Why are Legumes Bad For You?

Posted on 30. Jan, 2012 by in What to Eat

Why are legumes not con­sid­ered paleo?

This may be the most often asked ques­tion within the paleo diet com­mu­nity.  For me, this has always been an easy one to answer.  The rea­son being is I never really cared much for legumes in the first place.  I actu­ally pre­fer the taste of nuts, includ­ing almond but­ter, to peanuts and peanut but­ter.  Even when I thought soy was healthy for me, I still never liked the taste very much.  And I tend to for­get that beans even exist until I am sit­ting in a Mex­i­can restau­rant scan­ning the menu decid­ing what I am going to eat.  So when I saw a lit­tle bit of research regard­ing the dan­gers of legumes, they were a no-brainer to remove from my diet.

But I also real­ize that this is not the case for every­body.  Some peo­ple love their peanut but­ter, crave their daily soy latte, or grew up on rice and beans.  They need a lit­tle bit more con­vinc­ing before they decide to go with­out one of their favorite foods.  Hope­fully this post pro­vides you with enough infor­ma­tion to con­vince you that legumes are less than opti­mal in your diet.


What Are Legumes?

Legumes is a funny word.

Now that I got that off my chest let’s look at what foods are actu­ally con­sid­ered legumes.  The main ones we are con­cerned with are soy, peas, beans, green beans, chick­peas, lentils, and peanuts.

We make an excep­tion for peas and green beans through­out the Superhuman30 because of their abil­ity to be con­sumed raw and their low lev­els of tox­ins.  Which leads to our next point.


The Dan­gers of Legumes.

Most legumes are extremely toxic in their raw state.  The Per­fect Health Diet reports that raw kid­ney beans at only 1% of a rat’s diet can kill it in just 2 weeks.  Legumes have to be soaked, fer­mented, or sprouted in order to make them safe to eat.  This nec­es­sary step of prepa­ra­tion is enough to con­vince most paleo fol­low­ers that this is a food we shouldn’t be eating.

The goal of these food prepa­ra­tions is to reduce the lectin and phy­tate con­tent of legumes.  Lectins and phy­tates are inher­ent in most foods, but they are espe­cially high in grains and legumes.  Lectins have been shown to strip away mucous from the small intes­tine, which is one of the key causes in many autoim­mune dis­eases.  Lectins have also been found guilty of caus­ing symp­toms sim­i­lar to food poi­son­ing, even when no other pathogens were present.

Phy­tates, specif­i­cally phytic acid, have been shown to block the min­eral absorp­tion of cal­cium, mag­ne­sium, iron, and zinc.  Many peo­ple believe that this decreased absorp­tion helps to explain Amer­i­cans high rate of dis­ease and osteo­poro­sis, despite our high level of dairy con­sump­tion.  Phy­tates have also been shown to inhibit impor­tant enzymes involved in diges­tion, includ­ing pepsin and amy­lase.


Soy Is Espe­cially Bad. 

The Weston A. Price Foun­da­tion, which actu­ally advo­cates the con­sump­tion of prop­erly pre­pared grains and legumes, strongly advo­cates against large con­sump­tions of soy.  This link pro­vides mul­ti­ple stud­ies that have occurred within the last 75 years doc­u­ment­ing the dan­gers of soy.  Here are just a few of the things that were found:

–Soy leads to an increased risk of blad­der cancer.

–Soy fed infants have more repro­duc­tive and asthma issues as adults.

–Increased con­sump­tion of soy-based tofu led to lower cog­ni­tive func­tion later in life and a greater inci­dence of alzheimers. 

–One daily cup of soy milk can cut total sperm count in men in half

It should also be noted that as recently as 2007, 91% of all soy­beans grown were genet­i­cally mod­i­fied (GMO) in some way.  If you have seen Food Inc., you know that this is largely due to cor­po­rate giant Monsanto’s over­pow­er­ing abil­ity to force small time farm­ers to use their patented pes­ti­cide resis­tant soy­beans.   We don’t fully under­stand the effect of these GMO foods and it’s pretty safe to say that most soy prod­ucts come from GMO seeds.


Peanuts vs Nuts.

It should first be noted that we don’t advo­cate con­sum­ing large amounts of nuts in gen­eral.  Peanuts are tech­ni­cally a legume, but I still think the com­par­i­son to other nuts is war­ranted.  All nuts are fairly high in lectins (which we vil­i­fied ear­lier in this post), and they are a dense source of calo­ries, includ­ing the not-so good Omega 6 fats.

One of the goals of eat­ing paleo is to have a ratio of Omega 6:Omega 3 fats of about 3:1 or below.  This is largely due to the inflam­ma­tory nature of Omega 6 fats, and the anti-inflammatory nature of Omega 3 fats.  They tend to bal­ance each other out.  A quick search of the USDA nutri­ent data­base shows that ½ cup of Peanuts has 11 grams of Omega 6 fats and just trace amounts of Omega 3 fats.  This is not only way above our ideal 3:1 ratio, but it will be almost impos­si­ble to con­sume enough Omega 3 fats to bring this ratio back into bal­ance.  Com­pare this to macadamia nuts, which have less than 1 gram of Omega 6 fats per ½ cup.

Peanuts also con­tain the high­est amount of afla­tox­ins, which have been shown to increase the risk of can­cer, mor­tal­ity from can­cer, as well as stunted growth.

At the very least, it appears that peanuts should be ranked behind all other nuts in terms of their health and toxic load.  This is enough for me to remove them from my diet altogether.


Do You Really Need All That Fiber?

The fuss over fiber is a very new con­cept in our soci­ety.  It’s one of those con­cepts that food man­u­fac­tur­ers have ran with over the last sev­eral years, as they were look­ing for more ways to sell con­sumers on the ben­e­fits of whole grains and legumes.

The pur­pose of fiber is to feed the healthy bac­te­ria that lives in our gut, but how much is really nec­es­sary for opti­mal health?  One star­tling fact is that human breast milk con­tains no fiber at all.  If fiber was so nec­es­sary to our health, why wouldn’t we require it dur­ing our most impor­tant devel­op­ing years?

