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.

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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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  • mike

    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.

  • Jon

    Yes this is dumb. Another Jon.

  • Bob

    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

      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.

  • Bob

    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.

  • Cheyenne

    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.

  • Jim Allen

    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.

  • baby carrotz

    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.

  • lucy

    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.

  • Guest

    Peanuts are a legume moron

  • biomom92

    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.

  • Mel

    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

  • BarryTurner

    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

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

      • Doone00

        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).

  • googoodolls

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

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004136259378 Rachel Mackneer

    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?

    • http://www.livingsuperhuman.com/ Tony Frezza

      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

        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.

        • http://www.livingsuperhuman.com/ Tony Frezza

          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

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

    • Doone00

      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.

  • mishmash

    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

  • Tmingi

    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

      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.

    • http://www.livingsuperhuman.com/ Tony Frezza

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

    • Sue

      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.

  • Done with it all

    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.

    • http://www.livingsuperhuman.com/ Tony Frezza

      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

      here here , what is there left to eat sigh

    • Steve

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

  • http://www.facebook.com/georgie430 Denise Kowalchuk Salome

    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

    • http://www.livingsuperhuman.com/ Tony Frezza

      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

  • Mark Wood

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

    • http://www.livingsuperhuman.com/ Tony Frezza

      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

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

  • Jello

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

  • Jello

    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

      Yep, the author of this article is definitely delusional.

  • Dee

    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

      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

      Exactly!

  • Roudnitska

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

  • spamandegg

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

  • Guest

    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?

  • Hauntedby11

    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

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

      • http://www.livingsuperhuman.com/ Tony Frezza

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

      • jcolson1027

        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

          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

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

  • Helen

    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

      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

        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.

        • http://www.livingsuperhuman.com/ Tony Frezza

          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

            “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.

  • Dan

    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.

    • http://www.facebook.com/andrew.frezza Andrew Frezza

      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.  

  • B_stein

    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.

    • http://www.facebook.com/andrew.frezza Andrew Frezza

      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.  

  • Hannah Nunnally

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

    • http://www.livingsuperhuman.com/ Tony Frezza

      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?” :)

  • Fakexxplasticxxlove

    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.

    • http://www.livingsuperhuman.com/ Tony Frezza

      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

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

    • Jello

      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

        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

          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

            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

            Agreed.

      • Storm

        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

          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.

  • Angela Coleman

    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.
    Thanks,
    Angela

    • http://www.livingsuperhuman.com/ Tony Frezza

      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

  • Herp Derp

    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.

  • IndianDude

    “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.

    • http://www.livingsuperhuman.com/ Tony Frezza

      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

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

      • Mel

        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.

  • guest

    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

      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.

    • http://www.livingsuperhuman.com/ Tony Frezza

      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. 

  • Tenuod888

    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”.

    • http://www.livingsuperhuman.com Andrew Frezza

      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.

    • http://www.livingsuperhuman.com/ Tony Frezza

      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

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

  • Memaw

    Nice write up

    • http://www.livingsuperhuman.com Andrew Frezza

      Thanks Memaw!

    • http://www.livingsuperhuman.com/ Tony Frezza

      Thank you!

      • Ambush_Bug

        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.

        • http://www.livingsuperhuman.com/ Tony Frezza

          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

            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

            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.