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Are black beans better than pinto beans for weight loss?

Both black beans and pinto beans can be excellent choices for a weight loss diet. They are both high in protein and fiber, which can help promote fullness and reduce calorie intake. However, there are some differences between black beans and pinto beans that may make one more advantageous for weight loss. In this article, we’ll take a detailed look at the nutritional profiles of black beans versus pinto beans and compare their potential impact on weight loss.

Nutrition Facts

Let’s start by looking at the basic nutrition facts for black beans versus pinto beans (per 1 cup cooked):

Nutrient Black beans Pinto beans
Calories 227 245
Protein 15.2g 14.9g
Carbs 41.1g 44.9g
Fiber 15g 14.7g
Fat 0.9g 1.1g

As you can see, black beans and pinto beans have very similar nutrition profiles. They are both high in protein and fiber yet low in fat.

Black beans contain slightly fewer calories and carbs than pinto beans in an equal serving. However, the difference is small. Fiber content is also very comparable.

So in terms of basic macronutrients, black beans and pinto beans are nutritionally on par with one another.


Looking beyond macronutrients, there are some subtle differences between black beans and pinto beans when it comes to micronutrients:

  • Black beans are higher in folate. One cup contains about 30% of your daily folate needs, while pinto beans provide around 20%. Folate is important for metabolism and weight control.
  • Pinto beans contain more manganese. Manganese plays a role in metabolism, blood sugar control, and insulin sensitivity.
  • Black beans are higher in vitamin B6. B6 supports metabolism and energy levels.
  • Pinto beans contain more thiamine. Thiamine is important for glucose metabolism.

Overall, black beans contain more nutrients that specifically related to metabolism and weight control, like folate and vitamin B6. But both legumes are nutritious choices.

Protein and Fiber

Two of the most important factors that make beans beneficial for weight loss are their high protein and fiber content. Let’s look closer at how black beans and pinto beans compare in these areas.


Studies show that higher protein diets can promote weight loss by:

  • Increasing satiety and reducing appetite.
  • Boosting calorie burn from digestion.
  • Supporting the building of lean muscle mass.

Black beans and pinto beans are both excellent sources of plant-based protein, providing around 15 grams per cup. This protein is considered high quality as it contains all the essential amino acids.

However, black beans contain slightly more protein gram for gram. So if you are looking to maximize the protein content of bean in your diet, black beans may be the better choice.


Getting enough fiber is also key for weight loss. Fiber moves slowly through the digestive tract, which promotes feeling full and satisfied after meals. Studies show that high fiber intake is associated with both weight loss and weight maintenance.

Black beans contain 15 grams of fiber per cup, while pinto beans have 14.7 grams. Again, black beans edge out pinto beans slightly when it comes to fiber content.

The high fiber and protein combo provided by both types of legumes can support weight loss. But black beans may be optimal if you are looking to increase protein and fiber specifically.

Resistant Starch

Another advantage that beans have for weight loss is their high content of resistant starch.

Resistant starch is a unique type of carb that helps feed the friendly bacteria in your gut. Similar to fiber, it resists digestion and passes through your stomach undigested.

Recent research has found that resistant starch may encourage weight loss in several ways:

  • Increasing post-meal fat burn.
  • Suppressing appetite by slowing stomach emptying.
  • Improving insulin sensitivity.

Studies show black beans contain around 3 grams more resistant starch per cup than pinto beans. The high resistant starch content specifically makes black beans an excellent food for weight management.

Glycemic Index

The glycemic index (GI) measures how quickly a food raises blood sugar levels. Foods with a high GI cause rapid spikes, while foods with a low GI promote more gradual rises.

Focusing on low GI foods can aid weight loss because they help control appetite and stabilize blood sugar levels. Unstable blood sugar can increase hunger and cause overeating.

Black beans have a lower glycemic index than pinto beans. The GI for black beans is around 30, while pinto beans are in the 50-60 range.

The lower glycemic impact of black beans compared to pinto beans may provide another slight advantage for weight management.

Calories Per Cup

In a one cup serving, pinto beans contain around 18 more calories than black beans (245 calories vs. 227 calories).

This small difference can start to add up if you eat beans frequently, but overall it is pretty negligible. You’d have to eat around 5 cups of beans per day for this calorie difference to amount to an extra pound over a month.

For most realistic serving sizes and bean intake levels, the small calorie difference between the two types of legumes should not significantly impact weight loss.

Taste and Texture

Taste and texture preferences may also come into play when choosing between black beans and pinto beans for weight loss.

Compared to pinto beans, black beans tend to have a slightly sweeter taste and hold their shape better when cooked. Pinto beans have a starchy, somewhat mealy texture.

From a weight control perspective, you’ll benefit from either bean. But choosing the one you enjoy most may mean you eat more legumes overall and stick to your diet better.

Other Health Benefits

In addition to weight control, both black beans and pinto beans provide many other health perks.

Some benefits of black beans include:

  • Lowering cholesterol.
  • Stabilizing blood sugar levels.
  • Reducing inflammation.

Some benefits of pinto beans include:

  • Improving heart health.
  • Aiding digestion.
  • Boosting energy levels.

While their impacts on health and weight loss are similar, choosing between black or pinto beans can allow you to target specific benefits.

Weight Loss Meal Ideas

Both black beans and pinto beans can be used in many weight loss friendly recipes. Here are some delicious meal ideas featuring each type of bean:

Black Bean Meals

  • Black bean burgers
  • Black bean chili
  • Black bean soup
  • Black bean enchiladas
  • Southwestern stuffed sweet potatoes
  • Black bean salad

Pinto Bean Meals

  • Pinto bean tacos
  • Pinto bean nachos
  • Pinto bean and rice burritos
  • Pinto bean soup
  • Pinto bean chili
  • Pinto bean salad

Comparison Chart

Here is a quick overview of how black beans and pinto beans compare for weight loss:

Black Beans Pinto Beans
Calories per cup 227 245
Protein per cup 15.2g 14.9g
Fiber per cup 15g 14.7g
Resistant starch Higher Lower
Glycemic index Lower (~30) Higher (50-60)


Both black beans and pinto beans can promote weight loss and provide key nutrients. Overall, black beans come out slightly ahead due to their higher protein, fiber, and resistant starch content along with a lower glycemic index.

However, pinto beans have their own nutritional merits. The differences are small enough that both beans are excellent plant-based protein sources to include in a healthy weight loss plan.

Focus on finding bean recipes you enjoy, and don’t be afraid to mix up black beans and pinto beans for variety. With their rich nutrition and versatility, making beans a dietary staple can support your weight loss goals.