Are green beans OK for keto?

Green beans are a popular vegetable that are commonly enjoyed in many cuisines around the world. With their crisp, fresh taste and satisfying crunch, it’s no wonder why so many people love them. But if you’re following a ketogenic or “keto” diet, you may be wondering if green beans can fit into your low-carb, high-fat eating plan.

The short answer is yes – green beans are a keto-friendly food. Here’s a detailed look at the carb count, nutrition, and benefits of adding green beans to a ketogenic diet.

Are Green Beans Keto?

Green beans are low in carbohydrates and fit well into a keto diet. One cup (around 100 grams) of raw green beans contains: (1)

  • 7 grams of carbs
  • 4 grams of fiber
  • 3 grams of net carbs

After subtracting fiber, the net carb count comes out to just 3 grams per serving. This carb amount fits easily into the less than 50 gram daily carb target on keto.

In fact, green beans are one of the lowest carb vegetables around. For comparison, other common veggies like carrots and potatoes provide 9-13 grams of net carbs per serving – more than 3 times the amount in green beans! (2)

So green beans can absolutely be part of a well-formulated ketogenic diet. Enjoy them fried, roasted, steamed, or raw with dips for a crunchy, fresh veggie choice.

Nutrition Facts

In addition to being low in carbs, green beans are packed with nutrients:

Vitamins and Minerals

One cup of green beans contains: (3)

  • Vitamin C: 14% DV
  • Vitamin K: 18% DV
  • Folate: 12% DV
  • Manganese: 11% DV
  • Vitamin A: 10% DV
  • Potassium: 8% DV

Green beans provide a range of important vitamins and minerals. Of particular note is their high vitamin K content. Vitamin K plays a key role in blood clotting and bone health. (4)

Many people don’t get enough vitamin K in their diets, so green beans can help provide a healthy boost. (5)


In addition to conventional vitamins and minerals, green beans contain beneficial plant compounds like carotenoids and flavonoids. These antioxidants help reduce oxidative damage and inflammation in the body. (6)

Some of the main antioxidants in green beans include:

  • Beta-carotene: A carotenoid that is converted to vitamin A in the body. It supports eye health and immune function. (7)
  • Quercetin: A flavonoid with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects that may help lower blood pressure. (8)
  • Kaempferol: A flavonoid linked to decreased risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer. (9)


With 4 grams per serving, green beans are an excellent source of dietary fiber.

Fiber slows digestion and helps regulate blood sugar levels. It also promotes gut health by feeding beneficial bacteria in the intestines.

Multiple studies show that increased fiber intake is associated with: (10, 11)

  • Lower body weight
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Improved cholesterol levels
  • Reduced risk of heart disease


Green beans contain 2 grams of protein per serving. While not a huge amount, some protein in the diet helps support muscle mass as part of a balanced diet. (12)

The fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and protein in green beans provide a nutrient powerhouse in one low-calorie veggie.

Health Benefits of Green Beans

Adding green beans to your ketogenic diet provides a long list of potential health advantages:

Weight Loss

Green beans are low in calories and carbs, yet high in filling fiber. This makes them an excellent food for losing weight on keto.

Fiber slows the emptying of your stomach to keep you feeling fuller longer after meals. (13) One study found that increasing fiber intake by just 14 grams per day caused participants to eat 10% fewer calories overall. (14)

Plus, green beans have a high water content. Their high moisture and fiber result in low calorie density – meaning you can eat a large portion of green beans for minimal calories.

Combining green beans with sources of fat and protein – like olive oil, cheese, or grilled chicken – makes a nutritious, low-carb meal that can promote weight loss.

Blood Sugar Control

Eating green beans may help stabilize your blood sugar.

Their fiber slows the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates from foods. Slower absorption of carbs prevents unhealthy spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels. (15)

Emerging research shows green bean extract may also directly decrease insulin resistance and inhibit enzymes that digest carbs. (16)

Controlling blood sugar is critical on a keto diet. The potential blood-sugar-lowering effects of green beans make them an excellent vegetable choice.

