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Why are Legumes not Paleo?

by (22913)
Updated September 16, 2014 at 7:15 PM
Created September 28, 2010 at 5:11 PM

The base answer I can find revolves around phytic acid and lectins...

Which rings true because these chelate minerals , niacin deficiency etc... Until we look at approved Paleo..

Veggies = lectins and antinutrients, different ones leech different things, but for most, the benefits outweigh the risks

Nuts/Seeds, just as much phytic Acid/lectin load as legumes, poor O6 profile, but Still recommended.

So why are legumes ousted with similar makeup to nuts seeds? Surely something makes them different...

Now certain legumes are crazy bad(soy), but all?

B1859f696e88d25460a6b8a333412ea3
827 · July 26, 2011 at 5:38 PM

I think you've just created a new verse of lyrics for the Daft Punk song > Harder Better Faster Stronger.

535633b57c4a4940d1e913e7a12ee791
1033 · April 17, 2011 at 4:11 PM

Nicole, Coffee is a berry, the fruit is removed and what is left is the coffee bean, which is really a seed.

034c678bff434ab3781e3f1771018af9
279 · January 07, 2011 at 9:06 PM

Yes. Acid-base is monkey-poo. Plus, meat is much more acidifying than are beans.

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20411 · October 18, 2010 at 2:50 PM

Okay, not legumes, but I don't think anyone is arguing that they are Paleo! That said, I doubt I will give either up - maybe try to cut down a little...

Da397846a2cfad231a1122126bb6eda7
227 · October 14, 2010 at 9:08 PM

"coffee and chocolate are beans and therefore verboten" Uh-uh. Nope. Incorrect. They aren't legumes, they are unrelated trees, even though their seeds do resemble beans. Vanilla "beans" aren't legumes either (they're orchid pods). I've always enjoyed eating flowers.....

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20411 · October 08, 2010 at 4:13 PM

Acid/Base balance? Isn't that theory just a load of monkey-poo?

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2119 · September 30, 2010 at 11:20 AM

I have not noticed the effect from nuts, but I don't sit down and eat 1/3 c. of nuts either. I don't eat nuts every day because I find they fatten me up, and I'm concerned about the Omega-6 in everything but Macadamias. The problem with Macs is that, like any nearly 100% fat thing (heavy cream, coconut cream, the cooked fat on a ribeye), I don't really have an off switch. Protein is what makes me feel full - not fat. Also, I think I'm the only Paleotype who doesn't like nut butters!

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3651 · September 29, 2010 at 11:15 PM

and they make my tummy sad.

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678 · September 29, 2010 at 9:16 PM

precooked beans in a can are not a healthy food, period. i rarely eat beans, but if i do i soak them for 8+ hours which not only reduces lectins but also the sugars that make them so.. problematic.

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22913 · September 29, 2010 at 8:35 PM

Most Chocolate is fermented. Do nuts have the same affect on you as beans if you eat the same quantity?

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22913 · September 29, 2010 at 8:34 PM

I'm against nuts. But the mainstay of paleo is meat veggies fruit nuts and seeds avoid grains and legumes... There's gotta be a reason why nuts and seeds are ok but legumes are not besides carbs

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19220 · September 29, 2010 at 7:23 PM

Lectins are found in pretty much everything.

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20411 · September 29, 2010 at 1:52 PM

NBS - You are correct. Don't know why Dr. Kurt gives no love to the watermelon. It is the same ratio (2:1) of fructose/glucose as many other fruits like apples and pears - maybe that *is* the point. Most berries are 1:1 or less.

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20411 · September 29, 2010 at 1:43 PM

ω−6 - found it! Uncle H. - So you eat the sprouted beans, not just sprouts. Okay, I think I get it now...

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148 · September 29, 2010 at 1:23 PM

Hey Dave S. - if you sprout a bean, and eat the bean + sprout, I think you are still eating a bean. One that is less irritating and more easily digested.

