Super fiber bean? 32g per cup?
September 11, 2008 12:36 PM   Subscribe

"Small Red Beans". Do these really have 16g of fiber per 1/2 cup serving? I've seen them under the Goya, Iberia, and Wal-mart brands, all of them having 60 calories per 1/2 cup, with 16 grams of fiber. This is significantly more than every other type of bean.

I found an example here.

However, here is another one that seems to be the same thing, "small red beans", but with drastically different nutritional content.

Someone please shed some light on this discrepancy!!!
posted by mhuckaba to Food & Drink (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Search here.
posted by Science! at 12:51 PM on September 11, 2008

"Red bean" is sort of disambiguous and the smaller the bean the more fiber it has (the fiber is in the skin so with less meat/skin ratio you get more fiber).

My guess is that the Mi Casa ones are some small variety of Kidney beans whereas the normal "small red bean" are Adzuki.
posted by wolfkult at 12:57 PM on September 11, 2008

Umm. Now I'm thinking you're confusing total carbs with fiber.
posted by Science! at 12:57 PM on September 11, 2008

No. I'm wrong sorry.
posted by Science! at 12:58 PM on September 11, 2008

No, the Goya small red beans are not adzuki beans--they're labeled as "frijoles rojos pequenos" which means they're Phaseolus vulgaris.

I'm wondering if this is an error in the USDA nutrition tables that's been perpetuated from packager to packager?
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:12 PM on September 11, 2008

Well, your first link (the daily plate) HAS to have the wrong nutritional information. There are 4 calories per gram of carbohydrates, and 4 calories per gram of protein. With 22g of carbs and 7 g protein, that's 116 calories right there, not 60 as the label claims. So I wouldn't be surprised if the fiber number was inaccurate too. At least the math in the Mi Casa beans adds up approximately.
posted by Bella Sebastian at 3:50 PM on September 11, 2008

Fiber counts as a carb, and insoluble fiber has no calories.
posted by gjc at 4:16 PM on September 11, 2008

Short answer: gjc has it.

Long answer: Manufacturers are legally allowed to use one of five methods for calculating caloric content on food labels, and as you see they may result in significantly different values. (Let's not even mention the possible effects of rounding rules.) For the gory details, see the Code of Federal Regulations, section 101.9(c)(1)(i).
posted by celkins at 4:51 PM on September 11, 2008

Eh, those nutritional labels are all effed up. One says:

Est. Percent of Calories from:
Fat 0.0% Carbs 146.7%
Protein 46.7%

The total percentage of calories from fat, carbs, and protein should add up to 100%. Which isn't possible when calories from carbs is 146%. I would look somewhere else for nutritional information.

And yes, the smaller the bean, the more skin, and therefore more fiber.
posted by oneirodynia at 4:55 PM on September 11, 2008

how does a smaller bean have more skin? I realize a larger bean has more meat, but is not the skin that covers that meat equal, in ratio, to that on the smaller bean? In a 1/2 cup of beans would not the amount of skin be more or less the same?
posted by dawson at 7:51 PM on September 11, 2008

Response by poster: So we've got no real answer then? The value just may be screwed up?
posted by mhuckaba at 8:43 PM on September 11, 2008

>how does a smaller bean have more skin?

In a sphere, this is quite easily provable. In non silly-shaped things you may need to work harder to work it out, but something generally spheroid will have a higher skin:meat ratio the smaller it gets.

Also, I suspect wolfkult means "ambiguous" where they've written "disambiguous".

Of course, as to the question, I have no idea. I only came in here to learn...
posted by pompomtom at 8:44 PM on September 11, 2008

mhuckaba , I also have no idea and didn't mean to throw yr question off track. That just kinda flummoxed me. And I thought there were at least two good answers above, but perhaps I misunderstand the question.
Thanks pompomtom, I accept your reply, but am no closer to understanding why it is so. Anyway, this is muhuckaba's baby.
posted by dawson at 9:11 PM on September 11, 2008

Thanks pompomtom, I accept your reply, but am no closer to understanding why it is so.

Start by working out the edge:area ratio on a (regular) triangle, then a square, then a (regular) pentagram. See the trend, which will lead you eventually to a circle.

Now do the same in 3d (or, like, don't, but just imply... it's much easier).
posted by pompomtom at 10:29 PM on September 11, 2008

Actually, that's a crap explanation. Ignore me.

It's true, honest!
posted by pompomtom at 10:30 PM on September 11, 2008

For what it's worth, I have before me a can of Eden Organics' "Small Red Beans." They're nutritionally similar to the Mi Casas (but zomfg, so much less sodium!). The label claims that they're "a popular member of the kidney bean family [...] but smaller and more rounded."
posted by mumkin at 10:50 PM on September 11, 2008

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