Are Baked Beans Good For You?

By Luke Daley RNutr, MSc from Daley Nutrition 279,917 views

Are baked beans good for you overview

We commonly get asked by the public when running nutrition workshops if baked beans are actually good for our health?.  The answer isn’t a simple yes or no answer unfortunately, there are a few factors to address, as not all baked bean tins are the same.

Research shows that the navy bean used in baked bean tins are full of macro-nutrients (plant-based protein, dietary fibre) and micro-nutrients (little but powerful nutrients such as potassium & iron). They are also a slow releasing energy food and great for people with diabetes due to their low glycemic index.  However over the years more salt and sugar has crept into these tins.

In this post, we have included all the common questions we get asked about baked beans and created a conclusion on their health benefits:

  1. Are baked beans high in salt and sugar?
  2. Are baked beans fattening?
  3. Do you know a homemade recipe?
  4. How to read a baked bean tin label.
  5. Why does eating baked beans give me gas?
  6. Which are better Aussie Baked Beans or UK Baked Beans?

1. Are Baked Beans high in Salt & Sugar?

Salt (sodium): The average serve of baked beans (1 cup=150g) can contain up to 1100mg of sodium (2.8g of salt)! Nearly 50% our daily sodium allowance. Our advice as Nutritionist is to go for the no added salt versions that contain no salt (sodium) which will not affect your blood pressure. A ‘no added salt/sodium’ baked beans tin will cost a little more than your average tin, but your kidneys and your vascular system will thank you someday.

Sugar: An average serve (1 cup=150g) of baked beans can have up to 15g of added sugar, which is 3 teaspoons of sugar and a moderately high amount. According to the World Health Organisation we should ideally stay under 25g of sugar per day to stay healthy.  However some baked beans tins are a lot lower than this, so reading the label is crutial.

2. Are Baked Beans Fattening? 

Technically no, not if you are buying the no added salt and reduced sugar versions.  Baked beans actually contain a lot of fibre and plant-based protein which research has shown us to be beneficial at making us feel fuller for longer, preventing mindless snacking.  However, if you are consuming the average baked bean tin which has more than 4g of added sugar per 100g or consuming the ham versions or sausage or curry flavoured versions then be prepared for some extra empty calories.  Further down this blog page we have included our star rating reviews for all the different Heinz baked beans products.

3. Do you know a homemade recipe?? 

Due to public demand, we have posted a homemade baked beans recipe up on our blog, the recipe can be found here.  This recipe is relatively quick to make, but the cannellini beans need to be soaked the night before cooking.  The recipe costs $0.70 to make, which saves you nearly $2 dollars compared the Heinz baked beans versions.

4. Baked beans label reading

Here is a video on how to read the label of a baked beans tin, including details on what to look out for and how to find the best versions in your local supermarket.

Nutrition Information for Baked Beans

The below info is according to NUTTAB 2010 per 100g:

  • High fibre: (5.2g per 100g) – helps to reduce bad LDL cholesterol and fills you up
  • Low fat: (0.3g per 100g) – (good if you are on a weight loss plan)
  • Good protein source: (4.9g per 100g) (when mixed with toast it can make a complete protein meal)
  • Lycopenes: (470 micrograms per 100g) – known to reduce the risk of certain cancers such as prostate cancer
  • Folate: (50 micrograms) – helps with maintaining healthy DNA
  • Iron: (0.95mg per 100g) – required for energy production and healthy red blood cells
  • Magnesium: (25mg per 100g) – aids muscle contraction, sleep patterns & 100 other reactions in the body
  • Potassium: (238mg per 100g) – helps with muscle contractions, especially the heart and aids growth

are baked beans good for you?

3. Why does eating Baked Bean cause gas?

Baked beans offer a variety of nutritional benefits, one of these benefits comes from fibre in particular soluble fibre. This source of fibre is what causes flatulence (fart response).  The reason behind this is due to our gut flora (bacteria) breaking down the fibre in the beans. If you can deal with the extra gas, then baked beans actually can promote a healthy gut. One type of fibre we get in baked beans is called inulin which works as a prebiotic to feed good bacteria and benefit our health.

