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The Question
Fri Apr 19 16:58:04 EDT 2013

I have been told by a behavior educator and also my fitness trainer that I should count beans as a protein, not a starchy vegetable. Is this new?
Asked By: lupiebarton  

Background Info Hide
I have been a Type 2 diabetic for 51 years, I am now 71, I use insulin, diet and exercise to manage my diabetes. My support groups consist of a Behavior Educator and a physical fitness trainer. I always try to stay informed, Thank you
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Expert Answers (1)
2013-10-15 09:18:45.0

Dear lupiebarton,

Thank you for writing to dLife.

Beans are packed with fiber, protein, antioxidants and a hefty dose of carbohydrate.

Because of the high carbohydrate content beans are listed as a starchy vegetable on exchange list that are developed for people with diabetes.

You should continue to count beans as part of your daily carbohydrate allowance.

I'm sure your behavior educator and personal trainer have good intentions. However, unless they have formal training in diabetes meal planning, I suggest you add a nutrition professional to your support team.

To find a nutrition professional or certified diabetes educator in your area click here.

Bon Appétit

Accreditations: MSEd, RD, CDE, CDN
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Community Answers (2)
2014-06-17 09:41:26.0

I've always counted them as a starch. The carbohydrates in beans are starchy carbohydrates, and the micronutrient mix (vitamins and minerals) is more indicative of grains than of vegetables. In addition, beans are as often used as starches than as main/protein sources. Also: I was initiated into the Exchange Diet program with a standard "starch unit" of 15 g carb, 3 g protein. This is accurate for wheat and I think rye, but corn and rice are relatively lower in protein. Treating beans, which are somewhat (but not hugely) higher in protein, helps even things out. Even as a protein, beans are starchy. If using them as a main source of protein, one serving of beans is usually considered 1 or 1.5 starch exchanges and 1/2 to 1 protein exchange.
Answered By: tmana

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2013-06-07 18:46:29.0

I'm a type 1, and have been taking insulin for 40 years, so I'm aware of the exchange system which has both starchy and non-starchy vegetable exchanges. I don't know what the expert/dietician might say about this, but I DO know how beans effect my blood sugar. Because of the high protein content of the beans, it can take quite a bit longer for the starch (also referred to as carbohydrates) to hit me, but I DO have to take extra insulin to cover those carbohydrates. I'd recommend treating beans as you have in the past, if you know they raise your blood sugar!
Answered By: sunflowersue

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