Are Pinto Beans Good For Weight Loss? It’s Nutritional Value & More 2024


Reviewed by Sevginur Akdas, PhD
are pinto beans good for weight loss
Pinto beans are nutritious, but can they aid weight loss? Photo: Bits And Splits/Shutterstock

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Pinto beans are a versatile food that can be enjoyed in a variety of dishes and are a key part of a healthy, balanced diet. Vegetarian weight loss diets are increasingly popular, but if you are restricting your meat intake, you will need to add other protein sources to your diet. Beans are full of essential nutrients and are a valuable protein source, but are pinto beans good for weight loss?

Are Pinto Beans Good For Losing Weight?

Pinto beans are a popular, versatile bean rich in protein and dietary fiber, and including them in your diet may aid weight loss. Pinto beans are a low-GI food that can keep you full and reduce snacking between meals, helping to reduce your overall calorie intake.

Are Pinto Beans Good For Weight Loss?

are pinto beans good for weight loss
Pinto beans are rich in nutrients and may aid weight loss. Photo: Luis Echeverri Urrea/Shutterstock

Beans are a staple food for millions worldwide thanks to their economic value and high nutritional load. All beans are a rich source[1] of complex carbohydrates, dietary fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Therefore, regularly eating beans has a wide range of potential health benefits;[2] They promote gut health, lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure, and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

One of the most popular types is pinto beans, a pale, speckled bean that is widely consumed in the Southwestern United States and Northern Mexico, where they can be savored in various ways and in nutritious dishes. They have all the health benefits of other bean varieties and may aid weight loss when eaten as part of a balanced diet.

Pinto beans have a low glycemic index[3] or low GI, meaning they don’t cause spikes in blood sugar. A low GI diet has been found to aid weight loss[4] by keeping your blood sugar levels stable and hunger pangs at bay. As a result, eating beans and other low-GI foods can reduce your urge to snack between meals and lower your overall calorie intake.

Pinto beans are very low in fat but have a high protein and fiber content.[5] This makes them highly satiating, so adding pinto beans to your meal can keep you fuller. Making your meals more satisfying can stop you from snacking throughout the day and may help you lose weight.

Eating a healthy diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, and other legumes has been associated with a reduced risk of serious medical conditions.[6] Beans have been found to improve heart health and are associated with reduced risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, colon cancer, and obesity. So, pinto beans aren’t just good for losing weight; they can also help to safeguard your long-term health.

The Nutritional Value Of Pinto Beans

Pinto beans are highly nutritious, but they’re also loaded with carbs, leading many people to ask – are pinto beans fattening?

Diets high in refined carbohydrates, like white bread, pasta, and white rice, are associated with weight gain.[7] However, not all carbs are equal, and the complex carbohydrates found in beans and whole grains are considered healthier[8] than refined carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates in pinto beans and other legumes have a low GI[9] and won’t cause your blood sugar levels to surge. Their high protein and fiber content also contributes to their satiation factor and may further aid weight loss efforts.

These potential benefits are backed by scientific evidence. One study found that bean eaters had smaller waists and a lower body fat[10] percentage than people who didn’t eat beans.

A one-cup serving of cooked pinto beans[5] contains 245 calories, 44.8 grams of carbohydrates, 15.4 grams of protein, 15.4 grams of fiber, and 1.11 grams of fat. Pinto beans are also rich in essential nutrients such as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, zinc, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and vitamins B6, E, and K.

Studies have found[10] that people who eat beans as part of a varied, balanced diet have a lower body fat percentage than those who don’t. Therefore, adding beans to your diet may well help you achieve your weight loss goals.

How To Prepare And Eat Pinto Beans For Weight Loss

The health benefits of pinto beans are well established, but how can you lose weight by eating pinto beans?

The best diet for weight loss should include various nutrients, be balanced, and be high in plant foods. If you want to know how to start eating healthy, including more beans in your diet is a great place to start.

Pinto beans are a delicious addition to salads, soups, and other dishes, and their versatility makes it easy to include them in your daily diet.

Dry beans are more nutritious[11] than canned beans but take a long time to prepare and cook. If you prefer canned beans, look for brands with no added salt for greater health benefits.

The easiest way to enjoy pinto beans is in a salad. Simply mix cooked pinto beans with your favorite salad veggies – we recommend avocado, tomato, and red onion – and flavor with a dressing of your choice. Olive oil, lime juice, garlic, chili powder, cumin, and cilantro all pair well with pinto beans’ mild, nutty flavor.

Pinto beans also form the base of many Mexican dishes, including refried beans. Refried beans can be prepared using canned or dried beans and served as a side dish to chicken, rice dishes, eggs, or simply enjoyed as a hearty dip. Pinto beans are also a key ingredient in other popular Mexican dishes, including burritos, tacos, and enchiladas.

