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Black Beans vs Pinto Beans – Which Is Healthier?

black beans vs pinto beans

My family and I all love Chipotle, but my kids realllly love Chipotle. So much so, that we tend to go once a week, usually on Wednesday, for dinner.

It’s become kind of a ritual that the kids look forward to.

And if I’m being completely honest, I tend to look forward to it as well.

Anyway, you may’ve noticed there’s been a bit of a shortage of some foods lately, both in grocery stores and restaurants.

Foods we used to take for granted would always be in stock, like cream cheese or Pringles, have all of a sudden become harder to find.

Well, apparently Chipotle is having the same issue with their black beans.

The last few times we’ve gone to Chipotle we’ve had to decide between pinto beans or no beans because black beans weren’t an option.

And my kids and I have always been a strictly black beans when it comes to our burritos, tacos, or bowls.

My kids eat black beans out of habit. I like beans of all varieties, but have always gone with black beans because I thought they were healthier.

Now that I’m having to go with pinto beans (that are just as delicious, maybe more so actually), it got me thinking if black beans really are any healthier than pinto beans.

Well, I did a little research for myself, so I figured I’d share my results.

Black Beans vs Pinto Beans – Which Is Healthier?

Before we dive into the comparison between these 2 types of beans, we should probably talk a little about what it means to be “healthier”.

I think we’re probably all more or less on the same page that being low in calories, low in fat, and high in protein would all constitute being healthy.

But there’s also things like minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants to consider.

As we compare black beans to pinto beans, I think it’s a good idea to be aware of this other nutritional info too.

Also, these beans should be prepared the same way for a fair comparison, so the below numbers are for beans that have been simply boiled – no seasonings or anything else added.

Ok, let’s start with a few stats for black beans.

P.S. – according to WebMD, a proper serving size for beans is half a cup, so there ya go. 

And all nutritional data is according to the USDA for boiled, unsalted beans…

Nutritional Stats For 1/2 Cup of Black Beans

  • Calories: 114
  • Fat: 0.46 g
  • Protein: 7.62 g
  • Carbs: 20.4 g
  • Fiber: 7.5 g
  • Calcium: 23.2 mg
  • Iron: 1.8 mg
  • Magnesium: 60 mg
  • Phosphorus: 120 mg
  • Sodium: 0.85 mg
  • Zinc: 0.96 mg
  • Folate: 128 mcg
  • Vitamin K: 2.8 mg

There’s other stuff in there too, but that’s most of the important stuff.

Although black beans are are full of several other antioxidants as well, which are responsible for protecting our cells from free radicals, which in turn helps protect us from many diseases.

Ok, and let’s see how pinto beans stack up…

Nutritional Stats For 1/2 Cup of Pinto Beans

  • Calories: 123
  • Fat: 0.55 g
  • Protein: 7.52 g
  • Carbs: 22.4 g
  • Fiber: 7.7 g
  • Calcium: 39.35 mg
  • Iron: 1.79 mg
  • Magnesium: 42.75 mg
  • Phosphorus: 125 mg
  • Sodium: 0.86 mg
  • Zinc: 0.84 mg
  • Folate: 147 mcg
  • Vitamin K: 2.99 mg

Again, pinto beans also have a bunch of other minerals and vitamins in ’em too, but I got tired of writing.

So Which Is Better?

Ok, so the first thing that’s really noticeable to me when comparing these 2 lists is that black beans and pinto beans are very similar in terms of nutritional content.

If we’re being very strict, then black beans are slightly lower calorie, slightly lower fat, and just a smidgen higher protein.

Black beans also contain a few fewer total carbs than pinto beans.

But pinto beans actually come out on top when it comes to some of the other nutrients, like fiber, calcium, phosphorus, folate, and Vitamin K.

Based on the macronutrients most of us are most concerned with, I would say that black beans are just a little healthier than pinto beans.

But realistically speaking, the differences are pretty negligible.

I mean we’re talking a difference of 9 calories and less than 0.1 grams of fat per serving here.

And most of the other differences in nutritional data mentioned above are just as small.

My take away from this brief comparison is that both beans are basically equally as healthy.

Like pretty much all beans, pinto and black beans are both very nutritious. They’re both low cal, low fat, high fiber foods that provide a great source of protein.

And, for the folks out there that have to keep an eye on their blood sugar levels, both beans are considered complex carbohydrates – meaning they breakdown and release their sugars slowly over time, instead of rapidly elevating your blood sugar level like simple carbs do.

When choosing between pinto and black beans, I say go with what you prefer in terms of taste because these beans are very evenly matched in terms of nutrition.

Or in my case, I won’t feel bad opting for Chipotle’s pinto beans while we wait for the black beans to be available again.

And now that I know there isn’t much difference nutritionally, I’ll be choosing pinto beans more often even when black beans are around (because I think they taste better anyway).



Will's a licensed physical therapist (DPT) with over 15 years of experience treating patients from all backgrounds. He's been lifting weights and exercising in one form or another since middle school and has been working out in his own home gym for over a decade. When it comes to fitness equipment, there isn't much he hasn't tried. In his spare time, if he isn't writing or working out, he's likely playing basketball, watching movies, or hanging with his family.

2 thoughts on “Black Beans vs Pinto Beans – Which Is Healthier?”

  1. I agree with you! They don’t differ that much. Pinto beans definitely tastes betters! However, if you’re on diet or desire weight loss then one should go for black beans instead!

    1. It’s funny, I love the flavor of both kinds of bean, but I switch between which one I prefer depending on my mood – some days I like pinto better, others I like black beans better. Thanks for the tip on using black beans for weight loss and thanks for reading!

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