Lupin Bean nutrition, glycemic index, calories, net carbs & more
Lupin beans are legume seeds popularly used as a snack in the Mediterranian region, South America and Australia. The most well-known feature of these beans is their rich protein content.
This article will talk about everything important there is to know about lupin beans, from nutrition and health to varieties and history.
Table of contents
- Preparation and Use
- Appearance and Taste
- Lupin Beans in Diets
- Health Impact
- Health Benefits
- Downsides and Risks
Lupin beans, also known as turmus, lupinis, or lupini beans, are the edible seeds of lupin plants. These plants belong to the Fabaceae family and the Lupinus genus.
Plants or the fruits and seeds of plants belonging to the Fabaceae or Leguminosae family are known as legumes.
Lupin beans share this family with various other well-known legumes, such as beans, peas, lentils, chickpeas, peanuts, soybeans, and more.
The Lupin genus includes dozens of species. The four major cultivated species of this plant are Lupinus alba or white lupin, Lupinus angustifolius, also known as blue or narrow-leafed lupin, Lupinus luteus or yellow lupin, and Lupinus mutabilis or Andean lupin, tarwi.
These species are spread across the world with varying popularity levels. The white lupins are commonly found in the Mediterranean basin and Australia. Blue lupin is popular in North Africa and, finally, the Andean lupin is commonly found in South America (1).
These varieties are not so different in their protein content; however, the fat, carbohydrate, and micronutrient compositions can significantly vary based on the variety (2).
Andean lupins have the lowest amounts of dry matter and crude dietary fiber and the highest level of bitter alkaloids (3). Other nutritional differences between these varieties will be discussed later in the article.
Lupin beans can also be divided into two types - bitter lupins and sweet lupins.
Naturally, lupin beans are bitter due to the high levels of alkaloids found within the beans. However, in recent times, agriculturists have been breeding sweet cultivars of lupin beans that contain significantly smaller amounts of unfavorable bitter alkaloids.
Bitter lupin beans tend to be larger in size compared to sweet lupin beans.
Preparation and Use
Lupin beans can be used as a healthy snack, as an ingredient in various meals, or to produce other lupin-derived products, such as lupin flour or lupin powder.
Depending on the variety, the preparation method for these beans can change. Sweet lupin beans can be used and cooked straight away, whereas it is essential to soak bitter lupin beans in water for at least five days before use.
The bitter taste of raw lupin beans comes from their high quinolizidine alkaloid content, such as lupanine. These alkaloids are not only bitter but also toxic if consumed in large amounts.
Because of this, bitter lupin beans have to go through a debittering process before cooking and consumption. This process can be achieved by boiling the lupin beans and later soaking them in water for five to ten consecutive days while changing the water daily or twice a day. This decreases the alkaloid levels to safe consumption levels for humans (1). Unfortunately, this process also removes various beneficial nutrients from the lupin beans, such as protein, dietary fiber, minerals, and vitamins.
The sweet lupin beans can be soaked in water for only a few hours and then cooked on the stovetop or brined to be later used as snacks. Cooked lupin beans can be served with salt, lemon juice, cumin, and various other seasonings.
Lupin beans are often ground as a form of processing and served as a side dish after being cooked.
Jarred, marinated, or pickled lupini beans are a popular snack in Italian, Portuguese, Middle Eastern, and various other cultures.
Roasted lupin beans can also be an excellent choice for a healthy, crispy, vegan snack.
Appearance and Taste
Lupin beans are flat and round-shaped. When raw, these beans can be cream-colored, but they often get a distinct yellow coloring after being cooked.
Lupini beans are harder on the outside due to their edible and peelable husks but have a soft texture on the inside.
Undercooked lupin beans can taste very bitter, while cooked or sweet lupin beans are often described to have a taste similar to that of chickpeas.
Dry lupin beans can be stored for up to two years in a dry, dark, and cool place.
Cooked lupin beans can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
An open can of brined or pickled lupin beans should also be kept in the fridge, preferably for less than two weeks. Pickled lupin beans do not need to be refrigerated before opening.
Like most legumes, lupins are known to be a great source of protein. However, lupini beans are also rich in other macronutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
It is important to note that boiling or cooking lupin beans can considerably change the nutritional composition of the meal as the water density rises. This article will focus on raw and boiled lupin beans.
Raw lupin beans contain only 10% water, while cooked lupinis consist of 71% water.
The average serving size of lupin beans is considered to be one cup equal to 180g of lupinis.
