Are Baked Beans Good For You? An Amazing 2021 Guide

Do you eat baked beans? Do you add it to your toast? Or Do you prefer pork and beans?

Whatever the way you might eat it, baked beans are one of the most preferred processed foods consumed on a large scale around the world. In fact, baked beans are one of the favorites of the Western household.

So, be attentive and know more about baked beans before adding them to your grocery cart or avoiding them like your ex.

What are baked beans?

Baked beans are one of the traditional dishes of America, which became a staple in Britain. Navy beans are parboiled (partially boiled before actual cooking) and are baked with sauce (usually tomato sauce) for a long time at low temperatures.

However, in the United Kingdom, baked beans are made by stewing in tomato sauce. Baked beans are especially known for their butter flavour with a tangy sweetness to them.

Beans can be used in different ways. However, dried beans need to be cooked before using them to reduce the lentil content and also to make them tasty.

Frozen and canned beans are ready to eat after heating them in a microwave. However, be careful while buying canned beans of the salt and sugar value.

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Image by pixel1 from Pixabay/Copyright 2021

Benefits of baked beans

The nutrient content of canned baked beans basically differs with the brand, but the change is insignificant. There are many health benefits to baked beans. We have mentioned some of them below for you to know that are baked beans good for you.

1. Nutrition profile

Baked beans add the following nutrients to your day-

  • Calories-155 (for 100gms)
  • Fats-0.5 gms
  • Carbs-27 gms
  • Protein-6 gms
  • Fiber-5 gms
  • Sodium-19% of RDI(reference daily intake)
  • Potassium-6% of RDI
  • Iron-8% of RDI
  • Selenium-11% of RDI
  • Thiamine (vitamin-B1)-10% of RDI

Baked beans are a pack with healthy carbs and other nutrients which are a must in our daily diet. It is also very rich in folic acid, which is essential for pregnant women and people with anemia. Cannellini beans and Haricot beans are found to be excellent sources of proteins.

2. Protein pack

Beans are very well-known for their plant-based protein source. They can be used as a protein source, like spirulina powder for both vegans and vegetarians.

Proteins are the building blocks of the body. And beans are rich in amino acids, which are the actual building blocks of proteins. It is also rich in potassium, which is important for muscle contractions, and magnesium which aids muscle contraction.

They can be used in a protein-based diet, as they have low calories and low fat compared to any other source like meat and dairy products. And when combined with toast can be a complete protein meal.

3. Check cholesterol levels

Beans are also a good source of compounds like phytosterols and dietary fiber.  Phytosterols are known for preventing the absorption of cholesterol into the gut.

And cholesterol is notably known for its negative effect on the heart.

In an experiment with high-cholesterol individuals, a decrease of 5.6% in cholesterol is seen in people who ate a 1/2 cup (130 gms) of baked beans daily.

4. Improves Gut health

As said earlier, baked beans contain a lot of fibers, the compounds which our gut likes dearly. Studies have found that a 1/2 cup of baked beans contains nearly 18% of fibers.

High fiber helps the easy peristaltic movements in the guts and bowel movements.

Baked beans also contain plant compounds like daidzein and apigenin, which inhibit colon cancer.

5. Keeps your liver healthy

What are the Filters of the Body
Image by mohamed_hassan / Pixabay / Copyrights 2021

Many people destroy their perfect liver by drinking excess alcohol and eating junk food. This often results in fatty liver. It, in turn, leads to high blood pressure, obesity, high cholesterol, etc.

Healthcare professionals often base their fatty liver treatment on controlling sugar content and weight loss.

And substituting animal proteins that have higher fat with beans is a perfect start to reduce bad LDL cholesterol.

6. Glucose metabolism

Baked beans can help in stabilizing glucose levels in the blood and preventing diabetes. A 2018 study highlights that high fiber intake helps in preventing type 2 diabetes and reduces blood sugar levels in diabetic patients.

They are actually good for people with diabetes because of their low Glycemic Index(GI). Foods with a low GI slowly release energy food and prevent an increase in blood sugar.

If you ever ask a person with a weight loss diet plan, ‘Are baked beans good for you,’ then his answer would be a big yes.

Another research claims the importance of adding one cup of legumes to your diet to reduce blood sugar and BP.

7. Anti-cancer properties

Head and Neck Cancer
By Anna Tarazevich/Pexels

Baked beans are fairly high in antioxidants which play a crucial role in fighting cancer. Researchers have claimed that antioxidants are high in black beans.

They have a considerable amount of polyphenols, which protect our own body cells from unstable compounds called free radicals.

They also have anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation and free radical molecules are notably often related to heart disease, chronic diseases, and certain cancers.

8. Safe heart

Regular consumption of baked beans has reported fewer heart problems and other cardiovascular diseases1. A 2017 study claims that a decrease in cardiovascular diseases is due to replacing animal protein with high bad fat with beans.

Another research has found a positive relationship between eating beans and low coronary diseases. A half-cup of black beans provides half of the daily fiber requirement.

Low cholesterol in baked beans prevents any further heart complications.