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4896 · September 28, 2010 at 10:21 PM

beans have to be cooked for hours, meat could be thrown on fire and ready in a few minutes.

B3c62d89cd47b7d7209b6a99243d0ded
10768 · September 28, 2010 at 8:11 PM

Ω i found this under Edit/Special Char... in firefox on my Mac

Efc949694a31043bfce9ec86e8235cd7
970 · September 28, 2010 at 7:08 PM

Nuts = Higher n6 PUFA load = Potentially more inflammation Proceed with caution, balance with n3 and SFA (coco, tallow, lard).

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3651 · September 28, 2010 at 7:07 PM

not sure there are bad lectins in tree nuts. i thought it was just in peanuts which are beans.

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717 · September 28, 2010 at 6:56 PM

Re Step 10, watermelon is certainly not "pure fructose": http://thepaleodiet.com/nutritional_tools/fruits_table.html

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20411 · September 28, 2010 at 6:17 PM

I'm not sure nuts are *so* recommended. Again, quoting Dr. Harris on what he eats: "limited pecans, almonds and walnuts - not for health just for flavor."

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20411 · September 28, 2010 at 6:04 PM

I don't know if they are the same, but lectins are proteins and there are many of them. WGA is a wheat lectin and is especially nasty.

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20411 · September 28, 2010 at 6:01 PM

Sprouts are not beans, they are vegetables!

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1409 · September 28, 2010 at 5:56 PM

Nuts often ARE eliminated for those who show specific issues with gut lining integrity. I question why we eat them sometimes, but they're darned tasty and have a really high caloric load with minimal glycemic load-- one big difference and maybe why paleo man would make the effort to eat them vs beans?

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22913 · September 28, 2010 at 5:55 PM

Are these not the same lectins found in nuts/seeds tho?

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22913 · September 28, 2010 at 5:53 PM

Understood that's why the phytates, lectins, but then why aren't nuts seeds also eliminated?

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148 · September 28, 2010 at 5:50 PM

You don't have to cook legumes - you can sprout them as well. If properly prepared (soaked, sprouted, fermented) and then cooked (or not), then might they be ok?

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20411 · September 28, 2010 at 5:50 PM

I'm still searching my keyboard for the cute little omega symbol!

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4
20411 · September 28, 2010 at 5:49 PM

Man, I gotta stop injecting my knees with that stuff!

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1409 · September 28, 2010 at 5:41 PM

Also, when abbreviating Omega 6, we science nerds call it n6 or n-6 :) I avoid most nuts and seeds regularly for the same reason... besides the fat content that I just don't need...

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1409 · September 28, 2010 at 5:41 PM

Also, when abbreviating Omega 6, we science nerds call it n6 :) I avoid most nuts and seeds regularly for the same reason... besides the fat content that I just don't need...

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1409 · September 28, 2010 at 5:40 PM

I actually sort of believe that philosophy... if it HAS to be cooked it's not paleo. I add the "heat it" part of my equation below for example, but I don't believe we NEED to heat most meat or veggies at all before eating them.

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20411 · September 28, 2010 at 5:39 PM

Yeah, I know. I'm not perfect - yet!

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1409 · September 28, 2010 at 5:39 PM

The gut irritation that comes along with beans is not necessarily the same as other veggies. Beans are the seed of the plant and want to battle being eaten/digested in a way that's not the same as other vegetables that may contain seeds but we're eating much more than the seeds in them. Besides the whole glycemic load factor... this is why I avoid beans for the most part.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1
22913 · September 28, 2010 at 5:35 PM

Peanuts = Aflatoxins = cancer http://www.marksdailyapple.com/aflatoxins-or-another-reason-to-shun-peanuts/

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1409 · September 28, 2010 at 5:35 PM

Really, have you ever picked a black bean and then eaten it?