Lupin beans are a high-calorie food. One serving size of raw lupin beans contains 668 calories. Accordingly, a 100g serving of dry lupini bean would provide 371 calories.
However, the same 100g serving of boiled and cooked lupin beans contains 119 calories, around three times less than raw lupinis caloric value (4).
One serving size of dry lupin beans could provide the required value of protein for the whole day. Lupin beans are in the top 1% of foods as a source of proteins. Lupin beans contain around 25% more protein than chicken. These beans are the only plants that can compete with soybeans in terms of protein content.
The main proteins found in lupin beans are albumin and globulin. Globulin makes up around 90% of lupin’s protein (5).
A hundred gram serving of raw lupin beans contains 36g of protein. These beans provide high levels of almost all essential amino acids.
Among the essential amino acids, lupin beans contain higher levels of histidine, threonine, isoleucine, tryptophan, and relatively lower levels of leucine, lysine, phenylalanine, and valine. Lupinis contain low levels of methionine.
White lupin beans have been researched to have a more favorable protein profile when compared to blue and yellow lupin beans. Yellow lupin beans can be deficient in isoleucine (6).
However, lupin beans can lose sizable amounts of their protein when boiled. A hundred gram serving of boiled lupinis contains only 16g of protein.
Protein quality breakdown
Raw lupini beans are rich in fats, containing 9.7g of it in every 100g serving. However, most of this fat consists of healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids.
The fat found in lupin beans is made up of 54% monounsaturated fat, 32% polyunsaturated fat, and only 15% saturated fat.
The same serving size of cooked lupin beans, on the other hand, contains only 3g of fats.
As a plant product, lupin beans naturally contain no cholesterol.
Fat type information
A 100g serving of raw lupin beans contains 40.37g of carbohydrates. This means lupinis contain 1.4 times more carbohydrates than rice.
However, lupinis are low in sugars, containing mostly dietary fiber.
In every 100g of lupin beans, 18.9g of dietary fiber can be found.
Boiled lupini beans are significantly lower in carbohydrates. The same 100g serving of cooked lupinis provides 10g of carbohydrates, of which 2.8g is made up of dietary fiber.
Lupin beans are very low in starch and are, therefore, known as part of the nonstarchy legume family.
Lupin beans are an excellent source of B complex vitamins, as well as vitamin C.
One average serving size of raw lupin beans can provide the needed daily amount of vitamin B1. Lupinis are in the top 14% of foods providing vitamin B1. These legumes contain 0.64mg of vitamin B1 per 100g serving, which is 2.4 more than green peas contain.
Lupin beans also provide ample amounts of vitamin B2, vitamin B3, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, and folate or vitamin B9.
Lupin beans are in the top 30% of foods as a source of vitamin C.
Lupinis completely lack vitamin A, vitamin D, and vitamin B12.
Boiled lupin beans, being less dense in nutrients overall, contain all these vitamins in lower amounts.
Vitamin coverage chart
Lupin beans are incredibly rich in most minerals. These beans are in the top 20% of foods providing potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, calcium, copper, and zinc.
The average serving size of lupinis provides the required daily amounts of copper, phosphorus, and iron.
Lupin beans also contain moderate amounts of magnesium and selenium while being low in sodium.
Once again, boiled lupin beans naturally contain lower levels of these minerals. However, if soaked and boiled in salted water, lupin beans can contain up to 16 times more sodium (7). People with high blood pressure are advised to avoid lupin beans that have been soaked in salted water or rinse the beans before consumption.
Mineral coverage chart
The pH value of raw lupin beans has been calculated to be 5.4. The pH value of boiled lupinis is similar, only a little less acidic, equal to 5.52 (1). This means that lupin beans have an acidic pH value.
Another way of looking at the acidity of the food is by calculating their potential renal acid load or PRAL value. The PRAL value demonstrates how much acid or base the given food produces within the organism.
The PRAL value for lupin beans has been calculated to be 5.3. This means lupin beans are moderately acid-forming.
An exact number has not yet been calculated for the glycemic index of lupin beans. However, since these beans are high in dietary fiber and low in sugars, their glycemic index is considered to be low.
Legumes, in general, have been recognized as having low glycemic index values and have been recommended in many national diabetes guidelines (8).
The addition of Australian sweet lupin flour to a high glycemic index meal, such as white bread, has been studied to reduce its glycemic index value from 100 to 74. Australian sweet lupin flour also increased insulin production without affecting palatability, satiety, and food intake (9).
