Spill the Beans: Are They Healthy Or Not?

Spill the beans- are they healthy or not
Beans, Beans, good for your heart…

To quote a favorite saying among male classmates when I was in second grade. This quote claims that beans are good for your heart, among other things.

Not that we can put any stock in a childhood saying, of course, but the general consensus in the health community is that beans are, in general, a “health” food and that when combined with rice, form a perfect protein for vegetarians.

Beans show up in some form in many different cultures and countries, though preparation methods vary vastly. Americans, for our part, get most of our bean consumption from soy and soy products.

Peanuts, technically also a legume and not a nut, also make up a substantial part of our bean consumption, and are also a rapidly rising allergy, especially among children.

What’s In A Bean?

Beans contain a lot of soluble fiber, protein, carbohydrates, folate and iron. They also contain Lectins, which are also present in high amounts in grains. Because of their protein content, beans (legumes) often get a primary role in the diet of vegetarians, though not without cost.

The lectins in legumes are an important protective measure for the bean plant, and a potentially harmful one for humans. Before the dawn of genetically modified disease resistant soybeans (gee, thanks Monsanto) and their corresponding toxic pesticides and herbicides, legume plants were actually quite able to defend themselves.

What do Lectins Do?

Lectins are specific proteins that bind to carbohydrates, and exist in plants in varying levels as a protective mechanism. When animals who are not adapted to consuming particular types of lectins eat them, they will experience pain or death.

This reaction is not absent in humans, as I mentioned when I explained why grains can be so harmful. As Wikipedia explains, one example of lectin reaction in humans:

Some kinds of raw beans and especially red and kidney beans, contain a harmful toxin (the lectin Phytohaemagglutinin) that must be destroyed by cooking. A recommended method is to boil the beans for at least ten minutes; undercooked beans may be more toxic than raw beans.[8] Cooking beans in a slow cooker, because of the lower temperatures often used, may not destroy toxins even though the beans do not smell or taste ‘bad’[8] (though this should not be a problem if the food reaches boiling and stays there for some time).

At the extreme, lectins are potent enough to be a biological warfare agent as in the case of ricin. Ricin is a lectin isolated in the castor oil bean and it acts on certain protein cells, allowing the ricin to enter the cell and prevent protein synthesis, eventually leading to cell death.

Obviously, some lectins have more toxic effects than others, as evidenced by the example above, but all lectins have some effect on the body. This is the reason that grains, beans, and other lectin containing foods cannot be eaten raw.

Lectins are capable of harming the lining of the intestines, especially the microvilli. This happens when the lectins bind to the protein receptors in the intestinal lining, causing damage.

When the intestines are damaged, lectins, and the foods that they bind to, can pass through the intestinal wall and into the blood stream. These sticky molecules can then wreak havoc in the bloodstream.

Once lectins are floating around in the bloodstream, they can bind to any carbohydrate containing protein cells, including insulin and leptin receptors, desensitizing them. Without proper insulin and leptin function, problems like diabetes and metabolic syndrome can emerge. It is speculated that lectins may cause insulin and leptin resistance, two major factors in obesity and diabetes. As Whole Health Source explains:

What is not so speculative is that once you’re leptin-resistant, you become obese and insulin resistant, and at that point you are intolerant to any type of carbohydrate. This may explain the efficacy of carbohydrate restriction in weight loss and improving general health.

Wikipedia adds:

Lectin may cause leptin resistance, affecting its functions (signal have high levels of leptin and several effects gathering to protect from lipid overload), as indicated by studies on effects of single nucleotide polymorphisms on the function of leptin and the leptin receptor.[9]

Such leptin resistance may translate into diseases, notably it could be responsible for obesity in humans who have high levels of leptin.

Lectins also have the potential to bind to any carbohydrate containing tissue in the body, from the thyroid to the heart. (Maybe beans aren’t so good for the heart after all!). My personal theory is that sticky particles and pre-digested food floating around in the bloodstream does much more to clog arteries than slippery saturated fats, which get the bad rap!

So, lectins can contribute to disease and obesity when they pass through the intestinal wall and float through our bloodstream with other parts of pre-digested food. Personally,I’m not a big fan of the idea of partially digested food floating around in my blood, so is there a solution?

Reducing Lectin in Beans and Grains

I certainly don’t want to let beans take all the heat here! Grains contain just as high of levels of lectins and can wreak just as much havoc, if not more.

All plants, in fact, contain lectins in varying amounts. Grains and beans (especially soybeans and peanuts) have especially high concentrations, along with nuts, pasteurized dairy, and genetically modified foods.

