There is a lot of conflicting information about eating legumes, also known as beans, peanuts, alfalfa sprouts. When I first started to heal myself with food, I followed a strict Paleo diet which eliminated all legumes and beans. As I’ve come to personalize my nutrition for my body, I’ve found that I can eat some types of beans and peas, and cannot tolerate white beans. If you are considering adding or eliminating legumes, here are the things to know:
- Legumes are not essential to human health. Humans only started eating legumes and beans 10,000 years ago. We started eating meat 2.5 million years ago.
- Legumes are not very nutrient dense and eating a lot of them should not replace more nutrient-dense foods like meat, fish, and shellfish.
- Legumes are a source of protein but plant protein is not as good of a source as animal protein. Adults are required to eat 60 – 90 grams of protein a day. To fulfill this requirement, you would have to eat 3 cups of beans with 100 grams of carbs to equal 6 oz of meat with 0 grams of carbs. Eating this any beans and carbs would require a lot of planning and effort, and would be more then the average person could handle.
- Legumes contain plant proteins which have very little leucine, the amino acid needed to build muscle. Animal protein is the best source of leucine, and this is very important because as we get older the loss of muscle is a primary cause of accelerated aging and disease.
- Legumes contain proteins called lectins that can cause leaky gut, inflammation, and all kinds of other problems. Many people can tolerate beans because the majority of these harmful lectins are destroyed by heat and cooking, and lectins also bind to sugar so they are prevented from entering our bloodstream. Peanut lectin is an excption because a lot of people eat peanuts raw and peanut butter. (ex: peanut butter). You will be introducing the foods you have eliminated (gluten, dairy, legumes, etc) one by one after the Whole30 and this is the best way to see if you show symptoms of not tolerating legumes.
Hope this was helpful,