Pinto Beans: Nutrition, Benefits, And Risks

Written by Aparna Mallampalli

Beans play a vital role in human nutrition and are a staple across various parts of the world. They are rich in protein, carbohydrates, dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and other micronutrients. They are low in fat too. While all beans offer important benefits, one specific variant that is fast gaining popularity is the pinto bean.

What are pinto beans? How can they benefit you? Here, we discuss pinto beans, their nutritional profile, and their potential side effects. Keep reading.

What Are Pinto Beans?

Pinto beans are among the most consumed bean varieties. They are native to Mexico and are scientifically called Phaseolus vulgaris. They are reddish or beige and have a unique earthy smell with a nutty flavor. They are used whole or mashed and are popular in Mexican cuisine. They take about 90to 150 days to completely turn dry. They can also be consumed as green snap beans.

Let us look at the nutrition facts of pinto beans in the next section.

Pinto Beans Nutrition Facts

100 grams of raw pinto beans contain the following nutrients:

Energy143 kcal
Starch 15.2g
Water 63g
Phosphorus147 mg
Magnesium50 mg

Note: Values are sourced from USDA

Health Benefits Of Pinto Beans

1. May Reduce The Risk Of Coronary Heart Disease

A sedentary lifestyle and an unhealthy diet are among the major factors associated with coronary heart disease risk. Studies suggest that consuming pinto beans regularly may reduce the risk. These beans reduce the levels of serum total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (1). Beans may also improve lipid profiles associated with cardiovascular disease (2).

2. May Promote Satiety

Pinto beans are low in fat and are usually preferred for weight loss. Studies show that their high fiber content may promote satiety and help reduce obesity (3). However, these were only short-term results. Detailed studies are warranted to further understand this benefit of pinto beans in the long run.

3. May Help In Glycemic Control

Beans are high in fiber and have slowly digestible carbohydrates. They may help promote long-term glycemic control. They may also lower fasting blood glucose levels (4). Additionally, the intake of fiber is directly related to a reduced risk of diabetes (5). Consult your doctor if you have diabetes and want to include pinto beans in your diet.

4. May Lower The Risk Of Mortality

Dietary fiber is associated with many health benefits (6). Studies show that dietary fiber may significantly reduce mortality associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD), coronary heart disease, diabetes, cancer, digestive disease, and infectious and inflammatory diseases. A direct impact of dietary fiber on CVD is also observed (7).

5. May Reduce The Risk Of Cancer

Studies suggest that pinto beans may reduce colorectal cancer risk. The large number of bioactive compounds in dry beans could prevent cancer. Their bioactive constituents may delay or prevent tumor formation. Dry beans could also reduce advanced colorectal adenomas (8). However, more studies are warranted in this regard.

Despite an array of health benefits, consuming pinto beans in excess may also cause adverse effects. Keep reading.

Adverse Effects

1. May Increase Flatulence

Bean consumption may increase flatulence, bloating, and stool changes in some. However, there is a variation in this response. Increased flatulence and intestinal gas were observed in some people when dietary fiber intake was high. Oligosaccharides — water-soluble carbohydrates — are difficult to digest. They get converted into carbon dioxide, sulfur, and hydrogen and move out in the form of flatus (9).

2. May Affect Bone

Studies show that excessive intake of high protein may affect bone. High protein in food generates a large amount of acid. The kidneys respond to this by excreting net acid, including ammonium and titratable acids. This may have a negative effect on the bones. Additionally, the skeleton supplies a buffer by active resorption of bone. This also may damage bone health (10).

3. May Cause Abdominal Pain

Anecdotal evidence suggests that pinto beans may induce abdominal pain or aggravate existing pain. It is also associated with cramps and nausea. These effects may be caused due to the high protein content of the beans. However, more research is needed in this regard.


Studies suggest that patients allergic to beans show reactions like asthma, dyspnea, chest tightness, and tachycardia. The reaction occurs majorly after ingestion. The chances of allergy while handling (cleaning or cooking) these beans are fewer (11). Consult your doctor if you develop any of these symptoms.


Moderate consumption of pinto beans is healthy as they are high in protein and fiber. These beans reduce the risk of various diseases. However, they may also cause flatulence and abdominal pain if consumed in excess. People allergic to beans may also show reactions like asthma, dyspnea, chest tightness, and tachycardia. Consult your doctor if you observe any such effects.

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

Is there another name for pinto beans?

Pinto beans are also called speckled beans, frijol pinto, or painted beans.

Are pinto beans the same as kidney beans?

Kidney beans have a meaty and slightly sweet flavor. But pinto beans have a creamy texture and earthy flavor. However, these can be used as a substitute for each other in dishes to mimic the taste.

Are pinto beans cheap?

Pinto beans are affordable. However, canned pinto beans are slightly more expensive than the dry variant.

When are pinto beans grown?

Pinto beans are mostly grown in August or September and from December to February. However, they are available in the dried form throughout the year.


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  1. Pinto bean consumption reduces biomarkers for heart disease risk
  2. Pinto bean consumption changes SCFA profiles in fecal fermentations bacterial populations of the lower bowel and lipid profiles in the blood of humans
  3. Pulse Consumption, Satiety, and Weight Management
  4. Effect of non-oil-seed pulses on glycaemic control: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled experimental trials in people with and without diabetes
  5. Dietary Fiber Intake and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: An Umbrella Review of Meta-analyses
  6. The Health Benefits of Dietary Fibre
  7. Dietary Fiber Intake and Mortality from All Causes, Cardiovascular Disease, Cancer, Infectious Diseases and Others: A Meta-Analysis of 42 Prospective Cohort Studies with 1,752,848 Participants
  8. High Dry Bean Intake and Reduced Risk of Advanced Colorectal Adenoma Recurrence among Participants in the Polyp Prevention Trial
  9. Perceptions of flatulence from bean consumption among adults in 3 feeding studies
  10. Excess dietary protein can adversely affect bone
  11. Viciafaba Hypersensitivity and ASA Intolerance in a Farmer: A Case Report

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Aparna is a professor-turned-content writer with over 5 years of experience in life sciences. Her passion for writing and interest in the healthcare and wellness industry pushed her toward a career in content writing. She has a master’s in Microbiology and aims to use her knowledge of life sciences to break down complex information into easily understandable content for the readers. When she’s not working, Aparna loves cooking and collecting keychains.