The harmful effects of lectins (and phytic acid) can be mitigated some by using traditional methods of perpetration, like sprouting, fermenting, and soaking, though even these do not remove the lectins completely. Unfortunately, these methods are rarely practiced anymore, and grains in the processed forms we typically consume are little lectin powerhouses.

Over time, these lectins can cause serious damage to the intestinal lining and eventually cellular damage within the body.

What Level of Lectin Consumption is Safe?

This is a difficult question with no single answer. Certainly, if foods containing high levels of lectins are going to be consumed, traditional methods like soaking, fermenting, and sprouting should be used to minimize the lectin content.

My personal recommendation is the get rid of the highest sources of lectins and reduce the other sources if possible. From Wikipedia:

Foods with high concentrations of lectins, such as beans, cereal grains, seeds, and nuts, may be harmful if consumed in excess in uncooked or improperly cooked form. Adverse effects may include nutritional deficiencies, and immune (allergic) reactions7. Possibly, most effects of lectins are due to gastrointestinal distress through interaction of the lectins with the gut epithelial cells. A recent in vitro study has suggested that the mechanism of lectin damage may occur by interfering with the repair of already-damaged epithelial cells.8

Personally, I avoid the grains (and legumes except rare occasions), soak nuts overnight, and trust that the much lower levels in other plants won’t harm my intestines too much. Removing all processed and commercially prepared foods will remove the worst offenders: grains and soy.

If you are overweight or attempting to lose weight, a more stringent avoidance of lectins might be helpful. Since lectins can bind to leptin and insulin receptors, they can increase resistance to carbohydrates and cause weight gain or inability to lose weight.

For many, avoiding lectins, especially for a year or so, can help heal the intestinal lining, and facilitate weight loss, reduction of allergy symptoms, and other health improvements.

So, I guess second grade logic isn’t so solid after all…. beans aren’t necessarily good for the heart, though other parts of the saying still ring true!

Do you eat beans? If so, what kind(s)? Share below!

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Reader Comments

  1. What about buying canned organic black beans, rinsing them well and eating them heated? We avoid most grains and eat sprouted wheat bread, but we love black beans and include them in our meal rotation. I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Thank you!

  2. wow – this is really interesting – I have been eating a lot of nuts thinking they were good fat and low carb, but have been going a bit overboard and noticed I have begun to gain weight. What about hemp seeds? I find that I can limit myself to 3 T which is the recommended serving size – should these be soaked?

  3. Love this blog (although I am a fan of occasional grains – they are so tasty! – and eat a lot of lentils), but wikipedia as your main source? Really? Not to go all teacher-y on you here, but you’d be much more convincing if you cited studies directly.

    • Did you really not read anything above? Wik was not her main source….and she explains why she didn’t use studies

      I was not using wikipedia as a source for the claims I was making, just
      merely to illustrate that beans do indeed contain lectins (which is
      common information and is found in textbooks as well… they are just
      much harder to link to online). I don’t use Wikipedia to back any
      conclusions, just to illustrate points. For instance, wikipedia also
      says that there is folate in green leafy veggies (there is) and I don’t
      doubt that claim simply because it is on wikipedia. For instance, there’s
      evidence from sources that beans do, indeed, contain lectins.

      • This thread is over a year old. Not surprising they would be moved in that amount of time.

        • When something tends not to be true it gets removed over time

      • I find this amazing that you would bring out one point about beans they contain Lectins. but disregard the tons of information that is out there supporting the benefits of beans, black beans and lentils and Diabetes which are helpful to people with type 2 diabetes and weight loss of course your information is not proof of anything truthful if you don’t have a degree and a study to back up what you are telling your readers if your going to say stuff about beans then you had better have some kind of Doctors degree on Nutrition otherwise your not doing any favors to your readers. Spreading the wrong information out weights the benefits of the right information. Here are links that do work Thanks 😀 http://nutritionfacts.org/video/beans-and-the-second-meal-effect/

        • Hi Lucie… thanks for reading. I actually do have a degree in nutrition and while beans can have some healthy components, especially if soaked and properly prepared, they do in fact have lectins which can be very problematic for some people. For instance, I have an autoimmune disease and eating beans can cause me to have gastro and skin symptoms for days. Incidentally, an autoimmune diet can also be extremely helpful for someone with diabetes (no beans needed). Do you find it a conflict of interest at all that one of your sources is the Beans Institute, which would seem to have a slight vested interest in proclaiming the benefits of beans?