Another great exam­ple is the Inuit group of indige­nous peo­ple that ate mostly whales, wal­rus, cari­bou, seal, and other ani­mals and rarely, if ever con­sumed any fiber at all.  This is the same group of peo­ple that have been praised for hav­ing almost no heart dis­ease or acne despite a diet rely­ing on 75% fat, most of it from sat­u­rated fat.

There was also a study done in 1989 regard­ing the ben­e­fits of high fiber where par­tic­i­pants were asked to dou­ble their intake of whole grains and fiber.  The result was a higher death rate for the high fiber group over the course of the 2-year study although the dif­fer­ence in death rate was not con­sid­ered significant.

While I do think fiber is an impor­tant part of health, the quan­ti­ties that are required for opti­mal health have been vastly over-exaggerated by today’s food man­u­fac­tur­ers.  If you really want to sup­port gut health by eat­ing more fiber, stick to broc­coli or blue­ber­ries, which both have over 5 grams of fiber per cup.


My Final Verdict.

Once you get past the anti-nutrients and fiber, you’re essen­tially left with a lit­tle bit of pro­tein and lots of car­bo­hy­drates.  Unlike ani­mal prod­ucts, the pro­teins that are found in legume­sare not com­plete pro­teins, mean­ing they don’t sup­ply all 9 essen­tial amino acids.  If your goal is to increase your pro­tein intake, you are still bet­ter off doing it with ani­mal sources.

The nice thing about the car­bo­hy­drates found in most legumes, is they don’t spike insulin the way many grain and dairy prod­ucts do.  This is not to say that we need all these extra car­bo­hy­drates, they just won’t have the same stor­age effect as those car­bo­hy­drates that elicit a huge insulin response.

Based on the research that I have seen, as well as my own per­sonal expe­ri­ence, I believe that legumes are nei­ther opti­mal or dan­ger­ous for most peo­ple.  They are sim­ply unnec­es­sary.   While wheat and other grains have con­vinced me that they are noth­ing but bad news, legumes appear to be a prob­lem for a more select group of people.

The defin­ing fac­tor for me is that there is noth­ing in legumes that can’t be bet­ter pro­vided by lean meats, seafood, eggs, veg­eta­bles, fruits, and nuts.  So while I may have the occa­sional side of beans at a Mex­i­can restau­rant or veg­gies dipped in hum­mus as a snack, legumes will never be more than just an occa­sional source of vari­ety within my diet.

I would cau­tion any­body that has any autoim­mune dis­ease or other spe­cific issue that even a small amount of legumes can exac­er­bate the prob­lem, but I don’t think this is a con­cern for most.

Just make sure that the legumes you are con­sum­ing are in addi­tion to the qual­ity lean meats and veg­eta­bles you are eat­ing, not as a replace­ment for them.

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96 Responses to “Why are Legumes Bad For You?”

  1. healthwiz

    29. Aug, 2014

    This arti­cle is based on authors per­sonal bias and dis­likes, I feel authors has failed to see all the lik­ables aspects of legumes and is con­cen­trat­ing on few neg­a­tives like soak­ing beans and dis­card­ing the water and boil­ing or cook­ing the legumes over­come all their neg­a­tive chem­i­cal effects. I don’t think any of us com­sume raw or uncooked legumes. Andrew its time you should give pri­or­ity to your health rather than pleas­ing your tounge coz nuts and ani­mal pro­tein but are high in fat con­tent so nonethe­less you need them.

  2. Jeff

    22. Aug, 2014

    What I get from this is that raw beans and soy are unhealthy, plau­si­ble. Author does not bring solid argu­ments about how prop­erly pre­pared beans are bad for us. That makes the title is misleading.

  3. mike

    28. Mar, 2014

    Dam I just agreed with this whole arti­cle until he said lean meats are impor­tant to health. I guess Inu­its and eski­mos just throw that nasty, bad, sat­u­rated fat away. When will peo­ple learn that ani­mal fat is one of the best forms of food for health, weight loss and musclegain,not to men­tion sex.

  4. Jon

    25. Mar, 2014

    Yes this is dumb. Another Jon.

  5. Bob

    18. Feb, 2014

    wever, the Inuit have lifes­pans 12 to 15 years shorter than the aver­age Canadian’s, which is thought to be a result of overcrowding.[63] The life expectancy gap is not closing

    Ouch. Over­crowd­ing indeed.

    • Bob

      18. Feb, 2014

      Hey im allowed to hal­farse my “sci­en­tific report­ing” too. Sure this might be to lack of med­ical care etc, but who the fuck cares about facts when youre a paleo humanoid. Shouldnt you guys avoid med­i­cine also? Clearly super unpaleo.

      So when your wife gets can­cer, be sure to give her a honey bee.

  6. Bob

    18. Feb, 2014

    Are you edu­cated in nutri­tion? Are you a M.D? Physi­cian of any sort?

    I’m just curi­ous where you are get­ting your eval­u­a­tion from, daily per­sonal expe­ri­ence or empir­i­cal fact.

  7. Cheyenne

    29. Jan, 2014

    This is another exam­ple of why so many peo­ple are so con­fused about what to put in their bod­ies. Shame on you for pro­duc­ing such mis­lead­ing information.

  8. Jim Allen

    28. Jan, 2014

    The intro to a study report­edly say­ing “a cup of soy milk a day will cut sperm counts in half” should read, a study of pre­dom­i­nantly obese-overweight white men showed reduced sperm concentration.

  9. baby carrotz

    21. Jan, 2014

    This arti­cle was writ­ten by a damn fool. You heav­ily mix loose fact and opin­ion through­out and thus the entire state­ment becomes invalid. I just made a bomb salad of legumes. Enjoy your meat you ill-informed paleo fuck.

