Dr. Becky Maes - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Becky Maes

Are Pinto Beans Bad For You?



Short answer

So long as you avoid getting canned pinto beans (which are nutrient-depleted and contain too much sodium), pinto beans are excellent for you.



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Long answer

Pinto beans are a wonderful lean source of many nutrients that will help keep you healthy. One cup of boiled pinto beans will provide 15 grams of protein. Protein is essential in nearly every major bodily function and is the essential building block of the body. Furthermore, it is necessary for a fully functioning immune system and is broken down to be used as energy by the body. Thiamin aids memory, while potassium is necessary for nerve transmission. Potassium also helps to regulate blood pressure and heart function.

Other nutrients found in abundant levels in pinto beans are folate, iron, magnesium, and vitamin B6. One particular element, molybdenum, is an important co-factor of sulfite oxidase, an enzyme that detoxifies sulfites. Folate is another nutrient which often gets overlooked. It is responsible for lowering homocysteine levels in the blood. High levels of homocysteine are an indicator for heart disease. Pinto beans contain a large amount of fiber - 60% of the daily recommended value is found in just one cup. Fiber is important in preventing colorectal cancer, lowering LDL cholesterol levels, controlling blood sugar levels, and of course, maintaining healthy bowel movements. It is important to note that too much fiber (especially for people not used to high-fiber diets) can have some gaseous side effects such as bloating, flatulence, and diarrhea. 

Another thing to look out for is getting pinto beans in a can. Nutrients are heavily depleted in canned pinto beans and sodium levels are drastically high. While one cup of boiled pinto beans (uncanned) contain just two milligrams of sodium, the same amount of canned pinto beans boasts 409 mg of sodium. Too much sodium can lead to disastrous effects, including kidney damage, liver damage, and heart disease.

Possible short-term side effects

  • bloating
  • diarrhea
  • flatulence

Possible long-term side effects

  • kidney damage (canned pinto beans)
  • liver damage (canned pinto beans)
  • stroke (canned pinto beans)

Ingredients to be aware of


  • excellent source of various nutrients
  • lowers risk of heart disease
  • lowers cholesterol levels
  • helps control blood sugar
  • helps maintain healthy bowel movements
  • helps regulate digestion
  • promotes weight management
  • promotes cell production

Our Wellness Pick (what is this?)

Eden Organic Pinto Beans

  • No salt added
  • Non-GMO
  • Gluten-free & Vegan
  • Kosher certified
  • U.S. grown
Learn More!

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Jeff Volling
Published on: 05-15-2016
Last updated: 12-15-2023

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Jeff Volling
Published on: 05-15-2016
Last updated: 12-15-2023

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