          • Hi there,
            Great posts, I am sorry to see the negative comments here. You are absolutely right about lectins in beans which can certainly wreak havoc particularly if one has an autoimmune disease. Keep up the great work and thanks for your info here! 🙂


          • Hi Guys,

            Let’s not move away from the point here.

            In summary Lucie has a very strong and valid argument. She stated the simple fact that Katie refused to state the positives of beans and focused on the potential negatives which could give the reader a wrong impression on whether or not beans are good for the body. In this regard Lucie is correct in her assessment as a post such as this should state both the pros and cons.

            The lectin issue can be easily solved with proper cooking and last time I checked we should learn how to prepare our food before we consume it (hence the reason cook books were invented). A better angle for this post would have been to highlight the correct cooking methods for beans to avoid the potential lectin issues stated by Katie. Such a post would have been accurate and of value to the reader. The current post sends the wrong impression towards beans in general.

            Thanks Lucie for doing the research, and Katie – this is the first time I’ve ever read your blog…in the interest of writing better articles it may be better for you to learn from this incident and just keep on writing.

            Thanks for the info ladies.

            Best Regards,


          • One of the common themes nutrition wise amongst the Blue Zone countries where people live the longest is that they have a tendency to consume beans.

          • 12 hours of soak, rinse, soak, rinse, soak, rinse, don’t forget a little sodium bicarbonate, now cook for two hours…??? Sounds like the inspiration for processed food to me. I like my food simple.

        • Beans tear me up! Yes, I soak them. I’ve tried adding different things that are supposed to help with digestion such as ginger, baking soda, and seaweed. Terrible pain and constipation.

          • High fiber foods cause constipation?

      • Im latina and i have never heard of beans being bad. Or even eating raw beans. We make beans everyday. My mother 78 years old is in prefect health. The only thing she has is knee pain on occasions. Her mother died at 98 years old of old zge she was in prefect health she never had meds to take or even wore glasses. My dad mother lived to be 97 and in great health died of old age. We eat rice and beans everday. My grandfather died at 103 years old. Now we cook our beans in regular pot two hours. In a pressure cooker one hour. Ive never heard of eating raw beans. Maybe thats the problem. I go by what i see in mt family here and in other counties where rice and beans are our everyday food and no one has ever died from beans. On the contrary live long happy lives. And none are fst either.

        • This comment is not in response to any other post in this thread – it’s just general in nature. I think this has gone WAY to far. Look at the typical American diet….. It’s horrible. Full of overly processed empty nutrient foods that are genetically modified and covered in multiple layers of pesticides including some that were used as toxic agents during war! Over 60% of the population is overweight or obese and diabetes, heart disease and cancer continue to climb. This is the first time EVER where the lifespan of the current generation is expected to be LESS than the prior…… and it’s NOT because people are eating beans, nor the lectins they contain. Are beans good or bad? Depends on what you compare them to I suppose. Yes, beans do contain lectins and lectins can be potentially harmful. Despite the lectins, beans are an excellent source of protein and fiber as well as nutrients. Compared to what most Americans eat in a typical day, beans are a miracle superfood!!! In fact, if people stopped eating white bread, white rice, bleached food, sugar packed snacks, sugary drinks with artificial colors and ate beans in their place, their health would improve! not decline.

          It just seems we are way off track now. Beans ARE a superfood and if properly cooked (which most of us do), they offer far more benefits than drawbacks. Instead of spending time beating beans to death, we should instead target all the unhealthy processed, gmo, artificial foods that will bring us to our death!

          Best wishes.

          • Love this response. Agree agree agree.

          • Agree with this comment, and I think this article does a disservice to people who are legitimately interested in nutrition. All one needs to do is look around the world and throughout history and you will find many cultures getting most of their nutrition and protein from beans where people often live to be well over 100 (Latin America as one example, India as another). There are a lot of problems with the standard american diet as evidenced by the continuing rise in obesity – but BEANS are not the problem, they are a solution for many people who need more nutrition and fiber in their diet.

            Some people may have issues with beans – every person is different. Personally I eat beans every day and am in perfect health, engage in running daily and martial arts. Of course, anecdotal evidence from one individual doesn’t mean much, but looking at studies from well-reputed scientific sources makes a difference:


          • @Erica and @Jill – THANK YOU to you both for supporting my comment; I support both of yours as well.

            We live in a world where healthy food is becoming a thing of the past; Beans are one of those healthy foods; they should be on the endangered species list.