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22913 · September 28, 2010 at 5:32 PM

Looking for understanding, not necc approval

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22913 · September 28, 2010 at 5:31 PM

You can pick heat and eat beans...and the lectin load is similar to many veggies and most all nuts/seeds

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22913 · September 28, 2010 at 5:29 PM

Eww...fauxmeatfail

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3651 · September 28, 2010 at 5:27 PM

because if we approve legumes, we wont be able to contain our urges to eat veggie burgers!

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6082 · September 28, 2010 at 5:20 PM

Be careful, the paleo gestapo will jump on you if you ask to many questions about legumes. It might "confuse" the new people. lol

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22913 · September 28, 2010 at 5:19 PM

The main difference seems to be starch

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8 Answers

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4
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20411 · September 28, 2010 at 5:32 PM

It's step 11 of the 12 step plan from Dr. Harris at PaNu - so I take it as somewhat optional. Even he doesn't do step 12.

http://www.paleonu.com/get-started/

"If you can do step 1, that is about 50% of the benefit and alone a huge improvement on the standard american diet (SAD) By about step 6 you are at about 75% , by step 9 about 80% and at 10 you are at 99% for most people." - Dr. Harris

Furthermore, coffee and chocolate are beans and therefore verboten. However, many of us "cheat" daily with at least one of these (coffee for me).

I'm also thinking that anything that makes me fart isn't digesting well and perhaps should be avoided. You may be right - too high in starch?

Again, I mostly avoid, but don't worry about having some now and then. I'm kind of getting to be the same with nuts - the O6 scares me a little.

As an aside - I love peanuts - but when I eat them, I eat a lot and then I feel kinda crappy. I was so sad to find out that they are legumes...

Perhaps if it HAS to be cooked to eat it, it's not Paleo?

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4
20411 · October 18, 2010 at 2:50 PM

Okay, not legumes, but I don't think anyone is arguing that they are Paleo! That said, I doubt I will give either up - maybe try to cut down a little...

Da397846a2cfad231a1122126bb6eda7
227 · October 14, 2010 at 9:08 PM

"coffee and chocolate are beans and therefore verboten" Uh-uh. Nope. Incorrect. They aren't legumes, they are unrelated trees, even though their seeds do resemble beans. Vanilla "beans" aren't legumes either (they're orchid pods). I've always enjoyed eating flowers.....

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4
20411 · September 29, 2010 at 1:52 PM

NBS - You are correct. Don't know why Dr. Kurt gives no love to the watermelon. It is the same ratio (2:1) of fructose/glucose as many other fruits like apples and pears - maybe that *is* the point. Most berries are 1:1 or less.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4
20411 · September 29, 2010 at 1:43 PM

ω−6 - found it! Uncle H. - So you eat the sprouted beans, not just sprouts. Okay, I think I get it now...

461281c9092d3cb306b46831064e2fc4
148 · September 29, 2010 at 1:23 PM

Hey Dave S. - if you sprout a bean, and eat the bean + sprout, I think you are still eating a bean. One that is less irritating and more easily digested.

B3c62d89cd47b7d7209b6a99243d0ded
10768 · September 28, 2010 at 8:11 PM

Ω i found this under Edit/Special Char... in firefox on my Mac

211d4075d68b24cd0aa7ebfa94262bb9
717 · September 28, 2010 at 6:56 PM

Re Step 10, watermelon is certainly not "pure fructose": http://thepaleodiet.com/nutritional_tools/fruits_table.html

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4
20411 · September 28, 2010 at 6:01 PM

Sprouts are not beans, they are vegetables!

461281c9092d3cb306b46831064e2fc4
148 · September 28, 2010 at 5:50 PM

You don't have to cook legumes - you can sprout them as well. If properly prepared (soaked, sprouted, fermented) and then cooked (or not), then might they be ok?

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4
20411 · September 28, 2010 at 5:50 PM

I'm still searching my keyboard for the cute little omega symbol!

