According to my nurse, I’ve been something of an interesting eater, since a large number of her patients don’t try the kinds of things I do, or eat the things I eat. With unusual (for American) items in my diet such as bok choy and edamame, I’m trying to slowly puzzle through how to take these  foods and turn them into something my nutritional assistance can use and understand. We’ll start with edamame, because soybeans are all over the place in Asian cuisines, and because I’ve been eating quite a few of them. NutritionData.com gives a nutrition breakdown of edamame that looks like this (the serving size in this example is 1 cup of edamame):

It’s about 16 grams of carbs, and that places it squarely in the “carb” category. A lot of things that don’t initially make sense end up in the “carb” category, including milk. Beans in general are considered carbs, though carbs with various additional meat exchanges.

What I’m going to talk about works best when you have an exchange calculator on hand. The Riverflag online exchange calculator is the best I’ve found so far. One match (actually the best match) is to add 2 lean meat exchanges to one carb exchange and then compare the output you get with the nutrition on the edamame label.  It’s off by a gram on the carbs and fats, dead on in protein, and matches the calories to within 1 calorie. To note, 2 lean meat exchanges are roughly equivalent to 2 ounces of lean steak, in terms of nutrition.


Various exchange diets I’ve seen have between 4 to 10 lean meat exchanges. So, the short and sweet of it is, it’s possible to replace all meat in an exchange diet with edamame alone. That bodes well for other soybean derived products, such as tofu. And being a food derived from a plant, it has no cholesterol.

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