9

votes

Most legumes are not bad?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created September 16, 2011 at 4:36 PM

Dr. Kurt Harris recently stated, in reference to edits he made on his "getting started guide":

I've deleted references to legumes other than avoiding soy and peanuts, as other legumes seem more and more benign to me.

One of the staple guidelines in the paleosphere has been avoidance of all legumes, but this statement prompts a clarification. People have long said that things like green beans were exempt from the no-legume approach, so maybe this extends further. What evidence is there, which Dr. Harris may be referring to, that most other legumes do not pose the same issues as peanuts and soy?

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on December 23, 2012
at 08:19 PM

Hummus is almost ridiculously easy to make yourself. no reason to buy it.

4e184df9c1ed38f61febc5d6cf031921

(4999)

on May 12, 2012
at 07:35 AM

After 2.5 years of avoiding ALL legumes, I've added back lentils, chickpeas and red kidney beans so far. And had no bad effects at all. And according to FitDay, it has helped raise my intake of several minerals etc that I was low on.

8496289baf18c2d3e210740614dc9082

(1867)

on May 12, 2012
at 02:16 AM

The aflatoxin often found in peanuts is from various Aspergillus spp. existing on it and attempting to ferment it. It should be noted that soy was first discovered to be palatable 5,000 years ago when the Chinese found that the moldy beans didn't cause the same digestive problems as the non-moldy beans. Contemporary science tells us that the "mold" fermenting soy are also species of Aspergillus. Further, different Aspergillus spp. cause massive pulmonary damage in immunocompromised individuals. Not all Aspergillus are the same; neither are all legumes. The devil is, in fact in, the details.

7e1433afbb06c318c4d90860d493c49d

(5959)

on May 11, 2012
at 10:53 PM

The average lifespan of our paleo ancestors was so short because they frequently died of things that people rarely die from today because they're now readily treatable. There was also a much greater tendency for people to kill each other. As I understand it, when paleo humans did make it to old age, they lived to be almost as old as old people do today.

5af4bc9d2c390b0bcad9524f149c1b4f

(1101)

on May 11, 2012
at 10:35 PM

I actually had a bean-filled taco soup my grandmother made last night and didn't notice much in the way of flatulence. I hadn't thought anything of it until now. I suppose they could be lumped in with dairy (tolerate = sure), provided you consider goals for weight loss, etc.

Medium avatar

(39821)

on September 18, 2011
at 05:47 PM

Yeah, I really love eating this way. It happens to be consistent with the accounts I've read of how HGs eat, and is thus likely consistent with our evolution, and it just feels a lot better. What you eat and do isn't as important is how you eat it and how you do it.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18452)

on September 18, 2011
at 04:09 PM

most hummus contains canola oil now. i remember checking a while back to see if any hummus qualified even with the chickpeas, and it seemed like every single one had canola right in the middle of the ingredient list.

C44bb43563e520dff542e7a39a7eb31e

(105)

on September 18, 2011
at 04:07 PM

I get the same symptoms from legumes as you do, every time I eat them. No amount of research or retractions from paleo authorities are going to change that.

24df4e0d0e7ce98963d4641fae1a60e5

on September 18, 2011
at 01:01 PM

This strategy "dings" on many levels. Food reward, hormonal handling of the macronutrient load, micronutrient maximization and genetics - as in too much in the way of "mixed meals" can get us in trouble.

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5147)

on September 18, 2011
at 03:34 AM

Well, the problem with corn and soy is the GMO. That's the case with wheat: the current wheat crop has more chromosomes thanks to GMO. The corn eaten by the Tarahumaras is what we want to eat. The soy eaten by the Okinawans is what we want.

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5147)

on September 18, 2011
at 03:30 AM

Yup, I avoid all packaged hummus because of soybean oil. They're really everywhere these days.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on September 17, 2011
at 05:40 AM

lol..............

Medium avatar

(19469)

on September 17, 2011
at 04:17 AM

I think that a synthesis is taking place. Even the theory of evolution wasn't a one-off for Darwin. Malthus contributed the idea of "natural selection", Mendel's experiments with pea plants provided the genetic link, the observance of random mutation in fruit flies, the discovery of "java man" and Australopithecus, etc. all enriched our understanding of human origins. Diet is no different, and even "Paleo" is evolving :)

Medium avatar

(19469)

on September 17, 2011
at 04:17 AM

I think that a synthesis is taking place. Even the theory of evolution wasn't a one-off for Darwin. Malthus' contributed the idea of "natural selection", Mendel's experiments with pea plants provided the genetic link, the observance of random mutation in fruit flies, the discovery of "java man" and Australopithecus, etc. all enriched our understanding of human origins. Diet is no different, and even "Paleo" is evolving :)

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on September 17, 2011
at 01:23 AM

Im still grain and legume-free but I got three years that were full WAP and I've always held them in high esteem. I don't think it's bad thing at all. If it makes people feel well I'm all for it. I maintain that avoiding grains and legumes makes me run better personally.