4a1966b5bc00a9aefd3abd63b9913284
1409 · September 28, 2010 at 5:41 PM

Also, when abbreviating Omega 6, we science nerds call it n6 or n-6 :) I avoid most nuts and seeds regularly for the same reason... besides the fat content that I just don't need...

4a1966b5bc00a9aefd3abd63b9913284
1409 · September 28, 2010 at 5:41 PM

Also, when abbreviating Omega 6, we science nerds call it n6 :) I avoid most nuts and seeds regularly for the same reason... besides the fat content that I just don't need...

4a1966b5bc00a9aefd3abd63b9913284
1409 · September 28, 2010 at 5:40 PM

I actually sort of believe that philosophy... if it HAS to be cooked it's not paleo. I add the "heat it" part of my equation below for example, but I don't believe we NEED to heat most meat or veggies at all before eating them.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4
20411 · September 28, 2010 at 5:39 PM

Yeah, I know. I'm not perfect - yet!

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1
22913 · September 28, 2010 at 5:35 PM

Peanuts = Aflatoxins = cancer http://www.marksdailyapple.com/aflatoxins-or-another-reason-to-shun-peanuts/

4a1966b5bc00a9aefd3abd63b9913284
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1409 · September 28, 2010 at 5:22 PM

It tends to be a question of lectin content but my philosophy is this:

Can you........pick it > cut it > heat it > eat it?
Or can you... kill it > cut it > heat it > eat it?

B1859f696e88d25460a6b8a333412ea3
827 · July 26, 2011 at 5:38 PM

I think you've just created a new verse of lyrics for the Daft Punk song > Harder Better Faster Stronger.

A68f24168bc0de414a038037e287b581
4896 · September 28, 2010 at 10:21 PM

beans have to be cooked for hours, meat could be thrown on fire and ready in a few minutes.

Efc949694a31043bfce9ec86e8235cd7
970 · September 28, 2010 at 7:08 PM

Nuts = Higher n6 PUFA load = Potentially more inflammation Proceed with caution, balance with n3 and SFA (coco, tallow, lard).

4a1966b5bc00a9aefd3abd63b9913284
1409 · September 28, 2010 at 5:56 PM

Nuts often ARE eliminated for those who show specific issues with gut lining integrity. I question why we eat them sometimes, but they're darned tasty and have a really high caloric load with minimal glycemic load-- one big difference and maybe why paleo man would make the effort to eat them vs beans?

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1
22913 · September 28, 2010 at 5:53 PM

Understood that's why the phytates, lectins, but then why aren't nuts seeds also eliminated?

4a1966b5bc00a9aefd3abd63b9913284
1409 · September 28, 2010 at 5:39 PM

The gut irritation that comes along with beans is not necessarily the same as other veggies. Beans are the seed of the plant and want to battle being eaten/digested in a way that's not the same as other vegetables that may contain seeds but we're eating much more than the seeds in them. Besides the whole glycemic load factor... this is why I avoid beans for the most part.

4a1966b5bc00a9aefd3abd63b9913284
1409 · September 28, 2010 at 5:35 PM

Really, have you ever picked a black bean and then eaten it?

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22913 · September 28, 2010 at 5:31 PM

You can pick heat and eat beans...and the lectin load is similar to many veggies and most all nuts/seeds

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5949 · September 28, 2010 at 9:17 PM

As I understand it, the lectins in beans are destroyed by thorough cooking, with pressure cookers being particularly effective at destroying them. That said, I'm certainly not going to go back to eating them as a staple food, but I do enjoy them and eat them once in a while.

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3651 · September 28, 2010 at 5:43 PM

Beans are Bad for a few reasons:

  • They are acidic and throw off the acid / base balance.
  • Their lectins promote gut permeability.
  • Their lectins promote bad gut flora.