This good bacteria break down the soluble fibre (mainly oligosaccharides) and as a by-product produces hydrogen, nitrogen and Carbon dioxide (CO2), which causes flatulence (farting). This causes no health issues unless you have issues with your gut bacteria. If you are making your own baked beans from scratch it is advised to soak them first. Soaking them helps with the digestive process of the beans and reduces the amount of gas produced, this goes for all dried beans and legumes.

4. Are baked beans good for you in the UK & AUS?

In the UK there are versions of Heinz Baked beans that we don’t get here in Australia. On our infographic page we have posted a chart comparing the different tin types incluidng our star rating review which an be found here.

HEINZ BAKED BEANS – No added salt tin (4 stars)    

HEINZ – no added salt version is the number 1 version in Australia with it’s low sodium levels.

  • 380kj of energy (92kcal)
  • 10mg of sodium
  • 4.4 g of sugar per 100g
  • 1.1.g of fat
  • 13.7g of carbohydrates
  • 5.3g of fibre
  • 1.3g of iron


HEINZ BAKED BEANS – Salt reduced tin (3.5 stars)   

are baked beans good for you?HEINZ – salt reduced versions tend to be 30-40% of a sodium reduction, which isn’t a large drop in sodium but better than the original version.

  • 380 kj of energy (92kcal)
  • 240mg of sodium
  • 4.4 g of sugar per 100g
  • 0.5.g of fat
  • 13.7g of carbohydrates
  • 5.4g of fibre
  • 1.3g of iron


HEINZ BAKED BEANS – Original classic tin (3 stars)    

Are baked beans good for you?HEINZ – original tin, is the tin that has been used as the leading baked bean tin by Heinz, the recipe hasn’t changed much over the years.

  • 380 kj of energy (92kcal)
  • 360mg of sodium
  • 4.4 g of sugar per 100g
  • 0.5 g of fat
  • 13.7g of carbohydrates
  • 5.3g of fibre
  • 1.3g of iron


HEINZ BAKED BEANS – ‘Ham in sauce’ tin (2 stars)   

Are baked beans good for you?HEINZ – ‘ham sauce’ tin has the highest amount of sodium and sugar of any Heinz tin with 415mg, this tin should be consumed in moderation.

  • 380 kj of energy (92kcal)
  • 385mg of sodium
  • 4.4 g of sugar per 100g
  • 0.5 g of fat
  • 13.6g of carbohydrates
  • 5.4g of fibre
  • 1.3g of iron


Baked Beans History

The slogan ‘Beans Meanz Heinz’ was initiated in 1960’s and has stuck ever since. Over the past 30 years supermarkets have introduced their own cheaper baked beans and the market is anyone’s game at the moment. Baked beans are commonly seen in the traditional English brekkie, but also on toast as a great lunch or quick and easy evening meal. The iconic tin can be purchased in every country in the world, averaging $1.80 in price in Australia.  However, as food is becoming more commercialised and processed we should be asking ourself questions like ‘are baked beans good for you?’ as the tradional versions of products are fastly becoming a thing of the past.

Are Baked Beans good for a snack?

We run a lot of school nutrition workshops for kids and parents in Australia. We always get asked, “what is a healthy snack for my kids to eat?”. To be categorised as a healthy snack a snack needs to be nutritious and also fill you up without being loaded with salt and sugar and bad fat. We believe that the mini baked bean pots that Heinz now do is a great little snack for little ones to have and is a good source of fibre and protein.

Baked Beans Meal Options

Baked beans can be enjoyed hot, cold, straight from the tin, on wholemeal toast or with eggs and avocado (my favourite). They are a great addition to an English brekkie, with grilled tomato, poached eggs, mushroom and grilled bacon (on a Saturday morning). They are cheap, very versatile and store for months. We called them our ‘back up meal’ when our food stores are running low.

are baked beans good for you?


Are baked beans good for you?
Posted by Luke Daley, Registered Nutritionist, Msc, BSc (Hons)
Director and Founder of Daley Nutrition

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Daley Nutrition is a community nutrition team based in Melbourne Victoria, we run a range of nutrition based programs such as school nutrition workshops and cooking demonstrations in Australia to raise people’s awareness of what they are eating and empower them to change certain eating habits.

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