            We have to scrutinize labels to find out what chemicals, pesticides, additives, etc. are in the products we choose (or might have chosen) to feed our family. Complicate that with the evils of Monsanto, DuPont, and other GMO supporters and the result in that there are few foods left that are actually good for us.

            I don’t remember where I heard this saying; but I love it:

            “if it has an ingredient list – DONT eat it”

            Beans have no ingredients; they are just beans. Pure. Simple. Complete.
            An egg has no ingredients; its a nicely packaged protein wonder.
            Sunflower seeds are a super food – yet they have no ingredients.

            On the flip side, Pick up a can of soup, or package of cookies, or anything processed – things with ingredients and you’ll cringe at the list of chemicals in any/all of them – that is if you happen to be one of the few that can pronounce and/or understand the ingredients, a/k/a chemicals. It’s pretty sad when you have to have a science degree to know what you are eating.

            Yet, here is this thread, many pages and hundreds of posts long, “trying” to make one of the few naturally healthy complete foods we have left into a bad thing! Wow, how far in the wrong direction can this go?

            Are lectins bad for us? I’m not a scientist and I don’t know. Even if I was, even the scientists don’t agree. What I do know is that I eat a LOT of beans, as does my entire family and none of us are sick because of them. As Jill and others have mentioned, we have cultures going 100 plus years back where beans were and still are a main protein source and the residents happen to have one of the longest lifespans of anywhere on the planet.

            Cultures where living over 100 is NOT uncommon. You wont find that in a nation living off mostly processed foods/

            What I do know is that we have much bigger problems in regards to foods.

            Dow and Monsanto managed to get 2,4-D approved for use on crops and for those who are unfamiliar, it is the EXACT SAME 2,4-D used to make the deadly neuro-toxin “Agent Orange” which had deadly effects on countless people during the Vietnam War. There are soldiers still suffering with the effects of the toxin; unable to have any quality of life.

            The government banned the use of Agent Orange via the Geneva Disarmament Convention of 1978, yet now, the exact same toxin has been approved for use as a pesticide for crops that WILL become part of the food on the shelf of every store. Why? money. It’s that simple. Despite all those against it being approved, the supporters and producers had the money to buy its approval.

            I’m sure I’m not alone when I say I think eating beans, which have been a near perfect food for hundreds of years is a MILLION times better than eating a box, bag or can of food made from ingredients containing countless chemicals, containing enough preservatives to never expire and made with ingredients sprayed with agent orange! It’s shameful to even call such items food, but sadly our shelves are lines with it; in every possible form.

            I grow my own beans; they are simple to grow. I have heirloom seeds for some very ancient varieties that I grow year after year. I grow them, dry them and eat 99% of them each year and save 1% of the beans to plant the next year. No fertilizer, no chemicals, no bug spray – just rain water and patience.

            Cant wait for next years crop. Going to go cook some beans!

        • do you(your family) consume any grains, any gluten ?

    • This comment is old but I have something to say about wikipedia-
      You know that just because anyone can post something on wikipedia doesn’t mean it’s incorrect. Have you ever tried posting something that is totally false on wikipedia? They will remove it so fast. People monitor the additions to wikipedia all the time and remove things that aren’t true. It’s actually a reliable source of info. Not once have I found info on wikipedia that was not verifiable through other sources. Just saying.
      I just had some delicious beans. I hope they aren’t killing me slowly from the inside right now.

    • OMGoodness, I totally agree… This was my first and potentially last time to this blog strictly because of that. IDK why so many people think Wikepedia is a credible source.. Why not NIH, CDC, or some other reputable site??

  4. I even make my own almond flour for this reason.  I follow the directions in the Nourishing Traditions cookbook. I Soak them for at least 8 hours with a tbsp of Celtic sea salt, then I rinse them and blot them dry and dry them in the oven at 150 degrees for 24 hours. (I dry my pecans for 12, but the almonds take longer). Then I grind them in my food processor.

    • Thanks for this input that’s exactly what I’m wanting to try 🙂 😉 point and step in the right direction then… but yeah it does sound like a slow process to make flour but I love the fact it may be safer cooked and if it were sprouted previously and soaked. But that maybe is for when I have my own bought garden. But for now soaking and heating them for long time is great way then surely to kill any harmful residues. 😉 🙂 great 🙂 😉 maybe sprouted grain with heating and soaking could work too but maybe for the grains being harmful In themselves almonds are better substitute for flour. 😉 🙂

    • You have WAY too much time on your hands! I commend your desire to feed your family good food, but that is crazy! Soak your beans over night and they will be safe.

