Baked Beans Nutrition: Are They Healthy?

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On the other hand, baked beans have some drawbacks — many of which you can minimize by making them from scratch.

High in Sugar

Baked beans typically contain one or more sweeteners, such as sugar or maple syrup.

A 1/2-cup (130-gram) serving of baked beans — canned or homemade — includes an average of 3 teaspoons (12 grams) of added sugars. This is 20% of the daily limit for a 2,000-calorie diet (, 8, 18).

Consuming too much added sugar can cause tooth decay and is linked to an increased risk of obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and memory problems (19, 20, 21, 22).

At least one U.S. brand makes baked beans containing 25% less sugar, and another sold in Europe offers baked beans sweetened only with stevia — a zero-calorie, natural sweetener.

Note that if you make baked beans at home using either canned or dried navy beans, you can control the amount of added sugars.

Tend to Be Salty

Sodium is another nutrient of concern to some people, particularly those prone to high blood pressure with increased salt intake (23).

Canned baked beans average 19% of the RDI for sodium per 1/2-cup (130-gram) serving, which is primarily from added salt ().

A few brands offer reduced-sodium varieties, though not all stores carry them.

In homemade versions, you can add less salt. If you’re making baked beans using canned rather than dried beans, rinse and drain them to reduce the sodium by about 40% (24).

Contain Additives

The majority of canned baked beans contain additives, which some people prefer to avoid (25, 26).

Among the most common are:

May Contain BPA Contaminants

The interior lining of bean cans commonly contains the chemical bisphenol A (BPA), which can leach into foods (35).

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says the chemical is safe for currently approved uses, but many scientists disagree. Some research suggests that BPA may increase obesity risk and reduce fertility, among other potential health concerns (35, 36, 37, 38).

In a study of foods collected from grocery stores, baked beans ranked fourth highest in BPA among 55 different foods containing detectable amounts of the chemical (39).

A few organic brands of baked beans are sold in cans made without BPA or similar chemicals. However, these brands cost more.

May Make You Gassy

Beans contain fiber and other indigestible carbs that are fermented by bacteria in your gut, potentially causing you to pass more gas (40).

Still, one study found that less than half of people who added 1/2 cup (130 grams) of legumes, including baked beans, to their daily diet reported increased gas.

Additionally, 75% of people who initially reported increased gas said it returned to normal levels after 2–3 weeks of eating beans daily (41).

Lectins Are Minimized by Cooking

Legumes, including the navy variety in baked beans, contain proteins called lectins.

Consumed in large amounts, lectins may interfere with digestion, cause intestinal damage, and interfere with hormone balance in your body (42, 43).

However, cooking largely inactivates lectins. Therefore, your exposure to these proteins from baked beans is likely minimal and not a concern (43).

This content was originally published here.

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