742ff8ba4ff55e84593ede14ac1c3cab

(3531)

on September 17, 2011
at 12:46 AM

Hmmm. Interesting, I have attempted to introduce well prepared legumes back into my diet, but they always seem to give me digestive issues. Maybe I should waited it out longer??

742ff8ba4ff55e84593ede14ac1c3cab

(3531)

on September 17, 2011
at 12:44 AM

Yes, Tardwash, correct.

D1e47cb3cb916bf123ef4ee9c1273798

(10)

on September 17, 2011
at 12:22 AM

WAP meaning Weston A Price? I'm unfamiliar with the acronym.

D1e47cb3cb916bf123ef4ee9c1273798

(10)

on September 17, 2011
at 12:19 AM

I love split pea soup made with a giant ham hock during the winter.

7d64d3988de1b0e493aacf37843c5596

(2861)

on September 16, 2011
at 11:33 PM

Beth - watch out for the soybean oil in various brands of hummus. My wife buys one with olive oil, but she has grabbed a couple different brands by mistake and soybean oil was like the 2nd ingredient listed.

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on September 16, 2011
at 09:22 PM

I don't disagree! There's lots I like re WAPF. And after all, I'm doing PHD, so am already including rice in my diet.

1da74185531d6d4c7182fb9ee417f97f

(10904)

on September 16, 2011
at 08:39 PM

I think it's worth bothering for people on fixed incomes, especially families on fixed incomes. Soaking a 90 cent bag of beans over night is worth the trouble for an entire crockpot of food, especially if you put a yummy pigs foot or hamhock in there for added gelatin and minerals.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78417)

on September 16, 2011
at 08:19 PM

thank you for the book name. i look it up.

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on September 16, 2011
at 07:13 PM

If it means adding hummus back to my diet occasionally, I'm all for it ;)

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on September 16, 2011
at 07:12 PM

This post from Mark on grains probably applies to legumes: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/soaked-sprouted-fermented-grains/ Condensed version: properly prepared, they're probably safe, but why bother?

07154e6d8e42065f230d06249700fe5b

(2052)

on September 16, 2011
at 06:53 PM

One meal for energy another for nutritive value? Intriguing...

8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on September 16, 2011
at 06:00 PM

I did add small amounts of well-cooked white beans into my diet and was surprised that not only did they not bother me, I felt better, and my blood sugar felt like it was even (not sure, since I don't measure it.) I think this pattern would agree with what Lustig say about such carbs.

E639bc85fd42430285596434a6515ad5

(2226)

on September 16, 2011
at 05:56 PM

(By the way, I know corn is a grain rather than a legume, but I think it kind of fits in the same category is beans in terms of antinutrients and stuff.)

F3176aa8463fe7f416f4da0d04974c1d

(1392)

on September 16, 2011
at 05:45 PM

That's an awesome book! I also thought of her studies (and Weston Price's as well) when I read this question.

Cfc7dee889a66db9cd76c4f348109294

(1652)

on September 16, 2011
at 05:34 PM

i'd like to eat beans because i'm puerto rican, but i'm still working on bloating issues, so i haven't tried adding them back yet.

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18 Answers

22
99a6e964584f20f3f69ad3a70a335353

(1334)

on September 16, 2011
at 05:14 PM

Though I'm not a bean expert, I will say this: two of the most severe and common allergies in the world are soy and peanuts. This is not the case with other beans, peas, and lentils. I would think that would suggest soy and peanuts have an immunogenicity far beyond other legumes.

Soy is also loaded with phytoestrogens, and peanuts are not uncommonly tainted with aflatoxin, which is toxic and one of the most carcinogenic substances you're going to find outside a lab.

Additionally, legumes like lentils and chickpeas are comparatively lower in phytates than soy and peanuts, reducing their capability to bind up other nutrients.

Cook them well to break down the lectins and don't make them a staple, but there's likely no reason to avoid them entirely.