  5. I have been eating beans almost every day for years, chic-peas, kidneys, navy,etc. with no ill health effects. You  can’t take a common substance in a food and analize it “out of context” without the other substances it was a part of and then jump to the conclusion that its bad for you. Kind of like vitamin A which we all need and is in a lot of foods but we have also heard that too much can be harmful. Beans are an excellent source of fiber and protein with no fat and I am NOT going to stop eating them just because of a bunch of crack-pot scare articles. Remember all those studies years ago about how bad coffee was? 

    • Beans is one, if not the greatest food around. Beans is one of the few food that you can eat everyday without side effects. The gas issue is not that bad. To remove the gas, boil the beans and change the water to a fresh one. This takes care of gas issues.

      Beans does not make you fat. No science can convince me otherwise even if they do ‘their experiment’. A lot of college student in some parts of africa who are poor resort to eating beans everyday cause it make them full longer. No side effects. I have seen more people eating beans almost everyday. For the record, I have never cook them ‘the right way’. I boil and cook it without changing the water. Gas? yes. It is manageable.

      • I know this is an old thread, but I want to add my PERSONAL experience. I am in my mid-fifties. About two years ago after following a paleo/low carb diet for years on the recommendation of my internal medicine MD (Diabetes runs in my family and I had gained weight, also genetic testing revealed slight gluten Intolerance but not Celiac disease) I was baking a birthday cake for a friend’s party and this started me on a wheat, legume binge that caused me to gain 30 lbs in less than 6 weeks.
        What followed was disastrous. I fractured over three months six bones in my feet while standing in my kitchen or walking in my house (no stairs and NO TRAUMA). I had no history of osteoporosis or other bone disorder. Within a year I had metastatic malignant bladder cancer and a tumor on my adrenal gland and was vomiting non-stop for about six months with no remittance from anti-nausea medication. I lost weight, being congratulated by doctors on “how great I looked”. I ended up being diagnosed with acidosis since beans and grain lowers the pH of your blood and I was put on double doses of proton pump inhibitors to prevent lesions in my throat from progressing to full-blown cancer as well. Eventually my internal medicine primary care referred me to Mayo Clinic. I was seen by an immunologist who asked flat out, “why did you eat this stuff? Your intestines are a mess and you appear to have MS as well. Never, ever eat anything that grows on a grass, straw, or vine for the rest of your life and you might make it to 60.”
        I did this of course, having in fact sworn off the grains and beans way back. My “binge” was really just the six weeks.
        Now, I am battling three separate cancers all related to my weakened immune system. I am a “regular” at Johns Hopkins oncology and have had my cecum (a major part of your intestine) removed to save my life (it perforated from the damage, I barely made it to the hospital, another ten minutes in the DC traffic and I would have died the surgeon said.) This occurred only two months ago. Now mind you, I was pretty healthy for someone who was (at the time of my binge) 52. No major illnesses EVER. No antibiotic use. Careful. Vigilant. Like all of you. But the Mayo Clinic immunologist told me that what many of you doubt because it was on Wikipedia, that Lectins can hurt you. You can lose everything, including your VERY LIFE with just bread with dinner. Lectins SHEAR off the villi in your gut and just as the blogger says, the toxins enter your blood stream. During my recent surgery I was given two units of blood because I was so anemic that the surgeon was afraid that besides the bowel perforation caused by weakness in the intestinal walls, that I would end up brain damaged because even at Mayo they had not checked whether I was absorbing any nutrients anymore from what little I DID eat and my pulse oxygen was in the 40s from a lack of iron caused by my intestines not absorbing B12..
        Take heed. That’s all I can say.

        • Your problems did NOT come from beans – although binging on anything is not healthy – even when its a health food.

          I HAD many of the issues you say were caused by your binge and when I added a large amount of beans to my diet – my problems went 95% away. My auto immune disease is GONE! My prescription meds are GONE and my immune system is far better. The BEANS were my CURE!

          In your case, perhaps you are allergic and/or intolerant to beans or wheat or those you ‘binged’ on were not organic and therefore GMO altered as well as loaded with chemicals. The chemicals ON the wheat and beans you binged on can cause the issues you described. I’m willing to bet that if you ate properly cooked, organic beans and consumed a moderate amount of wheat (not a binge) you would not have had the same result.

          There are hundreds of thousands of stories that can be validated on how beans help with weight loss, diabetes, blood pressure, cholesterol, auto immune disease, etc. Those are validated, proven facts so your once instance, after an unhealthy binge, does not negate or invalidate all the proven cases where beans were the CURE – myself included.