This hypoglycemic effect is said to be due to the high content of phytochemicals found in lupin beans and flour, such as oligosaccharides, phytic acid, tannins, and saponins (9).
Another study has also concluded that lupine flour or fiber can be used successfully as hypoglycemic agents in bakery products (10).
Lupin Beans in Diets
|Keto||A 100g serving of cooked lupin beans contains 10g of carbohydrates, 30% of which are made up of dietary fiber. Lupin beans should be avoided on a strict keto diet. However, lupin beans can be consumed in moderation, as some keto diets allow 10 to 20% of the daily caloric intake to be carbohydrates (11).|
|DASH||Pulses, such as lupin beans, are a good source of protein on a DASH diet if you’re trying to cut back on high-sodium red meat (12). Lupin beans are low in sodium and have been studied to help lower blood pressure (13).|
|Atkins||Since the first phase of the Atkins diet - Induction - permits the consumption of only 20g of carbohydrates per day, lupin beans are advised to be avoided. You can slowly add whole food carbohydrates such as legumes starting from the second phase.|
|Mediterranean||Legumes are a great source of protein on a traditional Mediterranean diet. Lupin beans, in particular, have been used in Mediterranean cultures for centuries.|
|Paleo||Legumes are not considered to be certified Paleo foods as they contain high levels of lectin and phytic acid (14). Therefore, lupin beans are to be avoided on a strict Paleo diet.|
|Vegan/ Vegetarian/ Pescetarian||Due to the high protein content, lupin beans can be a great substitute for meat on a vegan, vegetarian, or pescetarian diet.|
|Gluten-free||Lupin beans do not contain gluten and can be consumed safely on a gluten-free diet. Lupin beans can also be used to produce gluten-free flour (14).|
|Dukan||Legumes, including lupin beans, are not allowed during the “Attack” and “Cruise” phases but can be added in moderation to the “Consolidation” and “Stabilization” phases.|
|Intermittent Fasting||Like other foods, lupin beans can be consumed during the eating periods but have to be refrained from during fasting.|
|Low Fat & Low Calorie||A 100g serving of cooked lupin beans provides 119 calories and 3g of fats. This means lupin beans contain moderate amounts of calories and fats and do not fit in low-fat and low-calorie diets. However, research has found that replacing meat-based meals with lupin beans can aid weight management (15).|
|Low Carb||Most low-carb diets limit daily carbohydrate intake down to 20 to 60g of carbohydrates a day. Since 100g of cooked lupin beans provide 10g of carbohydrates, these legumes can be added to a low-carb diet, but only in small amounts and with care.|
|Anti Inflammatory||Lupin beans have been researched to possess anti-inflammatory qualities; therefore, they can be recommended as a healthy addition to the anti-inflammatory diet (16).|
|BRAT||Legumes, such as lupins, are high in dietary fiber and can worsen diarrhea in sensitive individuals (17). Therefore, lupin beans should be avoided on a BRAT diet.|
The earliest found records of the utilization of lupin beans come from ancient Egypt, dating back to the 22nd century BC. Domesticated lupin beans were found in the tombs of Egyptian Pharaohs from the Twelfth Dynasty (19).
The Lupinus mutabilis variety of lupin beans was domesticated by pre-Incan civilizations in the land of modern-day Peru. Historians have found rock imprints of the seeds of this variety dating back to the 6th or 7th century BC (19).
White lupin is the longest known crop species in the history of the genus Lupinus – it was known among Aegean farmers for at least 400 years BC. Until the beginning of the 19th century in Europe – in the Mediterranean Sea region it was the most often cultivated lupin species for green manure and for seeds, which were used in animal and human nutrition (14).
The high alkaloid content makes wild lupin beans bitter and unsafe. Traditionally, lupin beans went through a very fine grinding process and were rinsed with water multiple times before consumption. This was the method commonly used in Mediterranean European and Andean countries to debitter lupin beans (18).
Lupin beans are high in protein, minerals, vitamins, and phytochemicals, but how do these nutrients affect the human organism? This section of the article will look into the health impact of lupin beans based on scientific evidence.
Various studies have demonstrated how plant-based diets, especially rich in legumes, can be beneficial to overall health, reducing the risk of developing chronic diseases (20).
Lupin beans are rich in phytochemicals, such as oligosaccharides, phenols, and alkaloids, which give these beans the potential of preventing coronary heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, as well as neurodegenerative diseases and osteoporosis (3).
The majority of phenolic compounds in lupine species are flavones, dihydroflavones, phenolic acids, and isoflavones (3).