  10. lucy

    14. Jan, 2014

    ahha­haha this is not only hilar­i­ous, but absolute non­sense. you com­plain of the long prepa­ra­tion of soaking/fermenting beans, but are you seri­ously telling me that you would be more than happy to kill a cow and eat it right there and then? with­out pro­cess­ing it with crap to make it edi­ble? and don’t even say that organic / grass­fed is bet­ter, as it still under­goes sim­i­lar processes so it is ‘fit’ for con­sump­tion. you’re a joke. oh and obvi­ously your knowl­edge on pro­tein is a bit outdated…everything is a com­plete pro­tein, if you actu­ally bother search­ing for amino acid com­po­si­tions.. yes even veg­eta­bles and we DON’T need to eat so much pro­tein, it’s not good for the body. espe­cially ani­mal pro­tein, which is ter­ri­ble. hope you get sick.

  11. Guest

    13. Jan, 2014

    Peanuts are a legume moron

  12. biomom92

    01. Jan, 2014

    You are just flat out wrong. And mis­in­formed. And full of.…beans! Beans are great! They are healthy, won­der­ful sources of pro­tein, fiber and healthy carbs.

  13. Mel

    18. Dec, 2013

    I love how Tony Frezza and Jello are the only peo­ple defend­ing this diet/article as opposed to so many refut­ing it!

    Says a lot about the article

  14. BarryTurner

    16. Oct, 2013

    Beans have “stunk up” my life many times. Pun intended. Not just by smell. But by feel­ing. I can’t eat them with­out feel­ing mis­er­able the entire day. They lay in my stom­ach because they don’t digest well. I know sev­eral peo­ple who say the same thing. We often see doc­tors pro­mot­ing the FDA approved diet stan­dard. And like every­thing else that comes from doc­tors and gov­ern­ment, its false infor­ma­tion. Beans have proven them­selves to be bad for you. Just because Indi­ans are healthy and include beans, it doesn’t mean they are healthy. Their foods aren’t dom­i­nated by beans. Alot of veg­etable and spices. They use alot of rice which is BAD for you. Sure. You might be able to get away with dump­ing a smaller amount of poi­son into the body with­out obvi­ous con­se­quences. But I would say that there are con­se­quences in the long run. How many years will it knock off? Why not only give the body what it needs? I am dis­gusted by peo­ple who use evo­lu­tion to jus­tify the idea that our diges­tive sys­tems are flex­i­ble. It only seems that way.

    • BarryTurner

      16. Oct, 2013

      As well there are a lot of fat peo­ple in mex­ico. lol

      • Doone00

        22. Feb, 2014

        Wow, your com­ments are all over the place. Mex­i­cans use a lot of cheap fats like lard to cook their food. Many of their authen­tic bean dishes con­tain lard, as do their tor­tillas. I wouldn’t blame beans them­selves. India is a very poor coun­try and def­i­nitely doesn’t have the Amer­i­can men­tal­ity of over­flow­ing one’s plate with food. Don’t let America’s ver­sion of Indian food fool you. The rice they eat, even if it’s a cou­ple times a day, is most likely a much smaller quan­tity than what Amer­i­cans con­sider one serv­ing. Regard­ing your indi­ges­tion: You’re prob­a­bly not com­bin­ing your food groups prop­erly, which is why you have such bad diges­tive prob­lems. Avoid com­bin­ing con­cen­trated pro­tein with con­cen­trated pro­tein, like beans and cheese or beans and meat. Don’t eat beans with too much fat or another high-carb food (like tor­tillas or bread). Only eat non-starchy veg­eta­bles with beans (like a salad).

  15. googoodolls

    14. Aug, 2013

    Sad article…Google only knows how I ended up read­ing this.

  16. Rachel Mackneer

    26. Jul, 2013

    so unless you can eat it raw with­out a pos­si­ble harm­ful con­se­quence, then it shouldn’t be eaten? where does that put chicken, beef, pork, and eggs?

    • Tony Frezza

      02. Aug, 2013

      I always cooked the liv­ing crap out of all those things due to tra­di­tional wrong advice, but that advice was prob­a­bly half decent because it was based on chicken, beef, eggs sourced from dan­ger­ous and unhealthy places. Now that I switched to grass-fed beef and steak, I like to keep it pretty rare, and as far as pas­tured eggs go, I eat sev­eral raw eggs a day and a cou­ple scram­bled or hard­boiled too. Still cook chicken thoroughly

      • Concerns

        20. Oct, 2013

        What about all the cho­les­terol in eggs?? Also are you all aware that cows are genet­i­cally mod­i­fied hybrid ani­mals? How healthy can it be to eat a species of ani­mal that was made by sci­en­tists? Same with pigs.

        • Tony Frezza

          21. Oct, 2013

          Cho­les­terol is vital to cel­lu­lar devel­op­ment. Tak­ing in a lot of dietary cho­les­terol from the right sources with a good sup­port­ing diet is only going to up the HDL or good cho­les­terol in your body, and lower your LDL count. I think we owe nature/evolution/biology some credit for cows and pigs.

    • Guest

      24. Nov, 2013

      Where, in this arti­cle, is it advised to eat them raw and where does it state that they are LESS harm­ful raw?

    • Doone00

      22. Feb, 2014

      Beans should never be eaten raw, as the lectin lev­els could make you sick. In a study, raw beans were given to rats to make up only 1% of their diets and the rats died within a cou­ple weeks. Beans need to be boiled before being con­sumed to reduce their lectin lev­els. The small amount of lectin left in them is actu­ally good for pre­vent­ing cancer.

  17. mishmash

    25. Jun, 2013

    these dried foods were meant as emer­gency foods to keep peo­ple alive dur­ing winter/famine, they are bet­ter than going hun­gry but not ideal. nobody ate them before set­tled farm­ing com­mu­ni­ties and civilisation

  18. Tmingi

    06. Jun, 2013

    I’m a dietit­ian, and you are a pathetic, mis­lead­ing, inac­cu­rate source for nutri­tional advice. Read a text­book. Under­stand to attempt basic chem. Then get off your con­sti­pated butt and do some research.