          • Lisa I would love to hear what you’ve done to heal. After 2.5 years on the Autoimmune Paleo diet and not being better (in fact being much worse) I’d like to explore veganism. You have to get your proteins somewhere so that leaves grains beans and rice, which have been drilled into my head as being evil. I would love to hear your story!

          • geez thanks.. I almost threw away my pantry full of dry beans ! I love n live on them i’m near 60 & doing just great .. thanks

          • Lisa,

            Your comments toward Rose, who was battling cancer, are callous and insensitive. Do you think it’s fair to attack someone battling cancer???

        • I am terribly sorry for your health problems. Unfortunately, most major problems like this are from years of abuse or genetics, not a few weeks or months of binging. While I do not agree at all with this article, what I take away from it is, there is a good way to prepare beans to limit their impact on your digestion, and as always, everything in MODERATION!

          I personally go Vegan 6 months a year and vegetarian the rest. I have looked into how our meat is processed (visited factories when allowed) and was not impressed, but rather disgusted. The other 6 months of the year (again, moderation) I consume eggs and fish a few times a week (of course I make sure they are local, hormone free, free range, etc – thankfully I have friends that are farmers or access to deep sea fisherman) and sometimes cheese. I am careful of my cheese source as I never consume Milk. Just not a fan. Just because I go Vegan does not mean that I fill up on the frankin-soy products either. Its what I call all the processed veggie products. When you go Vegan it is to improve your life style, not eat a bunch of ground up junk that tastes like meat.

          Enough of my rant. I am terribly sorry for your health. I hope things are improving for you. I am sorry that you have to be so restrictive in your good choices but I hope you don’t make it seem that what is an issue for your and you body type, is an issue for everyone else. Our bodies are so different and unique and what works for one person doesn’t work for the next.

          Moderation and attention. Pay attention to where our food is coming from and what “they” are doing to it. Not just blindly buy and eat everything and anything that is sold.

          • Thank you for taking such a classy approach to not agreeing and sharing your opinion. i have followed Katie’s blog for about 5 years and reapped so much great knowledge which i why when i started to research WHY paleo is so against legumes (the main reason why i chose to not stick with a strict paleo diet.. I love peas, beans, and peanuts), and i saw a wellness mama article pop up, it was the first one i went to. Science is a collection of theories and best guesses and anyone doing research is probably going to have at least a slight bias, though for the hateful commenters she DID acknowledge the positive benefits of beans, she just believe that for her, and possibly many other people, the negatives out weigh the positive, when you could easily get the positives elsewhere. i replied specifically to your comment a) to show my appreciation for your class and maturity, and b) (more imortantly) ask if you have considered looking into grassfed and humanely raised cattle/chicken/sheep/etc. I live on a cattle farm, and have actually been fascinated with their process.. they simply eat the grass in the pastures and they have a sectioned box with raw vitamins and minerals that has a flexible cover to protect them form the elements and they cows can lift it with the noses… they know by the smell what nutrient their body needs. And even from an inhumane to eat something with a face perspective, I’d much rather my body go on to nurture someone else that just rot in the ground. Not at all judging any stance you may have on the matter, just offering a different perspective bc there are certain things in animal meat that you just can’t find other protein sources.

            And thank you Katie, i believe i will still continue to eat well cooked beans (and you gave me health benefits to defend my love of BOILED peanuts to my peanut loving naysayers lol), but you helped to answer a very big question i have had since become an “ingredients snob”… i have avoid just about every source of soy the best i can, and when noticing sunflower lechtin (since soy lechtin is one of the top offenders of why i wont buy something), i wondered if lechtin of any kind of was good, or more importantly if all kinds were bad…. uhg one more thing to add to my “badditives” list lol. Again thank you and i appreciate your informative and well researched articles. I find no fault in your research focusing on the lechtins and only mentioning the benefits briefly.. most people are well aware of the benefits and have never even heard of lechtins unless they do read their labels carefully… and even then may not even know what it is, what its for, and what it does to our bodies.

  6. Does anyone else have a problem with that fact that this article was researched using Wikipedia? Any halfway serious academic knows that many of the sources used for Wiki articles are biased, not fully researched, and/or full of dated material. Wellness Mama, if you care about your credibility, you should probably use ACTUAL research studies/academic sources, not Google.

