Seriously guys, BEANS!?!?!?!

My mother is a fan of beans. You name it, she has tried it. Chickpea, Kidney, Padama, Pink beans, Black beans etc. Ever since her Diabetes got relatively worse since the last 6 months, she completely stopped eating it( she actually stopped eating a lot of things due to fearing her sugar would sky rocket). Fast fwd, 6 months later…she is able to eat a lot more with the help of Humalog. However, something very strange occurred over the weekend. We are south east asian, ethnicity wise…so beans are incorporated into our dishes a lot. This past week, I cooked a couple of things which were a bit high on the bean side and I noticed even with Humalog, her readings were very high. At first I thought it was the bolus amount- but then I tried a unit higher- same thing. Her sugar was still high. I am aware that protein tends to make readings spike which is why I gave her extra doses yet it didn’t work. Then I tried a different kind of bean( black bean)- same thing. I’m really not crazy lol but rather curious and tried another different kind- and unbelievable, still high!!!. I later tried a few meals without beans and TA’DA, humalog was able to bring her back down within an hr( Thank God). I am a bit surprised, given beans consist of abt 7+ grams of fiber…that Humalog was not able to cover these meals. Very surprised, who knew!? I guess beans are completely out of the picture now!


Tinsyl, maybe I’m wrong, but I always thought beans were carbohydrates? Like, Pea Soup is not allowed on the high-protein Atkins diet because of its carb count.

I’d like to know more, too!


Beans ARE primarily starch, i.e., carbohydrate. If anyone is telling you otherwise, they are being . . . disingenuous.


Mmm…Okay. Good question…

Answers simply must be varied and probably will all reduce to Test a Lot as you Experiment a Lot…Because we are all so different…

I am not on meds yet or insulin dependent—which could happen tomorrow, given the diabolical whimsey of this scourge…

BUT—It took me 10 years and the help of my husband to figure out that a quarter cup or so of Black beans or a quarter cup of dark, rich Thai Purple Rice would not give me one of those nasty spikes that is, perhaps, most damaging to us…

I can’t bolus yet for anything, so this is important for me. As I went gradually to only 25-30 carbs/day, I hated giving up my piles of rice for stir-fries in particular. However, a decade down the road that is keeping me at least okay through thick and thin, my tastes and carb needs have shifted so that just a small portion of these really rich, dark, dense rice or beans is very satisfying…

Probably a lot more musings than you need. That’s where my brain is at the moment…

Blessings of the universe to you…Test a lot. Eat to your meter. It is the very best we can do…Judith in Portland…


Beans are high in carbs (20 grams of carbs to be exact) and 7 grams of fiber so the actual carb count would be 13 grams of carbs. My mother has eaten other things which which higher in carbs and humalog was able to bring her down within an hour. With beans, she was still high even after 4-7 hours.

Yes they are, but my mother has eaten other starchy foods and yet her sugar is fine after an hour. Surprisingly, her Endo told her you can eat beans again as long as you cover them with Humalog. Humalog wasn’t even strong enough for it. Never never never again!

Wow, 10 years! That is a very long time. I honestly do think, I do not want her to have beans ever again. I feel so bad for her, black bean salad is her absolute favorite but I guess not anymore lol. I will reduce the amount of carbs she eats daily once she starts gaining some healthy weight. She is currently 100( lost a lot of weight from Diabetes). Thank you, blessings of the universe to you as well!

I was always taught that if the fiber is 5g or higher, it can be subtracted from the carb count, but not 1 to 1. My dietitian told me I should take the fiber count and halve it, then subtract it from the carbs. So, in your example;

20g of carbs-(7/2)= 20g-3.5gfiber=16.5g grams carbs

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Actually an issue with beans is that they can be a complex carb with a relatively low glycemic index. This means that while every carb still counts, those carbs may be digested more slowly. Perhaps over 3-4 hours rather than the 1-2 hours with a simple sugar. Your mothers Humalog may simply be missing the blood sugar rise from the beans which may only really be kicking in at 2 hours.

What you might try is splitting the mealtime dose of insulin, half at mealtime and half afterwards. Or even take the dose a half hour or hour after the meal.


Interesting, I was actually taught if the fiber is 5g+, then to deduct it from the # of carbs, which would be 13 but clearly that wasn’t the case since her reading was so high. I learned that a decade ago in High School! Very upsetting. Your Dietitian may be on to something, I wasn’t aware that I would need to half the fiber count. Will definitely take that into consideration BIG time next time. Thanks!

For example, she had her lunch around 12pm( pre lunch reading 102), her reading at 2:45 was 2:10, 4:30 was 315 and then at 5:30, 330 and at 6 it was 338. Insane. Initially, I thought okay…I’ll give it some time but this was 6 hours later. By the time it was 6 pm, I gave her an early dinner and I was able to give her the Bolus dose, which brought her back to 130, an hr and half after. But, the splitting of the insulin dose actually sounds like a good idea and just makes more sense in the event if she is to consume complex carbs with a low glycemix index again. There is so much to learn about Diabetes. Had I known abt this method before, it would have saved me a huge amount of tension! Thank you so so much!