    • Peter the Average

      26. Jun, 2013

      Dieti­cians are respon­si­ble in a large way for the sad health of the west­ern world. If a dieti­cian tells me to do some­thing I do the oppo­site, they’re almost all fools regur­gi­tat­ing the party line. Basi­cally dieti­cians are well trained monkeys.

    • Tony Frezza

      02. Aug, 2013

      I stopped read­ing at “I’m a dietitian”.

    • Sue

      02. Apr, 2014

      I just hired a nutritionist/dietitian. I’ve come to real­ize that I can’t do this by myself any­more. I’m sen­si­tive to gluten and sal­i­cy­lates, extremely sen­si­tive to sul­fites and now sus­pect­ing oxy­lates. I’ve cut all things con­tain­ing gluten, sals, and sul­fites, as well as, sug­ars, dairy, soy and nuts from my diet. This leaves me with hardly any­thing left to eat. (I was dri­ven to this because of wheez­ing, asthma attacks, and hives). My symp­toms are about 90 per­cent bet­ter, but I hear that rice con­tains arsenic and now beans are bad too. What the devil is a per­son like me sup­posed to do? I’m sure I’m low on vital nutri­ents. I’ve been doing this for eight weeks.

  19. Done with it all

    04. Jun, 2013

    Well how deep does the rab­bit hole go down… I have tried to eat healthy for the past 6 months or so. First cut­ting out dairy (sup­pos­edly causes acne), then refined grains and junk food. Then beef, because of study xyz, then lim­it­ing fish because of mer­cury. Now this pops up, that nuts, now a sta­ple in my diet because almost every­thing else is elim­i­nated, are unhealthy as well. I’m about at the end of my rope, and about to call it quits on this whole diet­ing phase I’ve been going through alto­gether. All these “stud­ies” and “sci­en­tific the­o­ries” are nigh impos­si­ble to prove, and as far as I see it, every­one I know drinks soda, enjoys fast food, and munches on candy, and are doing per­fectly fine. All these stud­ies dis­prove them­selves when mil­lions of peo­ple live well with­out pay­ing atten­tion to the lat­est, alarm­ing discovery/fad in the diet­ing com­mu­nity. What I used to think was a con­sci­en­tious mon­i­tor­ing of health now seems like para­noid, irra­tional choices based on the newest “sky is falling” study. Fuck you all, I’m going to go eat a big mac.

    • Tony Frezza

      21. Jun, 2013

      Test­ing your own body is more impor­tant than any study out there. Take 3 weeks at a time to add/subtract foods from your diet. Keep it some­what con­sis­tently and only take out 1 thing at a time to test. I know 12 weeks may seem like a long time now to do some per­sonal test­ing but it is price­less knowl­edge that you can use for the rest of your life

    • what to eat

      15. Aug, 2013

      here here , what is there left to eat sigh

    • Steve

      12. Dec, 2013

      Your com­ment just val­i­dated the last 30 min­utes of my life… Here Here!

  20. Denise Kowalchuk Salome

    06. May, 2013

    Ok sec­ond attempt, prob from eat­ing too many beans, cog­ni­tive abil­i­ties are shot!

    No seri­ously Tony thank-you for your knowl­edge. Amer­i­cans are skep­ti­cal due to (my the­ory), all the negat­ing data sur­round­ing healthy!! After I read your info. I wont throw out my beans, but I’ll let my part­ner eat them. I’ll take more steak or chicken.

    Can you inform some­one like me on shop­ping for “CLEAN” whole foods. I do not have a col­lege degree or a 3 figu­ire income. I need to do some deep breath­ing after shop­ping for a steak. Grass fed, pas­ture fed, roaming,natural, angus, black angus and organic. Any advice??
    What about all this GMO? When I plant my own Kale or Swiss Chard is it tainted with
    the mod­i­fied genes? Organic seeds, are they clean? Do you have to buy organic seeds or have your own line thats at least 10 years old? Do you know how long our crops have been tainted? Sorry for all the ques­tions? But knowl­edge IS power and I want that energy that you write about. I want it real bad!! THANKS

    • Tony Frezza

      21. Jun, 2013

      Thank you for the com­ment Denise and I wish you the best of luck on your health jour­ney. The best place to start is a local farm or farmer’s mar­ket near you for some real organic veg­eta­bles and fruits. 100% of their stuff won’t be per­fectly clean but you can’t go crazy wor­ry­ing. Lets take small steps and spend a lit­tle more money in select places on bet­ter foods like your local farm­ers or grass fed beef from US well­ness meats (there are links on our site to them). Im lucky to have a great farm­ers mar­ket here in south florida so I don’t plant any veg­eta­bles myself but those are very inter­est­ing questions

  21. Mark Wood

    29. Apr, 2013

    Sci­ence fic­tion at its best. Noth­ing empir­i­cal to sup­port the claims. We are all now dumber for hav­ing read this.

    • Tony Frezza

      21. Jun, 2013

      It was our goal to write a post, not a book. Heres another link to give you a lit­tle more info http://toxicstudylist.blogspot.com/

      • kali

        28. Sep, 2013

        its a good thing soy isnt the only legume, so you still have no evi­dence show­ing split peas or kid­ney beans are harmful

  22. Jello

    05. Apr, 2013

    Hmmm… no. Just because you don’t want it to be true, doesn’t mean it isn’t.

  23. Jello

    05. Apr, 2013

    I’m guess­ing that you think any­thing you don’t want to hear is ‘idi­otic’, right? Delu­sion is a beau­ti­ful thing if you can make it work for you.

    • Doone00

      22. Feb, 2014

      Yep, the author of this arti­cle is def­i­nitely delusional.