    • I agree that Wikipedia is no scientific journal, but the components of beans are very well documented and wikipedia provided an easy overview that was more readable than a scientific article in this instance. If you disagree that beans contain lectins (as wikiepdia stated) i’d like to see your cite…

      • Countless researches have shown that beans are healthy! Filled with protein, iron, fiber and vitamins. Plus, both grains and legumes are heart healthy since they have shown to lower cholesterol.

        If you prepare your beans the right way, how is it still bad? Honestly, I feel like the good outweighs the bad when it comes to beans.

          • The studies done to prove beans are high in protein, fiber and vitamins is a fact.  It’s real. But about the other studies…


            shows that studies have proven beans lower the risk of colon cancer (a major problem in America right now)

            “New analysis of almost 35,000 participants in the Nurses’ Health Study shows that women who ate four or more servings of legumes a week were 33 percent less likely to develop colorectal adenomas than those consuming one serving a week or less.”

            “These health benefits of legumes may come from this food’s unique phytochemicals. Saponins, lignans and phytosterols are under study for potential benefits in fighting cancer and heart disease. ”

            “Many legumes, especially soybeans, are demonstrating impressive health benefits. Diets rich in legumes are being used to lower cholesterol levels, improve blood glucose control in diabetics, and reduce the risk of many cancers. Legumes contain many important nutrients and phytochemicals, and when combined with grains, they form a complete protein. According to studies conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture, richly colored dried beans offer a high degree of antioxidant protection (see below). In fact, small red kidney beans rated the highest just ahead of blueberries.”

            From personal experience, beans have helped me a lot.  Beans have helped me lose weight and give me energy throughout the whole day.  I don’t feel sick or have digestive problems and I have been eating them for years now.  

            People in Asian countries eat legumes and soy, and aren’t they mostly healthy when compared to other countries who eat less legumes and grains?

          • Again, I believe the high fiber in beans is actually a bad thing, not a good thing, and compared to meat, liver, vegetables, or healthy fats like avocado or coconut beans are not nutrient dense at all! 4 ounces of liver will blow beans out of the water on protein and nutrients, as will some sardines. The studies you link to compare bean consumption to non-bean consumption, but there are a couple flaws: (a) since beans are considered a “healthy” food, people who are trying to be healthier tend to eat them. This usually also means they are doing other things to be healthier (and that would reduce cancer risk) like exercising, eating more vegetables, avoiding sugars, etc. Also, these studies don’t study the rates of autoimmune problems in people who eat beans, which I believe is where the major part of the risk is.
            Soybeans are one food I will absolutely not eat in any form. Not only are virtually all of them genetically modified and sprayed with a lot of pesticides (I live near fields where they are grown… they are sprayed a LOT) but they contain estrogen mimicking substances which are especially harmful to women of child bearing age and males of any age.
            As far as a complete protein… animal fats don’t have to be combined with anything to form a complete protein and they are higher in nutrients, especially ones like B-12 which aren’t in beans in any significant amount.
            Have you considered perhaps that the department of AGRICULTURE would have a slight bias in supporting studies that would shed beneficial light on products created through modern agriculture (wheat, corn and soybeans?). As far as antioxidants, even dark chocolate has many times more antioxidants than beans.
            People in asian countries consume beans in a mostly fermented state, and eat mostly rice, which is the least harmful of the grains, so to compare this to countries who eat less legumes but more processed foods is not an apples to apples comparison. Also, having studied this extensively (I actually was majoring in International Studies emphasis in Mandarin for part of college) the asian people also eat mineral rich bone broths and seaweeds with almost every meal, and these both negate some of the harmful effects of the grains. They also have slightly different genetics and eat less processed foods. To give this as a justification for consuming grains and legumes is a stretch to say the least.
            I’m glad you feel that beans have helped you, and certainly, if you don’t agree with me, you won’t stop eating them. I stand firmly behind my stance that they aren’t healthy though, and your n=1 experience bears little scientific weight.

          • “I stand firmly behind my stance that they aren’t healthy though, and your n=1 experience bears little scientific weight”
            I am not the only person who has benefited from beans.  If I have benefited from eating beans, then others have the chance to benefit from beans too.  It’s okay that you don’t agree with me but you also got most of your information from Wikipedia.  Which is basically a horrible place to get sources.  

          • I had one link to wikipedia above, so I’d hardly call that all of my information and even Wikipedia does seem to have a basic grasp of the biology of a bean… didn’t feel the need to bring out scientific studies to prove that a bean is, in fact, a bean. Like I said, I’m glad they worked for you, and certainly they are a better option that some highly processed foods, I just disagree that they are actually a health food.

          • okay, lets agree to disagree since I will always regard beans as power foods:) Good luck on your high cholesterol foods though.