Finally, pinto bean soup is good for cold, wintery days. Combine your beans with onion, roasted tomato, garlic, potatoes, cumin, paprika, chili powder, and vegetable broth to make a hearty soup. This recipe works well with all varieties of beans, including black beans, kidney beans, and garbanzo beans.

Other Weight Loss Tips

A calorie-deficit diet is typically the way to go if you want to lose weight. This usually means filling up fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes and avoiding processed foods. Regular exercise is also important for weight maintenance and improving muscle and heart health.

However, weight loss is a highly individual process. Some people can drop excess pounds within a few weeks of healthy eating, but for others, losing weight is much more difficult. You may benefit from weight loss supplements if you struggle to lose excess body fat.

Weight loss supplements typically contain natural ingredients that push your body to burn more calories. The best fat burners boost metabolism, reduce appetite, and increase energy levels.

Potential Drawbacks And Precautions

It is safe and healthy to make beans part of your daily diet; however, their high fiber content can make some people gassy. If you want to reduce gas caused by eating beans, add them to your diet gradually to allow your body time to adjust to the extra fiber. Always soak dried pinto beans before cooking, or use canned beans instead.

Although beans are generally safe to eat, cooking them properly if you’re using dried beans is important. Raw and undercooked kidney beans contain a plant lectin called phytohemagglutin, which can cause nausea and diarrhea[12] if eaten. 

You should soak the beans for at least 12 hours[13] to avoid kidney bean poisoning. Transfer the beans to fresh water before cooking, and boil them vigorously for a minimum of 10 minutes. Canned kidney beans have already undergone this treatment before packaging, so they are safe to eat immediately.

Eating just a few raw kidney beans can cause poisoning symptoms, so keep raw beans away from children and pets.


Pinto beans are highly nutritious and rich in protein and dietary fiber. They are also full of essential nutrients, including calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, zinc, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin E, and vitamin K. Beans are also high in carbohydrates, leading many people to ask – are beans good for weight loss?

The answer is a resounding yes. The high protein and fiber content of starchy beans keeps you full and satisfied between meals, which can curb your desire for sugary snacks and reduce your daily calorie intake.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it OK to eat pinto beans every day?

It is perfectly safe to eat pinto beans every day. Beans are high in protein, dietary fiber, and essential nutrients. Daily consumption of beans is great for your digestive health and can help you maintain a healthy weight.

Are pinto beans high in carbs?

Pinto beans are high in carbs, like all other bean varieties. However, their low glycemic index won’t cause blood sugar spikes, making them a healthier choice than high GI foods like white bread and potatoes.

Are pinto beans high calorie?

A one-cup serving of cooked pinto beans contains around 245 calories. They are not a low-calorie food, but they are good for weight loss nonetheless, thanks to their low GI score and high fiber content.

Do carbs from beans turn into sugar?

Carbohydrates are broken down into sugar in the digestive tract. However, high amount of the carbs in beans are fiber, which your body cannot digest. Therefore, not all of the carbohydrates in beans are converted to sugar.

+ 13 Sources

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  2. Polak, R., Phillips, E.M. and Campbell, A. (2015). Legumes: Health Benefits and Culinary Approaches to Increase Intake. Clinical Diabetes, [online] 33(4), pp.198–205. doi:
  3. admin (2023). Beans, pinto, mature seeds, sprouted, raw: Glycemic index, Glycemic Load and Nutrition facts. [online] Glycemic Index Guide. Available at:
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  8. Forouhi, N.G., Misra, A., Mohan, V., Taylor, R. and Yancy, W.S. (2018). Dietary and nutritional approaches for prevention and management of type 2 diabetes. The BMJ, [online] pp.k2234–k2234. doi:
  9. Bielefeld, D., Grafenauer, S. and Rangan, A. (2020). The Effects of Legume Consumption on Markers of Glycaemic Control in Individuals with and without Diabetes Mellitus: A Systematic Literature Review of Randomised Controlled Trials. Nutrients, [online] 12(7), pp.2123–2123. doi:
  10. Tucker, L.A. (2020). Bean Consumption Accounts for Differences in Body Fat and Waist Circumference: A Cross-Sectional Study of 246 Women. Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, [online] 2020, pp.1–9. doi:
  11. Zanovec, M., Carol and Nicklas, T.A. (2011). Comparison of Nutrient Density and Nutrient-to-Cost Between Cooked and Canned Beans. Food and Nutrition Sciences, [online] 02(02), pp.66–73. doi:
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Kate is an experienced science writer with a Bachelor's degree in Biology and a background in medical research. Her mission is to help scientists and healthcare providers communicate the value of their findings, products and services… See More