Brown Lentils vs Green Lentils: Which is Healthier?


In terms of taste, cost, and cooking time, brown lentils and green lentils are almost identical.

And obviously they’re similar in terms of nutrition as well, but not exactly the same.

I’ll compare the macros and most important nutrients in both types of lentils so we can see which one is best (if any).

Brown vs Green Lentils: Macro Comparison

Unfortunately, it’s hard to find any detailed nutritional data online about brown and green lentils specifically (versus just lentils in general). 

I searched all the regular food databases I use, and there’s nothing great.

So, this is a limited comparison, and I’ll use data based on the green and brown lentils that I buy (pictured below).

brown and green lentils

Let’s start with the macros:

 Brown LentilsGreen Lentils
Serving size1/2 cup (100 g)1/2 cup (100 g)
Fat1.5 g1 g
Carbohydrates61 g60 g
Fiber27 g31 g
Protein24 g 26 g

The only real differences are that green lentils have an extra few grams of fiber and protein.

So while they have essentially the same macros, green lentils are slightly healthier here.

Vitamins and Minerals in Brown and Green Lentils

Unfortunately, nutritional labels on packaged foods aren’t usually very detailed.

In this case, my package of brown lentils omitted a few minerals that I’m sure are in the lentils themselves.

But, here’s the data we have for now:

 Brown LentilsGreen Lentils
Serving size1/2 cup (100 g)1/2 cup (100 g)
Vitamin C2% DV8% DV
Calcium4% DV6% DV
Iron50% DV50% DV
MagnesiumN/A50% DV
PotassiumN/A27% DV

Green lentils have more vitamin C and calcium, although not by a huge amount. 

You typically eat lentils more for the other minerals like iron anyways.

Both brown and lentils both have the same amount of iron, and while we’re missing the data and can’t make any conclusions, they probably have about the same amount of magnesium and potassium as well.

Which is Best? Brown or Green Lentils?

Without detailed data available, it’s hard to make any definitive conclusions.

However, it’s clear that there are no major differences between the two, so eat the ones you like best. I drew a similar takeaway for brown lentils vs red lentils.

If you’re really trying to maximize fiber or protein, green lentils will give you a bit more of those.

You may also want to take a look at my comparison of lentils vs beans, where there are some significant differences that may affect your dietary choices.

About the author

Dale Cudmore

Your friendly neighborhood vegan from Toronto. Chemical engineer turned semi-professional soccer player and freelance nutrition writer. I've been vegan for years and try to make life easier for others by sharing what I've learned.

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