Downsides of eating canned baked beans

‘Are baked beans good for you?’ well, it depends. The way you consume them is the answer to your ‘Are baked beans good for you’.

Are Baked Beans Healthy?

1. High sugars

More than one type of sweetener is often used for baked beans, usually sugar or maple syrup. Generally, half a can of baked beans on an average serving, either homemade baked beans or canned beans, contains at least three teaspoons of added sugar in them.

However, consuming high sugar is often linked with obesity, high cholesterol2, and type 2 diabetes, including baked beans’ best benefits.

But in the homemade baked beans or your own baked beans, you can control the amount of sugar added to them.

2. High salts

A high amount of salt can increase blood pressure in sodium-sensitive people. Canned baked beans have 19% RDI, mainly due to added salts, in a 1/2 cup serving.

If you use canned beans to make homemade baked beans, rinse and drain the beans. This process can help you to reduce the sodium content by 40%.

adzuki beans
By elenathewise/ Copyright 2022.

3. Fattening

Baked beans can be fattening if you just eat beans and don’t compensate for the high-calorie 3intake. You either need to eat lesser-calorie foods the rest of the day or burn your calories through physical exercise.

Baked beans are more fattening than plain as baked beans are high calorie, with low nutrient ingredients like sugar, molasses, and fatty meats like salt pork, bacon, etc.

High intense activities help in easily burning out your calories. As long as you eat a balanced diet and eat baked beans on a moderate basis, you will not gain weight.

4. Lectins

Lectins are a type of protein present in beans which are harmful to humans in large amounts. They may interfere with food digestion and cause intestinal problems.

However, perfect cooking would reduce the lectin amounts in them. So, you need not worry about lectins (only if it is perfectly cooked).

5. Gassy gut

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Image by Alicia Harper from Pixabay/Copyright 2021

Gut flora ferments the indigestible carbs and fibers in the beans, resulting in the passing of more gas. Half of the people with half a cup of baked beans reported increased gas in the gut.

However, 3/4th of the people who reported an increase in gas claimed that the gas levels returned to their original after 2-3 weeks.

6. Risk of BPA

The interior of a can is often coated with Bisphenol A 4(BPA), which has a risk of obesity, reduced fertility, and other potential health problems.

Among the collected 55 food cans, baked beans rank fourth in the amount of this dangerous chemical. But some organic brands are free of this chemical, but they are costlier than usual.

However, the FDA has reported no harm from this chemical, which scientists find hard to accept.

When to Avoid baked beans?

‘Are baked beans good for you?’ actually depends on ‘you.’ as it depends on your health complications and your body.

  • Avoid baked beans if you are allergic to legumes. Peanuts are triggers.
  • People with intestinal disorders and people who are sensitive to any gas problems in their gut.
  • People with irritable bowel movements should avoid baked beans.
  • If you are allergic to lectins.
  • People with high BP should be aware of eating baked beans with high salt.

Bottom line

Baked beans are high-calorie and low-fat food that can be on your weight loss plan. However, many of the benefits of baked beans actually depend on how you eat them, how you combine them with other foods, your health issue, etc.

Recipes with low salt and sugar can still give you the same taste and flavor. Baked beans are healthier if you combine them with a balanced meal that has a good balance of nutrients.

So you should ask ‘Are baked beans tasty’ along with your ‘Are baked beans good for you’ question and even the answer would be a big fat yes. You can make different recipes that are tasty and healthy with them.

However, consult a professional health expert before you actually start adding or removing baked beans from your daily menu.

The answer to ‘Are baked beans good for you?’ is a yes, despite its downsides for a normal healthy person.


Q. Is it OK to eat baked beans every day?
  • Baked beans are perfectly safe to eat every day, so long as you look out for brands which have a moderate salt content, as this is the key factor you need to consider when considering beans as a part of your daily lifestyle.
Q. Are baked beans good for dieting?
  • Any food eaten in excess can contribute to weight gain, but baked beans are high in protein and fibre which are known to have an appetite suppressant benefit, which can lead to feeling fuller and aid with weight loss and preventing mindless snacking
Q. Are baked beans healthier than rice?
  • A new study by HSPH researchers Josiemer Mattei, Frank Hu, and Hannia Campos has found that beans are the far healthier half of the classic beans and rice dish.
All You Should Know About Healthy Peas
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  1. Townsend, Nick, et al. “Epidemiology of cardiovascular disease in Europe.” Nature Reviews Cardiology 19.2 (2022): 133-143. ↩︎
  2. Luo, Jie, Hongyuan Yang, and Bao-Liang Song. “Mechanisms and regulation of cholesterol homeostasis.” Nature reviews Molecular cell biology 21.4 (2020): 225-245. ↩︎
  3. Flanagan, Emily W., et al. “Calorie restriction and aging in humans.” Annual review of nutrition 40 (2020): 105-133. ↩︎
  4. Cimmino, Ilaria, et al. “Potential mechanisms of bisphenol A (BPA) contributing to human disease.” International journal of molecular sciences 21.16 (2020): 5761. ↩︎

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