While high alkaloid levels can be poisonous, some alkaloids can have a beneficial impact on health. Sparteine, for instance, is used in the treatment of cardiac arrhythmias and induces uterine contractions. In addition, it has been shown to have depressant effects on the central nervous system and hypotensive, diuretic, and anti-inflammatory activities. Similarly, lupanine, 13-hydroxylupanine, and multifluorine have pharmacological activities as anticonvulsant, antipyretic, and hypoglycemic agents (3).
Blood Pressure and Weight Loss
Research has shown that a higher protein and dietary fiber lupin-enriched diet does not significantly influence body weight, body fat, fasting total cholesterol, and glucose concentrations. However, the lupin-enriched diet resulted in significantly lower insulin concentrations and lower blood pressure (21).
This means that while lupin beans may not help lower glucose or total cholesterol levels, these legumes can be recommended to people suffering from high blood pressure.
An increased lupin bean intake can also reduce appetite and energy intake by increasing satiety (21).
Protein isolates of the Lupinus albus beans have been reported to have hypolipidemic, anti-atherosclerotic, and hypocholesterolemia effects in rabbits, rats, and chickens and were shown to increase low-density lipoprotein receptor activity in hepatic cells (3).
Several clinical human studies have also shown that incorporating 25g of lupine protein into different foods decreases total low-density lipoprotein and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, as well as triglycerides and uric acid, in hypercholesterolemic subjects (3).
The Lupinus albus beans have a favorable lipid profile as their composition and omega-6 to omega-3 ratio is similar to the dietary recommendations for preventing cardiovascular diseases (3).
Animal studies have shown that lupin proteins can reduce calcification in atherosclerotic lesions and have a protective effect against atherosclerosis (4).
A protein found in lupin beans, called γ-conglutin, has been found to be useful in the control of glycemia by enhancing the activity of insulin and metformin in cell glucose consumption (22).
Various studies have concluded that lupin bean proteins possess abilities to decrease blood plasma glucose (4).
Significantly lower levels of insulin concentrations after a lupin-enriched diet indicate that even among non-diabetic individuals with normal blood glucose levels, lupin flour-enriched foods may improve insulin sensitivity in overweight individuals when combined with weight loss (21).
Lupin-enriched biscuits have also been researched to potentially improve glycemic control and satiety in hospitalized patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus, possibly contributing to reduced length of stay (23).
Most of the bioactive oligosaccharides found within lupin beans are α-galactosides belonging to the raffinose family. The raffinose family of oligosaccharides consists of indigestible carbohydrates in the intestinal tract. They are fermented in the colon and selectively stimulate the establishment and development of beneficial bacteria, such as Bifidobacterium. These bacteria have beneficial effects on the host’s health, including improvement in mineral absorption, modulation of lipid levels, reduction of colon cancer risk, influence on glucose levels, reduction and prevention of intestinal infections, and stimulation of the immune system (3).
High intake of dietary fiber has been extensively researched to help reduce constipation and, therefore, the risk of colorectal cancer.
Due to high dietary fiber and phytochemical contents, lupin beans have potential anticancer qualities, especially against colorectal cancer.
Animal studies have found that lupin beans may act as anticancer agents against lymphoblastic and kidney cancers. The phenolic compounds, oligosaccharides, and quinolizidine alkaloids found in lupin beans may also have antimutagenic qualities (24).
Studies have found that phytochemicals found in lupin beans, such as polyphenols, are responsible for inhibitory effects on the growth of G+ and G- bacteria. Lupin beans also possess antifungal and antiviral qualities (24).
Downsides and Risks
Despite the number of positive effects of lupin beans on health, improper use of these beans can also lead to unfavorable outcomes.
Lupin seeds are high in alkaloids called quinolizidine alkaloids. Originally the role of these alkaloids was to protect the plants against herbivorous animals. Today, there are various methods of removing these substances through the selection of genotypes or later processing. However, if bitter lupin seeds have been prepared incorrectly, their consumption can lead to alkaloid poisoning.
Lupin poisoning cases are rare due to the domestication of lupin beans, as well as the unpleasant bitter taste of poisonous lupinis.
While alkaloids have stimulating effects on the central nervous system in low doses, high levels can negatively impact the brain and the spine through inhibiting effects. Most alkaloids can cause cramps, vomiting, and in rare cases, death due to respiratory system failure. In humans, too high a dose, especially of lupanine and sparteine, may also cause trembling, arousal, and convulsions leading to blurred vision, dry mouth, nervousness, and bad mood (2).