Heart Health

Green beans may promote heart health in several ways:

Fiber lowers cholesterol levels by binding to cholesterol in the intestines and preventing absorption into the bloodstream. It also reduces LDL “bad” cholesterol. (17)

The antioxidants in green beans decrease inflammation and oxidative damage involved in the development of heart disease. (18)

The potassium in green beans supports healthy blood pressure levels. Many people don’t get the recommended 4,700 mg of potassium per day, so green beans can help fill the gap. (19)

Population studies link greater intake of fruits and vegetables, including green beans, with up to a 20% lower risk of heart disease. (20)

Cancer Prevention

Limited test tube and animal research indicates certain compounds in green beans may help prevent the development and spread of cancer cells.

The antioxidants in green beans neutralize free radicals that can damage DNA and lead to cancer growth. (21) The flavonoid kaempferol shows particular promise for inhibiting cancer cell replication and inducing apoptosis (cancer cell death). (22)

However, more research is needed to confirm the direct cancer-fighting effects of green beans specifically.

Diabetes Management

For those with diabetes, green beans can help control elevated blood sugar.

In one study, patients with type 2 diabetes ate green bean juice or rice for 3 months. The green bean juice group showed significant decreases in fasting blood sugar levels. (23)

Researchers suspect compounds in green beans called alpha-amylase inhibitors are responsible for these anti-diabetic effects. (24) Alpha-amylase inhibitors prevent the digestion of complex carbs, thereby slowing glucose absorption.

Digestive Health

The fiber and nutrients in green beans promote regular bowel movements, digestive comfort, and a healthy gut microbiome.

The fiber feeds beneficial Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli strains of probiotic bacteria in the intestines. These bacteria ferment fiber into short-chain fatty acids that lower colonic pH and prevent overgrowth of harmful bacteria. (25)

Increasing your fiber intake from foods like green beans may help prevent digestive issues like constipation, intestinal infections, and inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis. (26)

Strong Bones

Green beans provide vitamin K which is essential for healthy bones. Vitamin K activates osteocalcin, a protein involved in calcium binding and bone mineralization. (27)

Higher vitamin K intake correlates with greater bone mineral density and lower fracture risk, especially as you age. (28) The vitamin K in green beans works synergistically with calcium and vitamin D for building and maintaining strong bones.

Eye Health

Lutein and zeaxanthin found in green beans filter harmful blue light and UV rays to preserve eye health. (29) Getting enough of these antioxidants is linked to decreased risk of macular degeneration and cataracts – two common age-related eye diseases. (30)

The beta-carotene in green beans also converts to vitamin A in the body, which is essential for proper vision.

Are Green Beans Keto-Friendly? Recap

To quickly recap, green beans are one of the best low-carb vegetables for a ketogenic diet.

Here’s a quick overview of the key points:

  • With only 3 grams of net carbs per serving, green beans easily fit into the 50 gram daily carb target on keto.
  • Green beans provide a powerhouse of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, and protein.
  • Potential health benefits include supporting weight loss, blood sugar control, heart health, cancer prevention, digestive health, bone strength, and eye health.
  • Green beans are very nutritious and provide a range of health advantages on a low-carb ketogenic eating plan.

Enjoy green beans stir-fried, roasted, steamed, or raw with dips like guacamole. They make a tasty, crunchy addition to keto meals and snacks.

