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Do lentils become carbs?

luckyfatima Feb 4, 2008 09:44 PM

I usually think of lentils as protein (like if I eat them with rice as daal or whatever), but I know they have some carb content somehow as well. but there are some ways to prepare lentils that makes them seem very carby. For example, there is this Gujarati snack called dhokla that involves overnight soaking of yellow lentils (chana daal or sometimes some other types of daal) and then grinding them to a paste and then steaming the paste into fluffy cakes, then seasoning. It seems so "bready." Is it still a protein at this stage? And then there are bhallas (aka vadas) which are the same process of soaking another type of daal, fermenting and grinding but then deep frying the paste. Also, like chick peas are protein, but you can make a lot of things from chickpea flour (besan) like pakoras and all. Is the flour purely a carb? What about when the chickpeas are ground up for hummus?

So when I change the texture of the lentils, do they become pure carbs?

  1. lynnlato Feb 5, 2008 02:00 PM

    I love lentils and dal but they are very high in carbs (albeit complex carbs). I'm a type 1 diabetic and they send my blood sugar thru the roof and so I must take extra insulin to offset the spike.

    Chick peas are high in carbs as well. You cannot change it from a carb to a protein, etc. It is what it is. It can be made up of both protein and complex carbs but not matter what you do to it (i.e. fry it, dry it, grind it) that's what it is.

    4 Replies
    1. re: lynnlato
      applehome Feb 6, 2008 11:13 AM

      Interesting - I haven't experienced this. I'm insulin dependent as well. I don't think lentils have nearly as much blood sugar bounce as potatoes, some rices or pasta.

      The GCI is 30, about the same as lima beans and soy beans. Compare to green peas and kidney beans which are closer to 50.

      Rices are the same way - they can vary from the 30's to 80's depending on the amylose/amylopectin ratio.

      Of course, GCI can vary significantly by recipe and to some extent, from person to person, which is why the published data always points to the fact that its an average of many people.

      1. re: applehome
        lynnlato Feb 6, 2008 01:24 PM

        Yes well different carbs effect us all differently. For instance, pasta doesn't spike my bs as badly as pizza & rice. Of course, proteins and fats affect absorption too so it all depends on the ingredients in the dish. Also, as a T1, my pancreas doesn't produce any insulin.

        I don't eat lentils all that much so I'm not as skilled at dosing when I do indulge. So many factors! ;-)

      2. re: lynnlato
        Miss Needle Feb 6, 2008 01:44 PM

        I've also found that people's blood sugar tends to spike more during the evenings as opposed to the day time.

        1. re: Miss Needle
          lynnlato Feb 6, 2008 04:03 PM

          Definitely true for me, Miss Needle. Good point. I always attribute it to my being less active in the evening. If I run in the morning, I have to monitor my BS closely b/c I am so prone to low BS's afterwards.

      3. im_nomad Feb 5, 2008 12:28 PM

        i look at lentils and the like as good things all round.... and am having a lentil salad for supper actually, and yes I am munching and CH'ing at the same time :).

        in response to the OP, changing the texture of something, to my knowledge doesn't alter protein content, or change them to pure carbs.....yes some different things happen in relation to sugar conversion once certain foods enter the body, however unless the cakes etc you mention, also contain a load of flour or what not into the mix, lentils wouldn't become pure carbs (IMO). Just think of it as steak or hamburger, and i don't think that changes the protein content either. I can't comment on chickpea flour because it's not something iv'e really used.

        as a side note however, you would have to eat a lot of lentils to get the daily requirement, which may only concern you if you are on a carb restricted diet (such as a diabetic ).

        1. Karl S Feb 5, 2008 06:05 AM

          A cup of boiled (as opposed to dried) lentils has the following food value, regardless of its texture - a food doesn't shift from one value to another depending on its preparation:

          230 calories
          137.9 grams of water
          17.9 grams of protein
          40 grams of carbohydrate
          0 grams sugar
          15.6 grams of dietary fiber
          0.8 gram fat
          0.1 gram saturated fat
          0.1 gram monosaturated fatty acid
          0.3 gram polyunsaturated fatty acid
          No gram cholestorol

          1. j
            jerry i h Feb 4, 2008 10:15 PM

            I am on Atkins, and lentils are legumes are beans are carbohydrates, and strictly verboten. The fact that they have a higher % of protein and fiber does not negate their starch content.

            2 Replies
            1. re: jerry i h
              ikirumata Feb 5, 2008 06:46 AM

              I don't follow the Atkins diet, but here is what the website says about fiber:

              "Although it is a carbohydrate, fiber does not convert to glucose and thus does not raise your blood-sugar level the way carbohydrates typically do."

              Not sure if Atkins is specific on which sources of fiber are preferred more than others, but beans are a pretty good source of fiber.


              *enjoy the sauce*

              1. re: jerry i h
                lynnlato Feb 6, 2008 01:29 PM

                Exactly, Jerry. Well said.

              2. paulj Feb 4, 2008 10:03 PM

                Lookup these items on some place like wikipedia.
                For example 100 g of uncooked lentils contain
                60g of carbohydrates (including sugars and dietary fiber),
                and 26g of protein.

                (The chickpea and soybean articles also include water, which this doesn't. Cooking also adds water. But in any case, the carboydrate to protein ratio of lengues is approximately 2:1)

                So you shouldn't think of legumes as protein, but as being higher in protein than most other vegetable sources such as grains. They still contain a lot of carbohydrates. I don't know if the proportions change with preparation.


                1. h
                  Humbucker Feb 4, 2008 10:01 PM

                  As Quine said, legumes have both carbohydrates and protein.

                  Boiled lentils have about 40g of carbohydrate per cup, but a good amount of that is fiber, which is food for you (in comparison, a cup of boiled potatoes has about 30g of carbohydrate per cup, but little fiber without the skin). Also, you may or may not know that, like beans, they aren't a complete protein by themselves.

                  1. Quine Feb 4, 2008 09:56 PM

                    No. While lentils have a somewhat decent protein amount (26%) they are still a legume and a carb. Likewise for chickpeas.

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