  24. Dee

    24. Mar, 2013

    Load of bullsh*t. I eat pri­mal and include legumes. One thing I hate about the paleo com­mu­nity is that they try so hard to eat like the cave­men did but then cut out cer­tain things that they them­selves deem “unhealthy.” Do you think the cave­men would come across a legume and pass it up because “oh shit this has phy­tates, guess I can’t eat this.” I will say it again, bullsh*t.

    • Jello

      05. Apr, 2013

      Peo­ple in the paleo com­mu­nity didn’t decide that legumes are unhealthy. Stud­ies have shown that legumes con­tain enzymes that cause autoim­mune dis­eases. The argu­ment that a cave­man would eat a legume if he came across it is invalid, that doesn’t change the fact that legumes aren’t healthy. A cave­man would prob­a­bly eat a McDonald’s ham­burger if he came across it, but that doesn’t mean it’s healthy.
      If you eat legumes, then you’re not really eat­ing pri­mal. Sorry, but you’re not.
      I think you need to stop get­ting angry at the paleo com­mu­nity for telling you things you don’t want to hear, and start brush­ing up on your nutri­tional sci­ence. Cause it sounds like you don’t know what the f— you’re talk­ing about.

    • Ashley Love

      10. Jun, 2014


  25. Roudnitska

    17. Mar, 2013

    Great and con­cise info. I already know about it, but thanks for the effort.
    Soak beans, grains, and nuts.

  26. spamandegg

    11. Mar, 2013

    shyte of the bull! eat poi, veg­gies, and fruits.

  27. Guest

    05. Feb, 2013

    Do you have the cre­den­tials and real jour­nal arti­cles with data to sup­port these state­ments?  Have you heard of the many health ben­e­fits of con­sum­ing legumes?

  28. Hauntedby11

    27. Jan, 2013

    You cut out legumes because they’re bad if eaten uncooked? Then why don’t you cut out meat as well? This IS a crock of shit! LOL

    • Jello

      05. Apr, 2013

      No, legumes should be cut out because they have unhealthy lectins and phy­tates. It’s stated in the very next paragraph.

      • Tony Frezza

        10. Apr, 2013

        Thank you for infus­ing some great com­mon sense into our com­ments sec­tion Jello.

      • jcolson1027

        25. Sep, 2013

        Too bad Phy­lates and Oxo­lates are not exclu­sively con­tained in grains or legumes. They are in a LARGE range of plant foods that are allowed on the Paleo diet, includ­ing leafy green veggies.

        • ari_free

          14. Nov, 2013

          Bingo. Ban­ning legumes has noth­ing to do with the phy­tates but rather ‘must’ be bad some­how because they are not in the paleo diet.

      • Doone00

        22. Feb, 2014

        Legumes only have an unhealthy amount of lectins when con­sumed raw. They need to be cooked and the remain­ing lectins help pre­vent cancer.

  29. Helen

    15. Jan, 2013

    Wow. I didn’t come here to troll, hon­est, but this is such a mis­lead­ing arti­cle, it drove me to it:

    - Remove legumes from our diet, because if they’re not pre­pared prop­erly it can be poi­so­nous? Like um, meat? Never mind the health ben­e­fits of eat­ing as wide and as var­ied a diet as pos­si­ble. Just soak them and reap the deli­cious rewards.

    - And then there’s the breast milk argu­ment. It has no fibre! Then we must not need it! Because we are all infants! Breast milk also has a high sugar con­tent, and zero solids. Sure, let’s base our diet on that.

    - The Inuit’s all ani­mal pro­tein diet used to sup­port your argu­ment, while ignor­ing the vast num­bers of com­mu­ni­ties who live on legumes. And do we judge their health solely on lack of heart dis­ease and acne? What’s their life expectancy?

    - The abstract of the 20 year old study on higher fibre diets gives the reader no infor­ma­tion about the pro­por­tions of other nutri­ents in the high-fibre diet, or the kind of fibre they were eat­ing, or the kind of diet they were eat­ing before. If they replaced half their intake with bran flakes, I’m not sur­prised they died.

    • Jello

      05. Apr, 2013

      With all due respect, I think you’re twist­ing things around.
      – The arti­cle isn’t advo­cat­ing that we remove legumes from our diet just because they’re poi­so­nous in their raw state, it’s sim­ply stat­ing that that’s what tipped paleo advo­cates off that legumes might not be healthy. The rea­son legumes should not be eaten is because of their lectin and phy­tate con­tent, as stated in the fol­low­ing para­graph.
      – The arti­cle isn’t say­ing that we should base our diet on breast milk, just that fiber isn’t nec­es­sary because we don’t need it in our first stage of life. I admit that it isn’t a strong argu­ment — after all, our nutri­tional needs change dur­ing the dif­fer­ent stages of life. But still, you’re mis­stat­ing the article’s argu­ment.
      – Just because some com­mu­ni­ties sub­sisted on legumes doesn’t mean they’re healthy. Some­times peo­ple ate what­ever was avail­able and easy to grow. If you can find a study that says that soci­eties with legume-based diets are healthy, then you might have a point. And do you judge health based solely on life expectancy? You can live a long time and not be par­tic­u­larly func­tional.
      – True, there’s not enough known about the high-fiber study to draw a con­clu­sion from it. But that doesn’t mean that eat­ing a lot of fiber is good for you. If you want to come to that con­clu­sion, you’ll need another study to back it up.

      • jcolson1027

        25. Sep, 2013

        The prob­lem is that the name of the arti­cle is “Why are Legumes Bad for You?”

        although he said they are nei­ther bad or good, the title is meant to draw peo­ple in to get some con­tro­versy. Smart blog­ger actu­ally!!! Just not honest.

        • Tony Frezza

          21. Oct, 2013

          Copy/Pasted from above…Most legumes are extremely toxic in their raw state. The Per­fect Health Diet reports that raw kid­ney beans at only 1% of a rat’s diet can kill it in just 2 weeks. Legumes have to be soaked, fer­mented, or sprouted in order to make them safe to eat. This nec­es­sary step of prepa­ra­tion is enough to con­vince most paleo fol­low­ers that this is a food we shouldn’t be eating.