Other symptoms of alkaline poisoning can include dizziness and confusion, tachycardia, loss of motoric coordination, and cardiac arrest.
In most countries, including France, Great Britain, Australia, and New Zealand, the maximum allowed alkaloid content in lupin or lupin-derived products is 200mg/kg. In Australia and New Zealand, an acceptable alkaloid dose for human consumption is up to 0.035 mg/kg per day (2).
As a precaution, it is recommended that bitter-tasting lupin beans are not consumed, and the bitter water used for soaking the lupin beans is appropriately discarded.
With the spread of lupin bean consumption, lupin allergy is becoming more common across the world. As lupin beans are from the same family as legumes and peanuts, people with a peanut or legume allergy should be cautious of consuming lupin or lupin-derived products.
Like most food allergies, a lupin allergy can also develop over time, later in life.
Lupin-derived ingredients can often be found in gluten-free flour products.
Symptoms of lupin bean allergy can vary from coughing, sneezing, shortness of breath, dizziness, vomiting, and diarrhea, to life-threatening anaphylaxis and anaphylactic shock.
- Diet Review: Ketogenic Diet for Weight Loss
- Patterson, D.S. (1998) Composition and Food Uses of Lupins
Important nutritional characteristics for Lupin Bean
Mineral chart - relative view
Vitamin chart - relative view
Fiber content ratio for Lupin Bean
All nutrients for Lupin Bean per 100g
|Nutrient||DV%||In TOP % of foods||Value||Comparison|
|Net carbs||N/A||30%||21.47g||2.5 times less than Chocolate|
|Protein||86%||1%||36.17g||12.8 times more than Broccoli|
|Fats||15%||35%||9.74g||3.4 times less than Cheese|
|Carbs||13%||24%||40.37g||1.4 times more than Rice|
|Calories||19%||19%||371kcal||7.9 times more than Orange|
|Fiber||76%||8%||18.9g||7.9 times more than Orange|
|Calcium||18%||13%||176mg||1.4 times more than Milk|
|Iron||55%||12%||4.36mg||1.7 times more than Beef|
|Magnesium||47%||11%||198mg||1.4 times more than Almond|
|Phosphorus||63%||11%||440mg||2.4 times more than Chicken meat|
|Potassium||30%||7%||1013mg||6.9 times more than Cucumber|
|Sodium||1%||83%||15mg||32.7 times less than White Bread|
|Zinc||43%||20%||4.75mg||1.3 times less than Beef|
|Copper||114%||17%||1.02mg||7.2 times more than Shiitake|
|Vitamin C||5%||30%||4.8mg||11 times less than Lemon|
|Vitamin B1||53%||14%||0.64mg||2.4 times more than Pea|
|Vitamin B2||17%||41%||0.22mg||1.7 times more than Avocado|
|Vitamin B3||14%||57%||2.19mg||4.4 times less than Turkey meat|
|Vitamin B5||15%||44%||0.75mg||1.5 times less than Sunflower seed|
|Vitamin B6||27%||35%||0.36mg||3 times more than Oat|
|Folate||89%||17%||355µg||5.8 times more than Brussels sprout|
|Tryptophan||0%||51%||0.29mg||1.1 times less than Chicken meat|
|Threonine||0%||45%||1.33mg||1.8 times more than Beef|
|Isoleucine||0%||42%||1.62mg||1.8 times more than Salmon|
|Leucine||0%||43%||2.74mg||1.1 times more than Tuna|
|Lysine||0%||57%||1.93mg||4.3 times more than Tofu|
|Methionine||0%||73%||0.26mg||2.7 times more than Quinoa|
|Phenylalanine||0%||42%||1.44mg||2.1 times more than Egg|
|Valine||0%||45%||1.51mg||1.3 times less than Soybean|
|Histidine||0%||46%||1.03mg||1.4 times more than Turkey meat|
|Saturated Fat||6%||58%||1.16g||5.1 times less than Beef|
|Monounsaturated Fat||N/A||37%||3.94g||2.5 times less than Avocado|
|Polyunsaturated fat||N/A||28%||2.44g||19.3 times less than Walnut|
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NUTRITION FACTS LABEL
Serving Size ______________
Lupin Bean nutrition infographic
The source of all the nutrient values on the page (excluding the main article and glycemic index text the sources for which are presented separately if present) is the USDA's FoodCentral. The exact link to the food presented on this page can be found below.