Dr. Andrea Middleton - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Andrea Middleton

Are Lentils Bad For You?

Also Known As: Lens culinaris



Short answer

Lentils are a natural, heart-healthy source of protein and fiber. Even though they may leave you a little gassy, lentils are not bad for you.



Long answer

Lentils are nutritious, edible, seeds from a certain family of plants in the legume family. Lentils are an excellent source of protein and are low in both calories and fat. A single cup serving of lentils contains about 230 calories, 18 grams of protein, and 16 grams of dietary fiber.  Foods high in fiber are heart-healthy, and can help reduce cholesterol. Lentils are also a natural source of folate, which helps reduce the overall risk of heart disease. Because lentils are so high in protein, they are a good source of long-lasting energy. Lentils can act as a vegetarian form of protein in many dishes, and are most common in Indian and Middle-Eastern fare.

Excessively eating lentils could have a few adverse effects, however. Fiber consumption tends to lead to flatulence, which, while not bad for you, can potentially be embarrassing. Lentils are often prepared with strong spices which can cause indigestion in some individuals.  Very high levels of protein, as well as too much lysine (an amino acid found in proteins), can cause kidney damage;  and too much potassium can lead to a condition known as hyperkalemia.  Hyperkalemia may have no side-effects or manifest itself in the form of vomiting, fatigue, irregular heartbeat, and difficulty breathing. However, none of these are dangers of eating lentils alone, and could result from any diet with an unusually high amount of protein. Generally, individuals at risk for these types of conditions are consuming a combination of food proteins and synthetic or natural protein powders and additives.

Despite the potential of making you a little gassy, lentils are not bad for you. Any adverse effects from extremely high protein levels couldn't result from eating lentils alone, and they are a heart-healthy and natural source of nutrition.

Possible short-term side effects

  • flatulence

Big are lentils bad for you.


  • heart-healthy
  • high in protein
  • high in fiber
  • boosts energy
  • decreased cholesterol

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Written by Jeff Volling | 01-22-2016

Written by Jeff Volling
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