And do remember that everyone is different. You can count carbs, but everyone reacts differently. Your mother may be sensitive to certain foods and they may cause an inordinate blood sugar rise. Many of us have found that an “experiment” works best in figuring out dosing. Eat a known fixed serving of a food, try a bolus. Then adjust the size and timing of the bolus to match the food. I (like many others) have common meals. I don’t count the carbs but over time I’ve figured out how much insulin to take and when and get pretty good results.

ps. David Mendosa has found that Channa Dal is very low glycemic index and almost doesn’t affect his blood sugar (he is not on insulin tho). You might give it a try.


It is very very easy to underestimate the number of carbs in heavy bean dishes.

You act surprised that 1 unit of Humalog wasn’t enough. 1 unit of Humalog is not very much!

You act surprised that it didn’t depend much on the kind of beans. That’s because they are mostly all carbs no matter what they are!

I have completely and utterly failed to dose properly to cover the carbs every time I tried Indian restaurant food (very heavy in beans). I’ve just given up on it.


Thanks for sharing Tinsyl. It is frustrating when certain foods prove problematic.
For me, beans form part of my daily diet with no resulting problems.
My breakfast includes 1/2 C of black or pinto beans (along w/ eggs cooked with veggies). I usually have a big salad for lunch & often add 1/2 cup garbanzos.
FOR ME, beans are a low glycemic, nutrient rich, complex carb that does not spike my blood sugar. I find it sating. I would much rather eat a small serving of beans than the ersatz low carb bread.


I’m curious as to why you aren’t giving correction doses in between meals? I may have missed something in your posts, but are you giving rapid-acting insulin only before meals? You can correct without “stacking” insulin if you account for IOB (insulin on board). Whenever my daughter goes above 100, I correct (repeatedly if necessary, accounting for IOB) until she is 100 or under. Eating with an already existing BG of over 120 is asking for trouble…

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I have a few thoughts about beans. I like them, too, but need to adjust my insulin dose to account for slower digestion due to their fiber content. First of all, I limit beans to 1/2 cup. More than that makes glucose control a problem for me. I use a pump and deliver an extended bolus to metabolize protein and foods like beans. My extended bolus usually covers 2-4 hours. You may extend your meal bolus by delivering a second injection at meal-time or even up to an hour after.

Do you use a pre-bolus time to allow your insulin a chance to match your food profile? You can learn a good pre-bolus time with personal experimentation. My pre-bolus time for breakfast is about 60 minutes and 30 minutes for dinner. Pre-bolusing is a powerful technique but does require some discipline. You can use a phone alarm to remind you when it’s time to eat.

Good luck! A little personal experimentation can go a long way toward success.


Well, yes- I am surprised because I am new to Diabetes/ specifically the whole carb counting method for bolusing before meals. I am still learning, just like everyone else is. If I knew all there was to Diabetes, then I definitely would not have been on this site. I am more so nervous with all of this because she experienced a Hypo episode last week and ended up in the ER from being given a correction dose, which is why I didn’t do that with the beans. I would also like to add that, she does eat diff kind of carbs throughout the day. Not a large amount but in moderation and her readings stabilize after an hr.

Also, my apologies if I didn’t clarify myself enough- but what I had mentioned by 1 more unit of Humalog was…for example
she ate a early lunch ( Mixed bean salad was not even that much, actually the beans were the only carbs part of her meal), so I gave her 5 units ; within 6 hours- her levels were just increasing +. So then after the 6 hours were over, she had dinner and so I increased the unit and gave her 6 units…still same thing. I haven’t given my mother over 6 units( majority of the time, it is 4-6)- so I was a bit afraid to give her 7. At this point, I too will have to give up on beans just like you did. It just is not worth it!

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Surprisingly Channa Dal was one of them. You’re absolutely right about everyone reacting differently. My aunt is on insulin as well, and she can eat different kind of beans without any harm done to her readings. I am just so scared of giving her a higher bolus than usual for certain foods and then having her end up in hypo again.

Well, I hope you’re sitting down for this . . . :wink:

Nobody knows all there is to diabetes. It’s a perpetually moving target. Welcome to the club no one asks to join; as someone said back in the dim mists of time, we’re all in this together.


I agree that hypoglycemia is scary but I don’t think it should be avoided at all costs. Since you give insulin to your mother, she will encounter hypoglycemia, not if, when. It’s the nature of delivering insulin to control diabetes. There’s no getting around it. Unfortunately, the hypoglycemia range is right next to the most healthy range for blood glucose. If you seek to spend any time at all in this good BG range, you must accept some level of risk for hypoglycemia.

Insulin is the most powerful tool we use and it allows us to live with an inoperative pancreas. It has a downside, however, in that no insulin protocol can control blood sugar reasonably well and totally eliminate hypoglycemia. I feel that it may be generating more fear than needed from your perspective.

Learning how to deal pragmatically with hypoglycemia is an integral part of the dosing insulin skill-set. There are many things to help reduce the risk of hypoglycemia. Frequent monitoring with a fingerstick is a great tool. Using a Continuous glucose monitor (CGM) is even better. You may notice a time of day pattern for hypos and then take preventive measures.

I think due respect for hypoglycemia is healthy but an over-powering fear is not good to live with. It’ll often cause people to choose to leave blood sugar in the 200 + mg/dl range for extended periods. While that takes away the acute risk of hypoglycemia, it needlessly boosts your mother to a much higher risk of secondary complications. These include many complications that can seriously erode quality of life.

Watch BGs carefully and always keep fast acting glucose handy. This is a tricky disease to manage but it can be done. I know this is not an easy thing for you to manage but I’m hoping to bring some balance to your perception of hypos.