          The goal of these food prepa­ra­tions is to reduce the lectin and phy­tate con­tent of legumes. Lectins and phy­tates are inher­ent in most foods, but they are espe­cially high in grains and legumes. Lectins have been shown to strip away mucous from the small intes­tine, which is one of the key causes in many autoim­mune dis­eases. Lectins have also been found guilty of caus­ing symp­toms sim­i­lar to food poi­son­ing, even when no other pathogens were present.

          Phy­tates, specif­i­cally phytic acid, have been shown to block the min­eral absorp­tion of cal­cium, mag­ne­sium, iron, and zinc. Many peo­ple believe that this decreased absorp­tion helps to explain Amer­i­cans high rate of dis­ease and osteo­poro­sis, despite our high level of dairy con­sump­tion. Phy­tates have also been shown to inhibit impor­tant enzymes involved in diges­tion, includ­ing pepsin and amy­lase.- See more at: http://livingsuperhuman.com/superhuman30-day-29-why-are-legumes-not-paleo/#comment-1089950010

          • Bob

            18. Feb, 2014

            Most legumes are extremely toxic in their raw state. ” Noone eats legumes in their raw state. This means NOTHING. Absolutely nothing.

            ” Lectins have been shown to strip away mucous from the small intes­tine, which is one of the key causes in many autoim­mune dis­eases.“
            Says absolutely NOTHING about the amounts used in tests or if theese results can be repli­cated by nor­mal eat­ing of legumes. Not very sci­en­tific.
            To clar­ify “LECTINS have been shown to…” as com­pared to “Eat­ing legumes have been shown to…” I pre­sume you can grasp the difference.

  30. Dan

    02. Jan, 2013

    You’re con­tra­dict­ing your­self. you say the fact that legumes need soak­ing is a rea­son to avoid them, but then you have end­less recipes that involve cook­ing (par­tic­u­larly meat). If our ances­tors ciuls cook they would also be able to soak things.

    • Andrew Frezza

      07. Jan, 2013

      Hey Dan! Thanks for the com­ment!  My point was that with­out these prepa­ra­tion steps, these foods are essen­tially ined­i­ble.  This is not true of meats and veg­gies, which can in fact be eaten raw.  

  31. B_stein

    23. Dec, 2012

    I guess I’m against demo­niz­ing cer­tain foods that most nutri­tion­ists would agree are healthy. Nuts, legumes, fruit, and whole grains for exam­ple. I think in mod­er­a­tion, any of those are fine. The big­ger pic­ture is our entire food sup­ply has been poisoned–

    Seafood– Mer­cury, farm-raised issues, other tox­ins
    Beef–  Grain fed, result­ing in a weird fat ratio, anti-biotics, inhu­mane liv­ing con­di­tions, dis­ease, growth hor­mones
    Veg­eta­bles– Toxic pes­ti­cides, GMO issues, poor nutri­ent con­tent due to mod­ern farm­ing styles

    I could list dozens more causes for con­cern, but I trust you are fol­low­ing me here. So to demo­nize a few rather innocu­ous foods, makes lit­tle sense to me.

    • Andrew Frezza

      07. Jan, 2013

      Thanks for the com­ment B_stein! My goal was not to demo­nize legumes, sim­ply state my case for why I don’t eat them very often!  To me, this is mod­er­a­tion, but I know that we all view “mod­er­a­tion” dif­fer­ently.  I also agree with you on many of the other cat­e­gories of foods that you pre­sented and we try to cover those issues in other posts on the blog.  We sim­ply have to make the best deci­sion for our­selves based on the infor­ma­tion we have seen and expe­ri­enced, and for me this means lim­it­ing my legume intake and try­ing to avoid whole grains altogether.  

  32. Hannah Nunnally

    14. Nov, 2012

    Would you rec­om­mend some­one in a highly phys­i­cal job to eat some legumes for energy based on their high car­bo­hy­drate levels?

    • Tony Frezza

      20. Nov, 2012

      I strongly rec­om­mend any­one look­ing to keep their energy lev­els up in a phys­i­cal work envi­ron­ment make a great effort to get their body run­ning on healthy fat, or “keto-adapted” as they call it. Your body and brain burn fat more effi­ciently and it can store a ton more fat, or ketones, than glyco­gen (from carbs).  You will find that your brain works incred­i­bly and that your energy stays high through the day, all while keep­ing hunger crav­ings at bay because you aren’t even lis­ten­ing to those stu­pid sugar crav­ings to feed the glyco­gen stores any­more. You are eat­ing healthy fats like grass-fed but­ter, coconut oil, nuts high in omega-3s, fish, olive oil. I don’t want to rec­om­mend how you can get by with legumes and proper prepa­ra­tion, I’d rather intro­duce you to super­hu­man feel­ing that you can have when you adapt your body.  By the way, it takes about two weeks of eat­ing high fat, low carb to become adapted. And then  every­one at work will be ask­ing you “how the hell do you do it?” :)

  33. Fakexxplasticxxlove

    05. Nov, 2012

    I totally agree with you! Mediter­ranean diets were men­tioned, and some of the health­i­est people/civilizations in the world eat mainly beans and whole grains.

    • Tony Frezza

      06. Nov, 2012

      Are they eat­ing the same beans and whole grains devel­oped with the help of chem­i­cals, fer­til­iz­ers, and pes­ti­cides? You are not com­par­ing apples to apples.

      • helen

        15. Jan, 2013

         Good point — but you’ll notice that isn’t once men­tioned in the above article.

    • Jello

      05. Apr, 2013

      You’re going to have to source that claim, because that can’t be true. Grains are one of the most unhealthy things human beings can eat. There’s no way the health­i­est civ­i­liza­tions were eat­ing mostly beans and grains.

