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Black beans, often praised for their versatility and nutritional value, play a significant role in many cuisines around the world. However, what sets them apart is their remarkably low glycemic index (GI), making them an excellent choice for individuals managing their blood sugar levels. 

According to data from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), black beans boast a GI of around 30, which positions them as a favorable option for those with diabetes seeking to maintain stable glucose levels.¹ 

In this article, we will explore the benefits of incorporating black beans into your diet, shedding light on their GI and how they can positively impact your overall health.

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Glycemic Index Table

To calculate the glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL) for black beans, we'll start with the nutritional data from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for a 100g serving of cooked black beans.¹

The glycemic index measures how quickly a carbohydrate-containing food raises blood glucose levels compared to a reference food (usually glucose or white bread), which has a GI of 100. However, the GI of black beans can vary depending on factors like cooking time and other foods consumed alongside.

Since the GI of black beans can vary, we'll use an approximate GI of 30 for cooked black beans.² 

Glycemic Index


Serving Size


Carbohydrate* per Serving (g)

8.86 g

GL per Serving


Nutritional Facts

Black beans are a nutritional powerhouse packed with protein, fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals. A 100g serving of cooked black beans provides approximately 21g of protein, 8.86g of carbohydrates, 2.33g of fiber, and essential nutrients such as iron, magnesium, and folate.¹  This nutrient-rich profile makes black beans an excellent choice for promoting satiety, supporting heart health, and maintaining stable blood sugar levels.

The nutritional information below is for 100 g of black beans.¹ 


132 kcal


23.7 g


8.86 g


8.7 g


0 mg


B6 (0.07 mg).


1 mg

Total Fat

0.54 g

Are Black Beans Good for Weight Loss?

Black beans can be a valuable component of a weight loss plan due to their nutritional profile and satiating properties. They are rich in dietary fiber and protein, both of which play essential roles in promoting feelings of fullness and reducing overall calorie intake. Additionally, black beans have a relatively low glycemic index (GI), which means they have a minimal impact on blood sugar levels, helping to stabilize energy levels and reduce cravings for high-sugar snacks.

Studies have shown that incorporating beans like black beans into your diet can support weight loss efforts. For example, a study published in the journal "Obesity" found that individuals who consumed beans regularly as part of a reduced-calorie diet experienced greater weight loss and improved fat loss compared to those who did not include beans in their diet.⁴ Furthermore, the high fiber content in black beans can help regulate digestion and prevent overeating.

Are Black Beans Safe for People Living with Diabetes?

Black beans are generally considered a safe and beneficial addition to the diet of individuals with diabetes. They have a low glycemic index (GI), which means they cause a slower and more gradual increase in blood sugar levels when consumed. Additionally, black beans are rich in dietary fiber, which can help regulate blood sugar levels by slowing down the absorption of carbohydrates. Furthermore, they provide a good source of plant-based protein and essential nutrients like magnesium, which can contribute to improved insulin sensitivity.

According to the American Diabetes Association, incorporating legumes like black beans into a diabetes-friendly diet may help with blood sugar control and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.³ 

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Allergies to black beans are relatively rare but can occur primarily as a result of the proteins found in beans. Allergic reactions to black beans may include symptoms such as hives, digestive issues, or even anaphylaxis in severe cases. 

It's essential to be aware of potential allergies to black beans and consult with a healthcare professional if you suspect an allergic reaction, as they can perform tests to confirm allergies and provide guidance on allergen avoidance. 

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What is Glycemic Index?

The glycemic index (GI) is a measure of how quickly a carbohydrate-containing food raises blood sugar levels compared to a reference food, usually glucose. It ranks foods on a scale from 0 to 100, with higher values indicating a faster rise in blood sugar. The glycemic index (GI) scale is typically categorized as follows: Low GI [55 or less], Medium GI [56-69], High GI [70 or higher]. Foods with a high glycemic index digest rapidly and can cause dramatic fluctuations in blood glucose or glucose spikes.

What is Glycemic Load?

Glycemic load (GL) takes into account both the quality (glycemic index) and quantity (carbohydrate content) of carbohydrates in a specific serving of food. It is a measure of how much a particular food will raise blood sugar levels. GL is calculated by multiplying the glycemic index of a food by its carbohydrate content and dividing it by 100. It provides a more accurate representation of the overall impact of a food on blood sugar compared to the glycemic index alone.

Does Black Beans Spike Insulin?

Black beans have a low glycemic index, which means they are digested slowly and do not cause a rapid increase in blood sugar levels. Therefore, they do not spike insulin levels. In fact, black beans are considered a good source of protein and fiber, which can help regulate blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity.

Are Black Beans Low Glycemic?

Yes, black beans are low glycemic due to their high fiber and protein content, which slows down the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream. This makes them a good choice for people with diabetes or those looking to manage their blood sugar levels.

Can People Living with Diabetes Eat Black Beans?

Yes, people living with diabetes can eat black beans as they are a good source of fiber, protein, and complex carbohydrates, which can help regulate blood sugar levels. However, portion control is important as they are also high in carbohydrates. It is recommended to consult a registered dietitian for personalized dietary advice.

Topics discussed in this article:


  1. USDA FoodData Central. (2019, Decemberl 16). Food Details - Beans, dry, black. Retrieved from 
  2. The University of Sydney. (2023, May 1). Glycemic Index – Glycemic Index Research and GI News
  3. American Diabetes Association. (n.d.). What superstar foods are good for diabetes?
  4. Papanikolaou, Y., & Fulgoni, V. L., 3rd (2008). Bean consumption is associated with greater nutrient intake, reduced systolic blood pressure, lower body weight, and a smaller waist circumference in adults: results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999-2002. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 27(5), 569–576.

About the author

It is a long established fact that a reader will be distracted by the readable content of a page when looking at its layout.

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About the author

Brittany Barry is a national board-certified health coach and NASM-certified personal trainer based in South Carolina.

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Please note: The Signos team is committed to sharing insightful and actionable health articles that are backed by scientific research, supported by expert reviews, and vetted by experienced health editors. The Signos blog is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider. Read more about our editorial process and content philosophy here.

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