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Are black eyed peas low carb: Are they high carbs?

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Have you ever found yourself eyeing a bowl of black-eyed peas, wondering whether it fits within the confines of your ketogenic diet? You're not alone. This type of legume is a common source of protein and fiber, often used in nutritious foods. But when it comes to the big question: are black eyed peas low carb, the answer is a tad more complex.

Every serving of black-eyed peas (1 cup) contains a hefty 25.1 grams of net carbs. Unfortunately, this makes them a high carb food, and certainly not the best bet for a strict keto diet. Despite their health benefits, the total carbs in black-eyed peas might disrupt your low-carb diet and potentially throw you out of ketosis.

black eyed peas on a white plate that are not low carb.

What Makes Black Eyed Peas High in Carbohydrates?

Black-eyed peas, just like other types of beans such as pinto beans, kidney beans, black beans, and lima beans, are rich in complex carbohydrates. These carbs not only give you energy but also contribute to the high dietary fiber content of the peas. While fiber is a good source of nutrients, it also counts toward the total carbohydrate content of these beans.

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Alternatives to Black-Eyed Peas on a Low Carb Diet

There's good news, though. If you're adhering to a ketogenic lifestyle, there are numerous low-carb alternatives to black-eyed peas. These include:

  • Black Soybeans: With a much lower net carb count per serving size, black soybeans make a good option for keto dieters.
  • Green Beans: Another excellent choice for a low-carb diet. They contain fewer grams of carbohydrates per serving compared to black-eyed peas.
  • Edamame Beans: They are low in carbs, high in protein, and packed with healthy fats, which makes them a suitable substitute.

How Do Black Eyed Peas Compare to Alternatives?

Here's a chart comparing the carbohydrate content of black-eyed peas with the aforementioned alternatives:

Type of BeanNet Carbs per Serving (1 cup)
Black-Eyed Peas25.1g
Black Soybeans8.0g
Green Beans4.9g
Edamame Beans9.0g

While each of these options has a lower carbohydrate content than black-eyed peas, remember that portion sizes and cooking time can influence the final carb count in your meals.

Tips for Incorporating Black Eyed Peas into a Low Carb Diet

For those who still want to enjoy black-eyed peas, here are some tips:

  1. Control Your Portions: Since the grams of carbohydrates in black-eyed peas are calculated per serving size (1 cup), eating smaller portions can reduce your carb intake.
  2. Pair with Low-Carb Foods: Make black-eyed peas part of a meal with other low-carb foods. Combine them with green bell peppers or ground beef to balance out the high carb content.
  3. Try Black-Eyed Pea Soup: Using chicken broth and coconut milk, you can create a lower carb soup. Remember to check the portion size to maintain a low carb intake.
  4. Use them as a Protein Source: If your daily calories allow it, you can consider black-eyed peas as a source of protein rather than a carbohydrate source.

Pairing Black Eyed Peas with Low Carb Foods

Now, if you're not ready to give up black-eyed peas, fret not. There's a strategy you can employ – pairing them with low-carb foods. This way, you can keep the overall carbohydrate content of your meal within your daily value.

For example, mixing black-eyed peas with green bell peppers, which are rich in vitamins and low in carbs, can make a healthy, low-carb salad. Or try adding them to a stir fry with other low-carb vegetables like snow peas and bell peppers, cooked in healthy olive oil.

The idea here is to enjoy your black-eyed peas, but not let them dominate your plate, thereby keeping your total carbohydrate intake for the meal low.

Cooking Time and Its Effect on Carbohydrates

An interesting facet that often goes unnoticed is the influence of cooking time on the carbohydrate content of beans. Studies have shown that the longer legumes are cooked, the more their resistant starches break down, thus increasing their carbohydrate availability.

In the case of black-eyed peas, you could experiment with reducing the cooking time to see if it helps to lower the total carbohydrates. However, remember to always ensure the beans are properly cooked to avoid any potential health issues.

Portion Sizes and Its Importance

While we've mentioned this briefly, it's worth noting again – managing portion sizes is key. It's one of the easiest ways to control carbohydrate intake. Instead of having a full cup of black-eyed peas, try a half-cup serving instead.

Pair this smaller portion with other low-carb foods, and you'll have a satisfying meal that won't push you out of ketosis. You can enjoy the unique taste and health benefits of black-eyed peas without worrying about your carb intake.

The Role of Black-Eyed Peas in Vegan and Vegetarian Diets

This is another aspect to consider. For vegans and vegetarians, black-eyed peas can serve as a vital source of protein. Despite their high carbohydrate content, they may still be a viable option in these diets, especially given their high protein content.

