (thiamine) and B6, both of which heal nerve damage caused by hyperglycemia. Thiamine provides your nerve cells with energy and protects the body against oxidative stress. 

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Will Pinto Beans Raise Your Blood Sugar?

No, pinto beans do not raise your blood sugar levels. They score low on the glycemic index scale, which means they can’t negatively affect glucose production. You can enjoy this food on your diabetes diet and mix it with healthy green vegetables and fish.

The high fiber content in pinto beans stops your blood sugar from rising. Dietary fiber slows down the absorption of sugar, leading to fewer symptoms of hyperglycemia. Pinto beans especially contain insoluble fiber – a type of carb that reduces the risk of heart disease.

People also eat these beans for an adequate amount of protein. A high-protein diet is not only good for building muscle but can also lower blood glucose levels. This means there won’t be excess glucose in your bloodstream, further decreasing blood pressure and LDL cholesterol. 

Nutritional Value of Pinto Beans

Pinto beans are rich in nutrients, including vitamins and antioxidants that manage blood sugar levels. The phytochemicals specifically fight cardiovascular diseases and boost your natural defenses. You can have a closer look at the nutrients in these beans and their content. 

Below, you’ll find the nutritional value of pinto beans per 100 grams:

Pinto Beans
Are pinto beans keto
Not Keto Friendly
Key nutritional facts (per 100g):
Net carbs
Total carbs
Glycemic Index

Glycemic Index of Pinto Beans

The glycemic index of pinto beans is 39. This score depends on how you cook the product or if you buy canned beans instead. For example, canned beans usually contain greater levels of sodium, which isn’t good for keeping blood sugar levels stable. 

A low GI score is great for your diabetes-friendly diet. Anything below 55 counts as a low-glycemic food, so it can’t affect blood sugars in those with type 2 diabetes. Pinto beans don’t have added sugar or saturated fats that might trigger a random blood sugar spike. 

Just make sure to regularly check the glycemic index of each food product. Eating meals over 60 might raise blood pressure and exhaustion levels. This is because your body has to quickly produce insulin, which could increase the person’s risk of developing insulin resistance.

How to Eat Pinto Beans for Diabetes

A person with diabetes can eat half a cup of pinto beans per day. This should be enough to fuel their body with protein, fiber, and healthy carbohydrates. Just remember that if you’re trying to lose weight, find another source of protein that benefits weight loss

If you want to cook raw beans, simply add them to the saucepan and throw in some water. The mixture should start boiling after 10 minutes. Once you see the water bubbling, turn down the heat, cover the saucepan with a lid, and leave those beans to simmer for at least 15 minutes.

You can also sprinkle some herbs and seasonings into the water. Most people like to pair pinto beans with bean burritos, non-starchy vegetables, brown rice, and other types of whole grains. Don’t speed up the cooking process and always buy fresh raw beans from the grocery store.

4 Benefits of Pinto Beans for Diabetes

These beans are packed with essential nutrients that improve your health. They can even get things going in your bowels, relieving that back pain. Beans usually contain important minerals for maintaining natural functions in the body, so eating beans will help you in the long term.

Let’s take a look at the 3 health benefits of eating beans:

#1 Reduces the risk of heart disease

The pinto bean can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. 

Both magnesium and potassium prevent hypertension, often leading to a weakened heart. These minerals play a role in relaxing blood vessels and maintaining normal heart rhythm. More healthy blood flow stops the arteries from clogging and causing serious damage.

Other foods, like kidney beans and black beans, also have the same effect. This is because most beans typically encourage propionate production. Propionate is a short-chain fatty acid that can lower bad cholesterol levels (LDL) and raise good cholesterol (HDL) in the body.

#2 Source of fiber

Pinto beans are a great source of fiber – an indigestible carb often found in plant-based foods. This type of nutrient can relieve serious constipation and ease bowel movements. The fiber also works to slow down the absorption of sugar, which decreases a person’s blood sugar levels. 

Most people don’t reach their recommended fiber intake when managing diabetes symptoms. Women should have around 25 grams per day, and men need 38 grams. You can easily get your dietary fiber from these beans, so it’s worth adding them to your diabetes-friendly diet.

#3 Rich in protein

Protein can suppress your appetite and reduce sugar cravings. This may stop you from eating sugary foods that raise blood sugar. Beans like pinto, navy beans, and kidney beans all contain high amounts of protein, making them great for someone who wants to cut processed products.

You could also add pinto beans to protein shakes and diabetes management. Protein reserves lean muscle mass, which needs more energy to function properly. This means your muscles burn extra calories throughout the day and lower your overall body fat percentage. 

#4 Helps stabilize blood sugar

Pinto beans are known to be a diabetes superfood. They regulate sugar content in your bloodstream, while other nutrients strengthen the natural heart and immune functions. The earthy flavor might not be to everyone’s taste, but you can mix them with chili and taco dishes. 

Just make sure not to indulge in baked beans that contain added sugars. Starchy foods like this can disrupt the digestive process and trigger diabetes-related symptoms. If you want something other than pinto, try black beans, garbanzo beans, or just plain dried beans as a snack.

A Word From Our MD

Beans are generally great for people who have type 2 diabetes.

The high fiber, protein, and natural fat content can improve your long-term health. You could even use pinto, red beans, or garbanzo beans as a side dish, depending on how much you want. The more beans you have in your diet, the more likely you’ll have better glycemic control.

Just remember not to eat baked beans or other sugary foods that will trigger symptoms. Eating these might cause dry mouth, shortness of breath, headaches, nausea, and abdominal pain.

You can always talk to a medical professional about healthy eating. They might recommend plant-based protein or meals that lower blood sugar levels.


So, do beans raise blood sugar? The short answer is no, and you should add this legume to your diabetes diet.

They are full of essential nutrients that help combat hyperglycemia symptoms. You could make them into bean burgers or mix them with normal dishes, like chili, tacos, and even delicious protein shakes.

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
The article was fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: March 22, 2023
5 min read 1458 Views 0 Comments

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