From hummus to minestrone soup, lentil salad to felafel, legumes, in a myriad of forms are truly the pulse of the Mediterranean diet. High in protein, low in fat and amongst the highest fibre sources of carbohydrate, legumes are a uniformly low GI group of foods. Coming from the pea family, peas, beans, and their seeds (found in the bean pods) including chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils, butter beans and even broad beans are all examples of legumes. The dried seeds are viewed nutritionally as a meat alternative because they provide many nutrients typically found in animal proteins such as iron, zinc, magnesium, copper and phosphorus as well as a range of B-vitamins.
This month’s shopping guide profiles a range of legumes. Fortunately, canned varieties retain low GI values and make it quick and easy to add them to the diet.
|Variety||GI||Energy||Available carbohydrate||Exchanges||Portions||Glycemic load|
|Black-eyed peas (cowpeas) dried, boiled||43
(mean of 4 studies)
|Butter beans, dried, boiled||30 (mean of 4 studies)||384kJ/92Cal||12g||1||1||4|
|Butter beans, canned, drained||36||356kJ/ 85Cal||11g||0.5||1||4|
|Broad/fava beans (cooked from frozen)||63||216kJ/52Cal||2g||<0.5||<0.5||1|
|Chickpeas, canned and drained||37 (Mean of 2 studies)||395kJ/94Cal||12g||1||1||4|
|Chickpeas, dried, boiled||25
(Mean of 5 studies)
|Kidney beans, dried, boiled||36
(mean of 8 studies)
|Kidney beans, canned, drained||40
(means of 2 studies)
(mean of 8 foods)
|Lentils, brown, canned and drained||42||365kJ/87Cal||12g||1||1||5|
|Fresh green peas, cooked from frozen
(mean of 2 studies)
Kaye Foster-Powell is an Accredited Practising Dietitian who has worked with people with diabetes for 30 years. She was co-author of the original series of international, best-selling books on the glycemic index. She conducts a specialized private practice for people with diabetes in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, Australia.
Contact: Via her website.