Are Black Beans Paleo? (Find Out to Know More!)

One of the most sought-after food sources of protein outside of meat and fish is the versatile black bean. Black beans are cheap, you can throw them in virtually anything, and they are incredibly easy to make. But for those of us in the steadfast march of a restrictive diet, can we be allowed this nutritionally beneficial legume?

Well, if that restrictive diet is paleo, then, unfortunately, the answer is a disappointing negative.

Are Black beans paleo?

They are not. Despite being one of the healthier food groups you can consume, beans go against the philosophy that is inherent in the paleo diet. When you are basing a diet on what cavemen and hunter-gatherers would go out and eat, you can rest assured that they were not throwing together a bowl of rice and beans, to their eternal misfortune.

black beans on wooden saucer on wooden mat

So in this article, we will go over exactly why you are not able to munch on lentils, beans, and other popular foods that the majority of the population eat fairly regularly. For the sake of your sanity, we will also look at possible alternatives to keeping your appetite for a black bean casserole properly sated.

Why Are Black Beans Not Paleo?

Most of us imagine things like black beans, white rice, and chickpeas to be solid food choices for those looking to shed a few pounds or clean up their diet.

This can certainly be true for certain people, but when looking at the paleo philosophy and regimen, you start to see why they do not fit within the often rigid guidelines that are the foundation of this popular dietary movement. So why are things like beans, lentils, and grains removed from the nice list of paleo foods?

Well, the first thing you have to look at is the lectins that can be found within beans. They are difficult to digest and may cause a number of issues where digestion is concerned, especially for someone who has a body accustomed to the paleo diet.

Consumption of black beans can negatively affect a person’s stomach lining and even cause potential swelling and discomfort.

Another negative of black beans is the presence of phytic acid found within them. Phytic acid is popularly labeled as an “Anti-Nutrient” due to its innate function of rejecting the nutrients from zinc, iron, and calcium.

Now, phytic acid in minor doses can prove beneficial, though proponents of the paleo diet believe that the higher amount found in things like black beans makes it more harmful than helpful.

This is compounded by the fact that black beans have been found to be notably detrimental to people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, which is thought to be between twenty-five to forty-five million in the United States alone.

So, while black beans do offer some health benefits, it would be dangerous to not at least mention the detrimental effects they can have on the body. Whether they are worth eating is not a debate I will make in this article, but if you are paleo, it would be wise and within your diet regimen to give black beans a wide berth.

Paleo-Friendly Black Bean Alternatives

So now that we have to emotionally accept that we can no longer enjoy black beans, we have to figure out how to replace the nutrient benefits found within them.

Thankfully, unlike several diet plans out there, paleo has no shortage of protein options that you can choose from. So by the end of this article, you will be able to skip the black beans altogether and jump straight into healthier, caveman-accessible food groups.

chicken fillet with zucchini cooked on grill


Chicken is a fantastic source of protein, with over four times as much protein as can be found in an equivalent measurement of black beans. If you add that to the fact that it fits perfectly into the paleo diet and also is one of the healthiest meats you can purchase, it’s hard to argue against it as a powerful legume replacement.

The most important thing to note here is that chicken is also absolutely delicious, and any excuse to eat more of it is worthwhile.


Anyone who is familiar with the movie Rocky is familiar with Sylvester Stallone chugging raw eggs like he was doing a poultry-based keg stand. This is disgusting and can give you salmonella, but the protein found within eggs is incredibly beneficial, both raw or cooked (definitely cook them).

When comparing eggs to black beans, they measure twice as much protein for every one hundred grams of both.

Diced Veggies

If you are simply looking for something to fill that void on your plate that black beans used to fit into, then a healthy portion of vegetables can certainly be a solid replacement.

By sauteing or grilling veggies, you can get the same satisfying taste (although different) you would get with beans without the complicated digestive issues that may follow. Mushrooms, carrots, bell peppers, onions, and broccoli are personal favorites!

healthy bowl with raw tuna and vegetables


Fish is an incredible source of protein that is also rich in calcium, iron, and zinc.

Considering the fact that phytic acid essentially rejects a good portion of these nutrients, it can’t be overlooked how beneficial a bit of fish in the diet really is. This excludes the fact that it is incredibly tasty and lean in fat, making it ideal for those conscious of what they are putting into their system.

Due to the possible presence of mercury within fish, you may want to limit the consumption to once or twice a week. Sources vary on how much you should consume though all seem to agree that eating too much at once can be detrimental to your health.


Whenever we go on a diet, there is always going to be a food or two that we miss more than most of our relatives; it’s human nature. The idea is that over time you can learn to acclimate to your new diet and stop thinking about how awesome black bean casserole is (sorry, I’m not helping).

So the next time you are lamenting your long-lost legumes, maybe learn to love your new lean meats!


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