8496289baf18c2d3e210740614dc9082

(1867)

on May 12, 2012
at 02:16 AM

The aflatoxin often found in peanuts is from various Aspergillus spp. existing on it and attempting to ferment it. It should be noted that soy was first discovered to be palatable 5,000 years ago when the Chinese found that the moldy beans didn't cause the same digestive problems as the non-moldy beans. Contemporary science tells us that the "mold" fermenting soy are also species of Aspergillus. Further, different Aspergillus spp. cause massive pulmonary damage in immunocompromised individuals. Not all Aspergillus are the same; neither are all legumes. The devil is, in fact in, the details.

17
D3ff004d4a0c42b67cc2c49a5ee9c0f3

(5801)

on September 16, 2011
at 04:57 PM

I think the answer is that no legumes at all puts you in the stone age of paleo whereas limited legumes puts you in the bronze age of paleo.

I think we're fine as long as we don't dip our toes too often into the iron age - unless it is to make free weights, then dip and squat as much as you want.

7
Medium avatar

on September 16, 2011
at 05:38 PM

An easy way to deal with this issue is to simply concentrate your antinutrient-rich foods into their own meals that are separate from the meat/organs you eat. They won't interfere with each others' digestion and you won't really lose out on any nutrition.

07154e6d8e42065f230d06249700fe5b

(2052)

on September 16, 2011
at 06:53 PM

One meal for energy another for nutritive value? Intriguing...

Medium avatar

(39821)

on September 18, 2011
at 05:47 PM

Yeah, I really love eating this way. It happens to be consistent with the accounts I've read of how HGs eat, and is thus likely consistent with our evolution, and it just feels a lot better. What you eat and do isn't as important is how you eat it and how you do it.

24df4e0d0e7ce98963d4641fae1a60e5

on September 18, 2011
at 01:01 PM

This strategy "dings" on many levels. Food reward, hormonal handling of the macronutrient load, micronutrient maximization and genetics - as in too much in the way of "mixed meals" can get us in trouble.

6
Medium avatar

(19469)

on September 16, 2011
at 07:57 PM

It seems like "Paleo" is drifting closer and closer to WAP.

High fat dairy, supplementation, and the use of traditionally prepared grains and legumes have also blurred the line.

I'm personally not against this, as I am all for "Wise Traditions" and continued examination of how our bodies are affected by foods (and if something is found to be benign there is no reason to exclude it simply because it is "not Paleo".)

This seems to fall in line with what I was speaking to in my question/post about the "naturalistic fallacy".

http://paleohacks.com/questions/63188/just-because-something-is-natural-is-it-good-lets-hack-the-naturalistic-fallac#axzz1Y98JMc5b

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on September 17, 2011
at 01:23 AM

Im still grain and legume-free but I got three years that were full WAP and I've always held them in high esteem. I don't think it's bad thing at all. If it makes people feel well I'm all for it. I maintain that avoiding grains and legumes makes me run better personally.

742ff8ba4ff55e84593ede14ac1c3cab

(3531)

on September 17, 2011
at 12:44 AM

Yes, Tardwash, correct.

D1e47cb3cb916bf123ef4ee9c1273798

(10)

on September 17, 2011
at 12:22 AM

WAP meaning Weston A Price? I'm unfamiliar with the acronym.

Medium avatar

(19469)

on September 17, 2011
at 04:17 AM

I think that a synthesis is taking place. Even the theory of evolution wasn't a one-off for Darwin. Malthus' contributed the idea of "natural selection", Mendel's experiments with pea plants provided the genetic link, the observance of random mutation in fruit flies, the discovery of "java man" and Australopithecus, etc. all enriched our understanding of human origins. Diet is no different, and even "Paleo" is evolving :)

Medium avatar

(19469)

on September 17, 2011
at 04:17 AM

I think that a synthesis is taking place. Even the theory of evolution wasn't a one-off for Darwin. Malthus contributed the idea of "natural selection", Mendel's experiments with pea plants provided the genetic link, the observance of random mutation in fruit flies, the discovery of "java man" and Australopithecus, etc. all enriched our understanding of human origins. Diet is no different, and even "Paleo" is evolving :)

6
E639bc85fd42430285596434a6515ad5

(2226)

on September 16, 2011
at 05:42 PM

I'm currently reading The Jungle Effect, by Daphne Miller. It's pretty similar to Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, by Weston Price. She traveled the globe looking for very healthy cultures, which she found in remote, unmodernized places not yet overly affected by civilization.

Legumes were a staple in several such cultures: (properly prepared) corn, beans, etc. I know chickpeas and lentils are featured in other traditional diets.

Anything eaten in large amounts by very healthy cultures should probably be presumed non-toxic until specifically shown otherwise, IMO.

