By Michelle Tong
Diabetes Qld Accredited Practising
Did you know not all carbohydrates are created equal?
Beans are rich in complex carbohydrates, dietary fibre, minerals
and are an affordable source of protein.
Beans topped a list drawn up by the American Diabetes
Association (ADA) of beneficial foods for all people, including
those living with diabetes. Regularly eating beans may also help
prevent other health conditions.
Benefits of beans
Although beans contain carbohydrates, they are also a good
source of dietary fibre and protein, which gives them a low
glycaemic index, meaning they can help prevent significant spikes
in blood glucose levels. However, remember to think about
your portion size. Too much of a good thing is sometimes not
Beans are a complex carbohydrate, which the body digests slowly,
helping you to feel fuller for longer and reducing spikes to your
glucose levels as the carbohydrate from your bean meal is released
slowly into your bloodstream.
Apart from keeping your blood glucose level stable, dietary
fibre can also offer additional benefits for your heart health,
keep your bowel movements regular and may help you to achieve a
The Australian Heart foundation states that dietary fibre
improves blood cholesterol levels and lowers the risk of stroke and
heart disease, reducing the risk of these diabetes-related
Beans are also an excellent source of plant-based protein with
little or no fat and saturated fat, which are often found in meat.
Protein is essential for body tissue growth and repair.
With all these benefits, are there any negative effects if you
have too many beans?
Beans are high in digestive fibre and starches which our body's
natural intestinal enzymes cannot digest.
Instead, a process called bacterial fermentation occurs,
breaking down these starches and fibre, releasing extra gas as a
Although it is not harmful, some people might find it
uncomfortable. So if you are new to beans, try to increase your
bean intake slowly to prevent embarrassing moments.
Beans are a very versatile addition to your diet. They can be
added to salads, casseroles, pies or made into bean burgers.
So next time you want something that's high in protein and
fibre, low in GI and fat, and packed full of vitamins and minerals,