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Feb 4, 2008 09:44 PM

Do lentils become carbs?

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?

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

    1. 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. 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. 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

            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. 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