Scary article from Cordain on Legume lectins:

Because dietary lectins are able to cross the gastrointestinal barrier rapidly and enter the circulation intact (Pusztai et al. 1989), they may also be able to interact directly with synovial tissues. Although not a characteristic model of RA with all of its symptoms, a rabbit model of arthritis has shown that the direct injection of legume-derived dietary lectins into the knee joint induces the development of severe arthritis. Specifically, single injections of Lens culinaris lectin (derived from lentils), Pisum sativum lectin (derived from peas), or the lectin concanavalin A derived from the jack bean (Canavalia ensiformis) were able to induce severe arthritis characterized by an amplification of the initial inflammatory response due to T-lymphocyte stimulation (Brauer et al. 1985). Source: "Modulation of immune function by dietary lectins in rheumatoid arthritis,"

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279 · January 07, 2011 at 9:06 PM

Yes. Acid-base is monkey-poo. Plus, meat is much more acidifying than are beans.

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20411 · October 08, 2010 at 4:13 PM

Acid/Base balance? Isn't that theory just a load of monkey-poo?

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3651 · September 29, 2010 at 11:15 PM

and they make my tummy sad.

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19220 · September 29, 2010 at 7:23 PM

Lectins are found in pretty much everything.

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3651 · September 28, 2010 at 7:07 PM

not sure there are bad lectins in tree nuts. i thought it was just in peanuts which are beans.

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20411 · September 28, 2010 at 6:04 PM

I don't know if they are the same, but lectins are proteins and there are many of them. WGA is a wheat lectin and is especially nasty.

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22913 · September 28, 2010 at 5:55 PM

Are these not the same lectins found in nuts/seeds tho?

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20411 · September 28, 2010 at 5:49 PM

Man, I gotta stop injecting my knees with that stuff!

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2119 · September 29, 2010 at 8:20 PM

I've tried properly prepared legumes again recently after a long absence, and they just can't be a part of my diet. They are the only foods that give me heartburn, and they also cause lots of gas and bloating later down the line. If I eat them more regularly, I get obvious systemic inflammation.

Except for gluten, they are the only food that causes noticeable and immediate problems for me. I take this to mean that I need to kick them to the curb for good.

Being inflamed for three days is just not worth it eating pinto beans, much as I love them. There's lots of things I can eat that I love.

Also, I thought coffee was actually a berry, botanically speaking? And chocolate...pods/plants don't actually look like any of the other banned legumes.

Neither cause me any trouble at all, but maybe it's just quantity or processing, I don't know.

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1033 · April 17, 2011 at 4:11 PM

Nicole, Coffee is a berry, the fruit is removed and what is left is the coffee bean, which is really a seed.

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2119 · September 30, 2010 at 11:20 AM

I have not noticed the effect from nuts, but I don't sit down and eat 1/3 c. of nuts either. I don't eat nuts every day because I find they fatten me up, and I'm concerned about the Omega-6 in everything but Macadamias. The problem with Macs is that, like any nearly 100% fat thing (heavy cream, coconut cream, the cooked fat on a ribeye), I don't really have an off switch. Protein is what makes me feel full - not fat. Also, I think I'm the only Paleotype who doesn't like nut butters!

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22913 · September 29, 2010 at 8:35 PM

Most Chocolate is fermented. Do nuts have the same affect on you as beans if you eat the same quantity?

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1087 · September 24, 2013 at 2:32 AM

I don't think anyone answered the question. It might have to do with the fact that nuts can be eaten raw, but beans can not (without discomfort). But one still has to try everything. Me, I prefer steamed string beans to tomatoes or eggplants, I can eat two pounds of string beans in a sitting, no problem but one pound of tomatoes affect me. And I will always prefer fresh shelled beans, frozen until it is time (they are the best vegetable for freezing), cooked in some good broth, to any nut. These legumes at least are incredibly healthy.

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0 · September 23, 2013 at 4:40 PM

what do vegetarians eat. I am good. Do not like beans except green but no problem giving up. I love protein and veggies better

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143 · May 09, 2012 at 11:54 PM

So basically the peanuts and green beans I've been dreaming of are out huh? Dammit. And they seem like healthy foods!

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