Of course, if you're following a vegan or vegetarian ketogenic diet, you'll still need to mind the carb content. But when compared to other legumes like mung beans or kidney beans, black-eyed peas can provide more protein per gram of carbohydrates, which is a definite plus for those who don't consume animal products.

Savory Black-Eyed Peas Recipes to Try

Although black-eyed peas may not fit into a strict ketogenic diet, there's no denying that they make a flavorful addition to various dishes. Here are some recipes to try:

  • Black-eyed pea salad with bell peppers and olive oil: This salad is a great way to enjoy black-eyed peas while keeping your carb intake in check. Simply toss together a small amount of cooked black-eyed peas, diced bell peppers, and a drizzle of olive oil for a refreshing and low-carb side dish.
  • Black-eyed pea and ground beef stir fry: Sauté ground beef with a small portion of black-eyed peas and your favorite low-carb vegetables for a hearty and keto-friendly main course.

Storing Black-Eyed Peas

Lastly, a quick note on storage: if you've cooked a large batch of black-eyed peas, store the leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This allows for easy portion control - you can quickly heat up a small serving when you're in the mood for black-eyed peas, without being tempted to overindulge.

Black-Eyed Peas and Traditional Dishes

As a type of legume with a distinctive black spot, black-eyed peas hold a special place in many cultures' cuisine. From the southern United States' Hoppin’ John to West African goat peas, these beans are integral to many traditional dishes. While these recipes often contain high-carb ingredients, with some modifications, they can still be enjoyed on special occasions while following a low-carb diet.


In answering the question "are black-eyed peas low carb?" it's clear that while they might not be the best choice for those on a strict keto diet, they can still be incorporated into a low-carb diet with some strategic planning and portion control.

Always remember to pair them with other low-carb foods, be mindful of cooking times, and control portion sizes. For vegans and vegetarians, they can be a valuable source of protein, even if they have a higher carb content.

The journey to maintaining a low-carb diet isn't about completely cutting out foods but learning how to balance them in a way that supports your health goals. With this information in mind, you can continue to enjoy black-eyed peas while sticking to your low-carb lifestyle.


Why are Black-Eyed Peas High in Carbohydrates?

The high carbohydrate content in black-eyed peas comes from their complex carbohydrates and high fiber content. Both components are crucial for a balanced diet, but may not fit into a strict keto diet due to the higher carb content.

What are Some Low Carb Alternatives to Black-Eyed Peas?

Black soybeans, green beans, and edamame beans are all excellent low-carb alternatives to black-eyed peas. Each of these options has fewer grams of carbohydrates per serving, which can be more suitable for a ketogenic lifestyle.

Can I Include Black-Eyed Peas in a Keto Diet in Small Amounts?

Yes, black-eyed peas can be included in a keto diet in small amounts. This is especially true if you monitor your portion sizes and pair them with other low-carb foods.

Are Black-Eyed Peas a Good Source of Protein?

Absolutely! A single cup of black-eyed peas contains approximately 13 grams of protein. This makes them an excellent source of dietary fiber and a good source of protein, which can be particularly beneficial for those following a vegan diet.

Can I Make Black-Eyed Pea Soup More Keto-Friendly?

Yes, by incorporating ingredients like chicken broth and coconut milk, you can create a lower carb version of black-eyed pea soup. Just remember to check the portion size to maintain a low carb intake.

Key Takeaways

  • Black-eyed peas are not considered a low carb food. A single serving size (1 cup) of black-eyed peas contains 25.1 grams of net carbs, which is too high for a ketogenic diet.
  • Black soybeans, green beans, and edamame beans are all low-carb alternatives to black-eyed peas.
  • Smaller portion sizes and pairing black-eyed peas with other low-carb foods can help to incorporate them into a low-carb diet.
  • While black-eyed peas are high in carbohydrates, they are also an excellent source of dietary fiber and a good source of protein.


While black-eyed peas might be a part of your favorite recipes or traditional dishes like Hoppin' John on New Year's Day, they might not fit into a strict keto diet due to their high carbohydrate content. However, with portion control and strategic pairing with other low-carb foods, you can still enjoy them in moderation.

Always remember that while following a ketogenic diet, it's essential to focus on the overall balance of your meals, ensuring they are packed with healthy fats and good sources of protein. Black-eyed peas might not be a low-carb food, but they are certainly nutritious and can be part of a healthy weight loss diet when consumed responsibly.

So, while the simple answer to "are black eyed peas low carb?" is "no," that doesn't necessarily mean they're off the table. After all, maintaining a healthy diet isn't about excluding foods, but about finding a balance that works for your lifestyle and goals.

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