F3176aa8463fe7f416f4da0d04974c1d

(1392)

on September 16, 2011
at 05:45 PM

That's an awesome book! I also thought of her studies (and Weston Price's as well) when I read this question.

E639bc85fd42430285596434a6515ad5

(2226)

on September 16, 2011
at 05:56 PM

(By the way, I know corn is a grain rather than a legume, but I think it kind of fits in the same category is beans in terms of antinutrients and stuff.)

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78417)

on September 16, 2011
at 08:19 PM

thank you for the book name. i look it up.

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5147)

on September 18, 2011
at 03:34 AM

Well, the problem with corn and soy is the GMO. That's the case with wheat: the current wheat crop has more chromosomes thanks to GMO. The corn eaten by the Tarahumaras is what we want to eat. The soy eaten by the Okinawans is what we want.

4
51b472fa449ab0e5433f27dcd799fedd

(1091)

on September 16, 2011
at 05:30 PM

In his podcast with Robb Wolf, Dr. Harris noted that if you start just focusing on antinutrients as a way to measure how good/bad a food is you're in for a mess... his example was that sweet potatoes have more antinutrients than white potatoes.

Just anecdotally, I'm hugely allergic to peanuts and most other nuts, but never noticed any issues when eating beans.

2
Ef31d612a661d9fcb19c8965d3a2bd12

(533)

on September 18, 2011
at 01:11 PM

According to AllergyNet, lentils "seem to be the most common legume implicated in pediatric allergic patients in the Mediterranean area." Methinks legumes are legumes, and your sensitivity depends on how much you (or your parents) are exposed to their proteins.

http://www.allallergy.net/fapaidfind.cfm?cdeoc=863

2
2fbba2cfe386a13fd7888ccc0c50fe92

on September 17, 2011
at 01:11 AM

Why not see how they affect you, personally, by eliminating them for a long enough period of time (30 days or so) and then add them back in? We're all different and so what may bother one person doesn't bother another.

One of our office mates during the Whole 30 challenge cut out all dairy and as soon as he added it back in we could ALL TELL how much more phlegmy he was - it made it easy to tell if he had slipped over the weekend. :D Wouldn't the same apply in practicing elimination of suspect ingredients for a time? Perhaps certain legumes affect different people in different levels?

4e184df9c1ed38f61febc5d6cf031921

(4999)

on May 12, 2012
at 07:35 AM

After 2.5 years of avoiding ALL legumes, I've added back lentils, chickpeas and red kidney beans so far. And had no bad effects at all. And according to FitDay, it has helped raise my intake of several minerals etc that I was low on.

2
7d64d3988de1b0e493aacf37843c5596

(2861)

on September 16, 2011
at 05:29 PM

I think much of the basis is that the non-soy and non-peanut legumes don???t seem to be well correlated with the diseases of civilization. I have heard that in the US that bean consumption peaked during WWII then went downhill from there. It seems at times that when people adopt a more Western diet, legumes are often pushed aside in favor of other foods. This blogpost kind of explores the scientific issues and rationales: http://www.paleo-diet.co/2010/09/beans-and-paleo-dieting/

1
3eca93d2e56dfcd768197dc5a50944f2

(11697)

on November 25, 2011
at 08:00 PM

I believe that lentils, peas and some beans are safe after we have put them in water for at least 12 hours, and then we used our hands to rub them under running water, before cooking. This seems to remove most anti-nutrients and even some starches. For the safe beans, have a look at the SCD's diet list of which beans are safe to handle this way, and which ones are not.

1
C2450eb7fa11b37473599caf93b461ef

on September 18, 2011
at 02:15 PM

I've been thinking of legumes lately as the weather is turning colder: my 6 year old's favorite dinner is split pea soup. Split peas can't be sprouted, but I'll soak them. I think it's important to distinguish between things that can be had in moderation and things like trans fats and soybean oil that I avoid like the plague. That all being said, eating beans stops my weight loss, and I still have a bit to go, so I'm not going to be eating them regularly.

1
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on September 18, 2011
at 12:34 PM

I've had some pretty awful experiences with beans, but not lentils, which much mean the fibers in them are a little different because my symptom with beans is very bad gas and diarrhea and I'm definitely not overstating that.

Of lentils, soaked skinless lentils seem to be the most harmless for me. I eat them every two weeks or so.

C44bb43563e520dff542e7a39a7eb31e

(105)

on September 18, 2011
at 04:07 PM

I get the same symptoms from legumes as you do, every time I eat them. No amount of research or retractions from paleo authorities are going to change that.

