People often get confused about lentils vs beans in terms of their differences and the one they should eat. Many people also think that lentils and beans are the same.
No doubt, beans are like lentils, and lentils are like beans. Some people use them interchangeably when cooking, but there is a big difference between the lentils and beans.
Both beans and lentils are small members of the legume family, but lentils differ in that they do not need to be pre-soaked before you cook them.
Also, beans are larger than lentils and have a variety of colors and sizes, including pinto beans, black beans, kidney beans, navy beans, and cannellini beans. Lentils come in red, yellow, or green varieties with a milder taste than beans.
But this is just scratching the surface; below, I’ll give you the ins and outs of the differences between beans and lentils.
What Are Lentils?
Lentils are a member of the legume family. It has small, lens-shaped seeds that come in various colors ranging from yellow to red-orange to green, brown, and black. If you love the earthy taste of mushrooms, you’ll love the earthy taste of lentils.
Some varieties have a more spiced flavor (like cumin), but for the most part, they have a mild, rich taste with a hint of sweetness—not unlike mushrooms.
Lentils are one of the oldest crops globally — the ancient Egyptians and Greeks loved them, and we can see why. They’re easy to grow and harvest, loaded with essential nutrients like fiber and protein, and incredibly versatile for cooking.
You can use them in soups, stews, salads, or burritos!
Plus: their shelf life is long enough that you won’t have to worry about whether or not they’re going bad before you’re ready to use them.
What Are Beans?
Beans are a member of the legume family, with a subtle taste. They are a staple food that can be boiled, fried, steamed, or baked.
Beans have been used in cooking for thousands of years and are still a popular choice today. If you haven’t tried them yet, now is a perfect time!
Beans are also a good source of protein and fiber, so it’s no wonder why they’re so popular with vegetarians and vegans alike.
They’re also low in fat compared to other types of meat such as beef or chicken breast.
This means you’ll get more bang for your buck when adding them into your diet – especially since beans contain so few calories overall!
Lentils Vs Beans: Key Differences
The world has been debating the superiority of beans and lentils since time immemorial, but we believe it’s time to set the record straight.
Let’s start with their basic nutritional information. Both beans and lentils contain high protein, iron, B vitamins, potassium, and magnesium. Beans also contain several other minerals and vitamins, such as Vitamin K, phosphorus, zinc, copper, manganese, and selenium.
Lentils are higher in iron than beans. So, where do they differ?
Lentils are very low in fat and contain almost no saturated fat, while beans have more fat — mostly monounsaturated — but also have more cholesterol. Both are excellent sources of fiber.
Ultimately, the winner here is unclear: it depends on what you’re looking for in your diet.
When it comes to versatility in cooking? We call that one a draw as well.
Beans take a bit longer to cook than lentils but can be used in various recipes due to their heartier texture. Lentils retain their shape when cooked properly; beans do not.
Both can be used interchangeably in most recipes if you choose to use one over the other.
Do Lentils Cause Gas Like Beans?
Lentils can cause gas. So can beans! Both lentils and beans contain a type of indigestible sugar called raffinose.
The human body does not make an enzyme capable of breaking this down, which means that the sugars pass through our digestive system, where they are eventually fermented by the gut bacteria that live in our colon. This fermentation process produces gas, which is released as well… flatulence.
Does Soaking Lentils Remove Nutrients?
Yes, soaking lentils may remove nutrients — but it also makes them more digestible and boosts the availability of their beneficial compounds. But that doesn’t make them a so-so. A one-cup serving of cooked lentils contains about 18 grams of protein, 16 grams of fiber, and 37% of your daily recommended folate intake.
Lentils are also a good source of iron, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and manganese. The soluble fiber in lentils feeds your gut bacteria, which helps to keep your digestive system healthy and balanced.
It also helps to reduce blood sugar spikes after you eat a meal containing carbohydrates, which makes them a great choice for people with diabetes.
Is Lentils Good For Weight Loss?
Yes! But it’s not a good source. Lentils are a great source of fiber and protein. They are packed with nutrients and low in calories, which can help promote weight loss.
Why Shouldn’t You Eat Lentils?
Lentils are a terrible choice for anyone who wants to make their body look like a lean, mean fighting machine. Studies have shown that lentils are easily digested and quickly pass through your digestive system.
Because of this, you’ll feel hungry again in no time after eating them. This can lead to binge-eating, which will cause you to gain weight. Lentils contain a lot of carbohydrates and less protein than other food sources.
This is not ideal if you are trying to lose weight because your body will burn off the carbs first, leaving the protein to be stored as fat.
So, as you can see, the differences between beans and lentils are pretty straightforward.
If you’re looking to assume control over your health, start making plant-based proteins a part of your daily diet with either of the legumes.
Remember there are hundreds of varieties of beans, including kidney, lima, soy, black-eyed peas, fava, and pinto beans. And their taste might differ.
So take note!