Easy Keto Green Bean Recipes

Here are a few delicious keto recipes featuring green beans:

1. Bacon Wrapped Green Beans

This simple dish combines crispy bacon and fresh green beans for perfect keto snack or side. Get the recipe here:

2. Green Bean Casserole

This classic holiday casserole is made keto by swapping the traditional canned fried onions for pork rinds. Recipe here:

3. Garlic Roasted Green Beans

Fresh green beans roasted with olive oil and garlic make an easy keto side dish. Get the recipe:

4. Green Bean Fries

For a keto-friendly twist on french fries, try coating fresh green beans in an egg wash and Parmesan cheese then baking until crispy. Recipe:

5. Green Bean Almondine

Sautéed green beans tossed with butter, almonds and lemon juice make a fast low-carb side. Get the green bean almondine recipe:

Potential Concerns

Green beans are safe for most people on a keto diet. However, here are a few things to keep in mind:


Green beans belong to the nightshade family of vegetables. While rare, some people may have an allergy or sensitivity. Monitor yourself for adverse reactions.


To minimize exposure to potentially harmful pesticides, choose organic green beans when possible or thoroughly wash conventional beans before eating.


Raw green beans contain small amounts of lectins – proteins that some claim can damage the gut. However, lectins are destroyed by cooking, so properly prepared green beans do not pose a health risk.


Green beans contain omega-6 fatty acids. Consuming too many omega-6s compared to omega 3s may promote inflammation. To optimize your ratio, balance green beans with high omega-3 foods like fatty fish.

Blood Thinners

The vitamin K in green beans can interfere with blood-thinning medication. Check with your doctor before increasing green bean intake if taking blood thinners.

Overall, green beans are considered very safe. Just be mindful of potential allergy concerns or interactions with medications.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some common questions about green beans and the keto diet:

1. Are green beans starchy?

No, green beans are low starch and low glycemic. The total carbohydrate content is around 7 grams per serving, but 4 grams comes from fiber rather than sugar or starch.

2. Can I eat green beans on keto?

Yes, green beans are a keto-friendly vegetable choice. With only 3 net grams of carbs and plenty of nutrients, they fit well into a ketogenic meal plan. Enjoy green beans cooked or raw.

3. Are frozen green beans keto friendly?

Frozen and canned green beans can also be part of a keto diet. Freezing helps retain nutrients, and canned green beans contain similar nutrition to their fresh counterparts. Look for no sugar added or salt added varieties.

4. What about snap peas or snow peas?

Snap peas and snow peas are slightly higher in carbs than regular green beans but can still fit into keto. Each provides around 5-7 grams of net carbs per serving. They make great crunchy additions but should be measured and accounted for.

5. Can you eat too many green beans on keto?

It’s best to eat reasonable portions of all vegetables, even low carb options. While green beans are very low carb, gorging on large amounts could potentially knock you out of ketosis depending on your personal carb tolerance. Around 1 cup per meal is a healthy guideline.

6. Are green beans high in oxalates?

Green beans contain moderate amounts of oxalates. For most people this is not an issue, but those prone to kidney stones may want to limit intake.

7. What about green bean juice?

Some green bean juice contains added sugars or fruit juices that hike up the carb count. Check labels and ingredients. Pure, unsweetened green bean juice in moderation can be low carb enough to work for keto. But juicing removes the beneficial fiber.

8. Do green beans cause gas?

Some people experience bloating or gas from the fiber in green beans. Introduce them slowly and drink plenty of water to allow your body time to adjust. Properly preparing beans by soaking, sprouting, or pressure cooking makes them more digestible.

9. Are green beans alkaline?

Yes, green beans have an alkaline forming effect on the body after digestion despite their slightly acidic pH before digestion. Their minerals may help balance acidity.

10. Can I juice green beans for keto?

Juicing green beans removes the fiber, so it’s best limited on keto. A small amount of unsweetened bean juice along with pulp can provide low carb nutrients. But whole green beans are recommended for optimal nutrition.

The Bottom Line

Green beans make an excellent addition to a well-formulated ketogenic diet. They provide a powerhouse of vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, and more while being low in carbs and calories.

Enjoying green beans roasted, sautéed, blanched, or raw provides great health benefits including potential blood sugar control, weight loss, and disease prevention.

Work green beans into your keto meal plan for a tasty, crunchy low-carb vegetable option.

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