1
3864f9a2af09b1b447c7963058650a34

(3703)

on September 18, 2011
at 12:14 AM

Soy and peanuts are genetically altered to produce the Bt toxin which is a lectin. To reduce potential resistance patterns from developing in exposured pests, high genetic expression and protein expression are built in which means higher concentrations of the lectin in the GMO product.

Unfortunately soy and peanut are one of the most allergenic fodos only recently not the past 15+ and 20,000 years. Why? Probably GMO and subsequent gut ripping effects of the Bt Lectin.

It is no wonder to me there are epidemic rates of gut dysbiosis, autism/ASD, infertility, cancer and autoimmunity in just the last 10 yrs since the introduction GMO foods and their crops for livestock, dairy and eggs.

Lectins are now found in the blood of moms and their fetuses who are presumably consuming GMO products (potatoes, corn, soy, peanut, canola, cottonseed, sugarbeets, etc): somloquesembrem.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/arisleblanc2011.pdf

Courtesy of Mon-satan

Beans are not that bad when prepared the ancestral way -- soaked and well cooked. If however one has food allergies due to dysbiosis and beans cause a reaction, best to avoid until the gut is sealed and normal again.

1
B36613e945134be5813e6526f9a3a86c

(499)

on September 16, 2011
at 06:56 PM

I would tend to agree with maurile that these non-peanut, non-soy legumes' status as a staple in the traditional diets of "very healthy cultures" is a point in their favor. And I can add the anecdotal evidence that despite my very touchy digestive system, beans (soaked, then cooked in fresh water) have never given me gastric distress???I've always found reports of flatulence and other digestive issues overstated. I am told that those effects may be more pronounced in people who have been eating a low-fiber diet (like SAD, and some VLC paleos), though, so paleos introducing these legumes might have some initial trouble adjusting???this seems to me comparable to "low-carb flu" as an acceptable transitory discomfort rather than to an indicator that humans and legumes just aren't meant to live in harmony.

742ff8ba4ff55e84593ede14ac1c3cab

(3531)

on September 17, 2011
at 12:46 AM

Hmmm. Interesting, I have attempted to introduce well prepared legumes back into my diet, but they always seem to give me digestive issues. Maybe I should waited it out longer??

1
36d4865f591d55c9eff666fd82ab8ada

on September 16, 2011
at 05:49 PM

Personally, before I draw any conclusions, I would like to see if Mark Sisson and/or Loren Cordain have altered their stances. On legumes other than soy or peanuts. I think (but am not sure) they believe that if you cook beans enough, ferment them, etc. you eliminate or break down many of the antinutrients (mostly lectins). But it would be good to hear their most recent thoughts. Anybody have any updates from them? If not, maybe it's time to email them.

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on September 16, 2011
at 09:22 PM

I don't disagree! There's lots I like re WAPF. And after all, I'm doing PHD, so am already including rice in my diet.

1da74185531d6d4c7182fb9ee417f97f

(10904)

on September 16, 2011
at 08:39 PM

I think it's worth bothering for people on fixed incomes, especially families on fixed incomes. Soaking a 90 cent bag of beans over night is worth the trouble for an entire crockpot of food, especially if you put a yummy pigs foot or hamhock in there for added gelatin and minerals.

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on September 16, 2011
at 07:12 PM

This post from Mark on grains probably applies to legumes: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/soaked-sprouted-fermented-grains/ Condensed version: properly prepared, they're probably safe, but why bother?

0
C06143b5fbd3ab617144397ac8d7908b

on December 23, 2012
at 06:23 PM

Come on. Why did the ancients have short life spans? This is one for Wikipedia. Here are some of the factors- 1/4 of woman died giving birth in those days. People died form infections that a few drops of peroxide would have stopped. No immunizations, No anti-biotics, attacked by wild animals, disease was rampant and since they did not know of germs, infections were passed on like wildfire.

0
Ee851e05ce739dcee2377c6c81fd5cc2

on May 11, 2012
at 10:31 PM

Im doing the paleo diet and i dont understand why are ancestors had such a short life span. if this diet is so healthy why is that?

7e1433afbb06c318c4d90860d493c49d

(5959)

on May 11, 2012
at 10:53 PM

The average lifespan of our paleo ancestors was so short because they frequently died of things that people rarely die from today because they're now readily treatable. There was also a much greater tendency for people to kill each other. As I understand it, when paleo humans did make it to old age, they lived to be almost as old as old people do today.

0
21b2f652ba2f27c2b1afb6af57b8671f

on November 25, 2011
at 03:49 PM

What about green beans or aka string beans. I eat them fresh picked raw all the time.

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