      • rice

        26. Jun, 2013

        Grains are not unhealthy at all. In fact, most ancient civ­i­liza­tions and lots of Asian cul­tures con­sume grains (e.g. rice, barley,…etc.) on a daily basis. They a

        • BarryTurner

          16. Oct, 2013

          Grains are unhealthy. Even beans are. If you look at their ridicu­lous carb con­tent and the way they affect the body, you would see. Both have a detri­men­tal effect on the diges­tive sys­tem. Just because you “feel okay” after years of eat­ing them, it doesn’t mean they are healthy. You haven’t reached the age of 100 yet. And I guar­an­tee that if you make it to 70, you will be cut­ting out beans. My par­ents and grand­par­ents all can­not have those things at their age. But they can have any­thing from the Paleo diet. Get it?

          • Mel

            18. Dec, 2013

            Let’s see what East Asia, with the high­est healthy old-age pop­u­la­tion and a diet con­tain­ing plenty of grain+legume con­sump­tion, has to say about that…

          • Storm

            15. Jul, 2014


      • Storm

        15. Jul, 2014

        The dif­fer­ence is we con­sume to much grains and legumes…the east­ern­ers know a great deal about con­trol­ling their por­tions. A diet as a whole is based on bal­ance as well as the nutri­tion pro­vided from the food source. They ate small por­tions, what do Amer­i­cans do? Over-consume (the real cul­prit of many health problems)…and com­bine the wrong foods for a big­ger mess to your intesti­nal tract..digestive overloads..

        • Storm

          15. Jul, 2014

          Yea lets look at legumes and for­get the other parts of diet­ing, like drink­ing water…eating impor­tant veg­eta­bles, not just look­ing for good sources of fiber, but excel­lent sources for fer­men­ta­tion in the diges­tive tract…

          How could legumes alone be any good? What are you eat­ing with it and how much are you con­sum­ing? That is the real ques­tion. Mex­i­cans were men­tioned in this article..yet Mex­i­cans overeat cer­tain amounts of legumes..

          Grains are healthy if eaten in a bal­anced way.

  34. Angela Coleman

    01. Nov, 2012

    Your site is an inspi­ra­tion to me and my fam­ily. My life has been a yoyo. I have gained and lost weight all my life. I am a reg­is­tered nurse with an MBA. At 47 years old, you think I would get it. I have never been obese, but carry 10 — 20 extra pounds. I want to clean up my diet and exer­cise lifestyle for me and be a role model for my chil­dren. After all, we learn from our par­ents. It is never too late, how­ever, I do not want to spend another day miss­ing a work out and eat­ing junk. We are what we eat. Peo­ple want to find the cure for can­cer. The answer starts with what we feed our bod­ies that our cells build them­selves on. I want to be a great role model. It starts right now.

    • Tony Frezza

      06. Nov, 2012

      Thank you Angela! Your kind words are an inspi­ra­tion to us. Being a nurse, I’m sure you’ve seen first hand the declin­ing health of our coun­try. Declin­ing health that “just hap­pens” with age…   but it doesn’t have to be that way. We have to find the answers more through nutri­tion and less through phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals. We hope to show that to you and you can pass it on to your fam­ily and patients. Thank you. –Tony

  35. Herp Derp

    22. Oct, 2012

    Rats do not equal human beings; tests done on ani­mals can pro­duce errors in research. There’s also this lit­tle thing called food syn­ergy — your body is a chem­i­cal engine, and when the chem­i­cals and enzymes from mul­ti­ple foods are com­bined in the stom­ach, they can act on on each other. A good exam­ple is avo­cado + tomato or car­rot — avo­cado increases lycopene absorp­tion in both veg­gies. Legumes, when com­bined with other herbs, oils, veg­gies or meats, may not have the same effect as beans eaten alone.

  36. IndianDude

    10. Oct, 2012

    One star­tling fact is that human breast milk con­tains no fiber at all.  If fiber was so nec­es­sary to our health, why wouldn’t we require it dur­ing our most impor­tant devel­op­ing years?”

    Wrong con­clu­sion!
    When babies are born, their stom­ach is a size of a mar­ble. Do you think their diges­tion is strong enough to deal with fiber. And that applies to all her­biv­o­rous animals.

    Whole arti­cle seems to have been writ­ten to jus­tify one fal­lacy that legumes are bad for you. Really? East Indi­ans have been eat­ing legume cur­ries for cen­turies — they didn’t have mod­ern dis­eases until about 30 years or so ago.

    • Tony Frezza

      11. Oct, 2012

      The last sen­tence you wrote proves our point exactly. Mod­ern legumes and most of our mod­ern food is not the same as it once was. The west­ern­iz­ing of cer­tain cul­tures’ diets that use to be free of dis­ease are prov­ing right in front of our faces how impor­tant the diet-disease con­nec­tion is. 

      • Freda

        30. Oct, 2013

        Around 30 years or so was the intro­duc­tion of over­refined sugar — things like coke, candy, potato chips.

      • Mel

        18. Dec, 2013

        Take it from some­one who’s spent her whole life in the East-Indian region, the bad health of the peo­ple in the recent decades has every­thing to do with poverty and very lit­tle to do with their diet pat­tern (besides the lack of it due to poverty!).

        My grand­par­ents grew up on grains and legumes, and were so much health­ier and stronger than peo­ple of my generation.

  37. guest

    27. Aug, 2012

    The links to stud­ies go to a page that requires login? and the link to a book goes to ama­zon not the study you ref­er­ence. Though some of your infor­ma­tion appears log­i­cal it is not suf­fi­ciently sup­ported. This reads like a Fad Diet.

    • Andrew

      31. Aug, 2012

      I checked most of the links and couldnt find what you were refer­ring to with the logins. Which spe­cific links did you have prob­lems with? The one link does go to the per­fect health diet on Ama­zon because thats where it is ref­er­enced from and I couldnt find the spe­cific study they were ref­er­enc­ing online. I will say that I think legumes and most dairy prod­ucts can fall into a grey area for most peo­ple, although it shouldnt make up the bulk of one’s diet. Eat­ing real food is not a fad though.

