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Lentils vs White Beans: Which One is Better for You?

This article explains the key similarities and differences between lentils and white beans, foods from the legumes and legume product group. Read on to learn more about the lentils vs white beans comparison.
Dennis Gillett, Health & Fitness Writer

Written by Dennis Gillett, Health & Fitness Writer. Updated on January 7, 2023.

Lentils and white beans belong to the legumes and legume products food group, one of the staple food groups for people on a plant-based diet.

Legumes and most legume products are an affordable source of plant protein, dietary fiber, B vitamins, and minerals such as iron, calcium, potassium, and zinc, minerals that are usually harder to get on a plant-based diet.

This article will thoroughly compare lentils and white beans and help you learn more about their similarities and differences.


Lentils (Lens culinaris) are a type of legume that are native to the Middle East and have been consumed for thousands of years.

They are small, round, and come in various colors, including green, brown, red, and yellow. Lentils are a popular ingredient in many cuisines worldwide and are highly valued for their nutritional content.

One of the main health benefits of lentils is their high protein content. In fact, lentils are one of the highest plant-based protein sources, making them a popular choice for vegetarians and vegans.

Lentils are also high in fiber, which can help to improve digestion and lower cholesterol levels.

They are rich in nutrients such as iron, potassium, and B vitamins. They also contain many plant compounds that have been shown to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

Regarding versatility, lentils can be easily incorporated into various dishes, such as soups, stews, and salads.

They are also budget-friendly ingredients that can be used in place of meat to add protein and nutrients to meals.

Lentils are an excellent source of Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid), Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine), and Vitamin B9 (Folate).

They also contain a good amount of Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), and Vitamin B3 (Niacin) and some Vitamin C, and Vitamin K.

White Beans

White beans (Phaseolus vulgaris), also known as navy beans or haricot beans, are a type of legume native to South America.

They are a popular ingredient in many vegan and vegetarian dishes due to their high protein and fiber content, as well as their mild, slightly nutty flavor.

White beans are also a good source of several important nutrients, including potassium, iron, and B vitamins.

They can be enjoyed in a variety of dishes, such as white bean soup, salad, and dips.

In addition to being a nutritious food, white beans have been shown to have a number of potential health benefits.

They have been linked to lower cholesterol levels and improved blood sugar control, and may also help to reduce the risk of certain types of cancer.

White Beans are an excellent source of Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), and Vitamin B9 (Folate).

They also contain a good amount of Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid), and Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine) and some Vitamin K.

Lentils vs White Beans Nutrition

Now that we’ve described the origin, taste, and usage of these foods, we can move to the most interesting part – comparing lentils vs white beans.

This comparison will start by comparing the caloric value of lentils and white beans and their macronutrients and then go more in-depth by analyzing their vitamin and mineral content.

LentilsWhite Beans
Energy352 kcal333 kcal
Carbs63.4 g60.3 g
Sugar2.03 g2.11 g
Fiber10.7 g15.2 g
Protein24.6 g23.4 g
Fat1.06 g0.85 g
Saturated Fat0.154 g0.219 g

Lentils vs White Beans Calories

Most calories in raw legumes come from carbs. Peanuts are an exception here, but they are often considered a nut instead of a legume because of their nutritional profile.

Comparing white beans vs lentils for weight loss, white beans are slightly lower in calories, with 333 calories per 100 grams, compared to 352 calories per 100 grams of lentils.

However, both lentils and white beans can and should be a part of a healthy diet, and neither one shouldn’t be avoided if you’re looking to lose weight.

Lentils vs White Beans Protein

Legumes and most legume products, including lentils and white beans, are important sources of plant-based protein.

Lentils offer around 5% more protein than white beans.

Lentils have 24.6 grams of protein per 100 grams, while white beans have 23.4 grams of protein per 100 grams.

Lentils vs White Beans Carbs

Counting carbs can be important for some people for different reasons, including blood sugar control, weight management, or athletic performance.

It’s also important for people on a keto diet, so let’s compare the carbs content in lentils and white beans.

The total amount of carbohydrates is around 5% higher in lentils than in white beans. They have 63.4 grams per 100 grams, compared to 60.3 grams in white beans.

One handful of lentils and white beans (28 grams) contains 0.6 grams of sugar, the same amount.

Lastly, let’s take a look at the dietary fiber in lentils and white beans.

Dietary fiber keeps the digestive system healthy and helps with weight management by promoting a sense of fullness.

With 4.3 grams of fiber per portion, white beans are a better source of fiber than lentils which offer 3 grams per portion.

Lentils vs White Beans Fats

Like most other legumes, with the exception of lupins and peanuts, lentils and white beans are low in fat.

Fats in lentils and white beans are mostly healthy unsaturated fats. They are naturally cholesterol-free and trans-fat-free.

Total fat in lentils and white beans:

  • Lentils: 1.1 grams per 100 grams
  • White Beans: 0.9 per 100 grams

Speaking of saturated fats, lentils and white beans contain the same amount of saturated fats, 0.2 grams per 100 grams.

Lentils vs White Beans Vitamins Content

This section will discuss the vitamin content of lentils and white beans.

Vitamins are micronutrients, meaning we need only a small amount. However, they are very important for many processes in our bodies.

Lentils have a higher amount of vitamin K.

However, white beans have a higher amount of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B1 (Thiamine), vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), vitamin B3 (Niacin), vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine), vitamin B9 (Folate), and vitamin E.

Lentils and white beans contain the same amount of vitamin D, and vitamin B12 (Cobalamin).

The following table shows the exact amount of vitamins lentils and white beans contain side by side, so you can easily compare them.

LentilsWhite Beans
Vitamin A39 IU0
Vitamin C4.5 mg0
Vitamin D00
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)0.873 mg0.437 mg
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)0.211 mg0.146 mg
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)2.6 mg0.479 mg
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)2.14 mg0.732 mg
Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine)0.54 mg0.318 mg
Vitamin B9 (Folate)479 µg388 µg
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)00
Vitamin E0.49 mg0.21 mg
Vitamin K5 µg5.6 µg

Lentils vs White Beans Minerals Content

Minerals are important for our body to function properly. We need only a small amount of minerals, so they are called micronutrients.

Some minerals, like iron, calcium, zinc or, iodine, are relatively hard to get on a plant-based diet, so it’s important to choose your foods thoughtfully. This part of the lentils and white beans comparison focuses on their mineral content.

Lentils are a better source of calcium, copper, fluoride, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium, and zinc than white beans.

Check out the table below to learn how lentils and white beans compare when it comes to mineral content.

LentilsWhite Beans
Calcium35 mg240 mg
Copper0.754 mg0.984 mg
Fluoride02.2 µg
Iron6.51 mg10.4 mg
Magnesium47 mg190 mg
Manganese1.39 mg1.8 mg
Phosphorus281 mg301 mg
Potassium677 mg1800 mg
Selenium0.1 µg12.8 µg
Sodium6 mg16 mg
Zinc3.27 mg3.67 mg

The Final Word

Lentils and white beans are highly nutritious and a great addition to a plant-based diet.

Both lentils and white beans are high in specific vitamins and minerals, and including them in your diet will give you the most benefits they offer.

Antioxidants found in beans and legumes can help to protect cells from damage and may reduce the risk of certain diseases and the effects of aging.

Additionally, the fiber and other nutrients in these foods can support the health of the digestive system and may even help to prevent certain digestive cancers.

Legumes are versatile food that can be incorporated into any meal of the day, including breakfast, lunch, or dinner. They can be served hot or cold, making them a convenient and tasty addition to a variety of dishes.


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