    • Tony Frezza

      11. Oct, 2012

      You don’t have to login to view any extra infor­ma­tion through the links. The “Per­fect Health Diet” link is under­lin­ing the book, there­fore tak­ing you to view the book on Ama­zon (no study ref­er­enced). We def­i­nitely rec­om­mend buy­ing this book for the suf­fi­cient infor­ma­tion you seek. 

  38. Tenuod888

    30. Jun, 2012

    Are there any reli­able stud­ies done to prove legumes are unhealthy in the long run? I know that mediter­ranean diets includes lots of legumes (and have for many years) and stud­ies have shown that mediter­ranean peo­ple are nei­ther over­weight nor are there many health prob­lems, such as heart dis­ease and can­cer, when com­pared to peo­ple of other countries.

    Legumes also have many health ben­e­fits so why not talk about both the ben­e­fits and neg­a­tives to make the arti­cle more bal­anced. They are high in pro­tein, iron, fiber and many other vit­a­mins. Why not also talk about how they can help your health if you cook them and get rid of any sup­posed “toxics”.

    • Andrew Frezza

      12. Jul, 2012

      I don’t think there are any reli­able stud­ies to prove any spe­cific foods are unhealthy in the long run. There are so many fac­tors that go into one’s health that you can’t really sep­a­rate a sin­gle vari­able over a long period of time. The stud­ies that do try to do this usu­ally have seri­ous flaws.

      I didn’t mean for this post to be an attack on legumes, just an expla­na­tion for why most paleo fol­low­ers will avoid them, and why they are nei­ther a sta­ple in my diet or some­thing that I make a fuss about avoid­ing either. I think they are a gray area in the paleo world for the most part.

      I think you are cor­rect in point­ing out the poten­tial ben­e­fits of legumes but I also think that addi­tional fiber beyond fruits and veg­eta­bles is unnec­ces­sary, iron absorb­tion is likely blocked by the phytic acid in the legumes, your bet­ter off get­ting com­plete pro­teins from ani­mal prod­ucts, and lean meats, seafood, fruits and veg­eta­bles, are all bet­ter sources of vit­a­mins and minerals.

    • Tony Frezza

      11. Oct, 2012

      When peo­ple sug­gest try­ing to find long term stud­ies, I like to refer to the largest, ongo­ing pool of study par­tic­i­pants and that is the cur­rent state of our health here in the U.S. We’ve been watch­ing it decline dras­ti­cally for decades while still pro­mot­ing the same fal­lac­ies. Our beans and wheat prod­ucts, and yes they are mostly prod­ucts engi­neered by white lab coats, are way dif­fer­ent than the beans or bread that was eaten in the Medit­ter­rean 100 years ago. A lot of Euro­pean places still have real qual­ity food, but the fact is it’s hard to find here in the U.S. and we don’t eat real food any­more. We talked about the ben­e­fits but can’t find enough ben­e­fits per­son­ally to eat them ourselves. 

      • tomblakeslee

        26. Jul, 2013

        Very unsci­en­tific. Many things have changed for the worst. How can you be so sure it was the beans and wheat?

  39. Memaw

    28. Jun, 2012

    Nice write up

    • Andrew Frezza

      12. Jul, 2012

      Thanks Memaw!

    • Tony Frezza

      11. Oct, 2012

      Thank you!

      • Ambush_Bug

        17. Jun, 2013

        Human beings are omniv­o­rous which is why we have man­aged to sur­vive so long in so many var­i­ous cli­mates and con­di­tions. Over time too much of any­thing can kill you but usu­ally we live long enough in our given envi­ron­ments long enough to pro­cre­ate and raise our chil­dren to an age where they are self sufficient.

        • Tony Frezza

          21. Jun, 2013

          Very well put! I like the idea of fol­low­ing the mantra that “it was so easy a cave­man did it”. Not…“it was so smart a sci­en­tist cre­ated it.”

          • Ambush_Bug

            22. Jun, 2013

            I like that say­ing. It’s also good to note that based on our genetic her­itage and ori­gins, our bod­ies can be adapted dif­fer­ently in how we metab­o­lize foods and which foods are most ben­e­fi­cial to us based on blood type, etc. Not every­one is the same.

            Know what makes you feel right. If you feel like sleep­ing instead of walk­ing after eat­ing a meal, it prob­a­bly isn’t what you should be eat­ing. Know the ben­e­fits and dan­gers of what you put in your body and make informed choices.

            I grew up in a veg­e­tar­ian home but in adult­hood eat chicken and wild fish a cou­ple of times per week and red meat a few times per year. I used to eat more grass fed beef until I learned about frack­ing and toxic envi­ron­men­tal changes in the rural United States.

            One thing is uni­ver­sal … processed foods are unnat­ural. A few years ago I stopped buy­ing bars … fiber bars, pro­tein bars, break­fast bars … all full of sugar and addi­tives and processed in a fac­tory. I started buy­ing more fruit and almond but­ter. Apples and almond but­ter, bananas and almond but­ter … more pro­tein, no sucrose, no addi­tives, and so good. Throw a few raw oats on it and feel alert and ener­gized … not sugar/chemical dazed.

          • Pat Mone

            04. Jul, 2013

            I’d love to eat a totally veg­e­tar­ian diet, but I tried it for a year and my blood tests came out ter­ri­ble, and I gained a ton of weight. I began sub­sti­tut­ing breads, grains, and beans to fill me up. Unfor­tu­nately, all i ended up with was a “full tank of gas” all the time. I still eat the same amount of veg­eta­bles, nuts and seeds, I just removed all grain and legumes, and it was just amaz­ing how my gas tank is now on “empty”. Giv­ing it a 6 month trial to see how I make out. Then I will intro­duce non-gluten grains back in to deter­mine if it was the grains or the gluten. Beans, I don’t think I can ever eat with­out gas. :( Too bad I like them. I guess like what was said every­one is dif­fer­ent and we have to find the health eat­ing bal­ance that works for us.

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