          • I’m also wary of this article as it seems to be implying that eating foods high in saturated fats is better than eating beans. That is just crazy. Are we going through another Atkins Diet era here?

          • If you’re actually interested in looking at the science, I suggest you re-evaluate saturated fat as science has never proven (and never will) that healthy saturated fats (coconut oil, grassed butter, grassed meats, tallow, etc) cause heart disease or obesity…

          • I love your blog, and the information you put on here but as everyone says you are highly questionable..I agree on the grains and everything but the fact that you still eat and advocate meat is beyond me..meat is not a HEALTH food..all meat has parasties and that’s enough for me to start on the topic.

          • You are grouping modern meat from factory farms with healthy organic or grass-fed/Pastured animals you are lumping apples and oranges together and calling them the same. Meat from animals that have spent time in the sun and fed on grass is going to be a lot healthier than meat from an animal that lives in its own manure in a stall that never sees the light of day. I would not eat that either.

            You are mistaken in your assumption that foods that contain cholesterol also cause high cholesterol. Saturated fat is not necessarily unhealthy and is consumed in foods high in protein such as animal fats and a carrier for fat soluble vitamins A, D and E.

            Meanwhile studies have shown that excess consumption of polyunsaturated fats contribute to a large number of disease conditions including increased cancer and heart disease; immune system dysfunction; damage to the liver, reproductive organs and lungs; digestive disorders; depressed learning ability; impaired growth; and weight gain. These are the fats in vegetable oil, corn oil, canola oil and Soy bean oils.

          • Wait, you think that high fiber is a bad thing? If that doesn’t throw a red flag for anyone…

          • Unfortunately, wellness mama, soy is not just found in soybeans and tofu. It is now used, in a modified form (which is even worse) as a filler in most packaged and processed foods. So if you want to avoid soy, maybe you might want to give beans another chance 🙂

        • i love beans esp lentils …just soak them first and move on…

          • Exactly!

        • Totally agree with you, Dough. As a holistic health coach and growing up with a holistic MD father in Europe, I was was raised with beans and still have them in my every day diet. I am 5’7″ and weight 116 lb, and I am 44. I feel and look my best b/c I eat common sense foods my great grand parents ate. Now I help smart people lose weight and get on top of their best health by telling them not to read blog post like this one. It is truly ridiculous. A former client sent it to me to check it out in dismay! I also believe she W. Mama grew up in USA which means she was raised with the SAD diet and self education HERE is NOT possible.

      • Nobody here has doubted that beans contain lectins. Every time someone points out that your only source is wikipedia you respond that the point was the show lectics are present in beans. This argument, however, is completely irrelevant. The fact that beans contain lectins is not the point of everyone’s argument here. The point of the argument is whether or not the remaining lectins in the beans, after properly prepared, are harmful to you. I’m not going to claim beans are good or bad because I am not a scientist, doctor, or any other type of person qualified to make that argument. You, on the other hand, boast these claims that beans are bad even after properly prepared. I don’t care about sources proving lectins are in beans as I believe this is true. I would like to see sources claiming that remaining lectins in properly prepared beans are harmful. I haven’t found a single study proving this. Furthermore, I consider it irresponsible for you to make such claims and suggest that people limit bean intake or cut them out altogether without providing a single study for your case. I imagine after all the heat you have taken with this article that you haven’t cited one because after doing some research you probably couldn’t find one yourself. Do yourself and easily influenced people a favor and remove this article unless you can provide evidence backing your claim.

        • If you look above, she actually cited 3 credible sources. Just saying…

        • This article in fact is a very informative article because I know of an institute in California that rehabilitates thousands of people around the world SUCCESSFULLY. The diet does in fact cut out, ALL GRAINS AND LEGUMES! Their success rate is 100% when their diet is followed correctly.

          I myself also follow this diet and it is the only diet that works for me. No Grains, No legumes, no nuts. Organic meats, coconut oil and olive oil, NO polyunsaturated fats because they are also the root of all evil, carbs like squash, potatoes, pumpkin, sweet potatoes and other veggies. As well, bone broths are so important to reverse the damage that has already been created in the gut.

          Look at Sally Fallon’s Book Nourishing Traditions or look at Nathalie McBride for info who is a Doctor and she rehabs her clients on the Gap diet. I think it is a wise idea to read, keep your eyes open and start thinking why Wellness Mama would write this article. She has nothing to gain by YOU eating or not eating beans. She does not own a bean farm.

          Before you begin reacting, take a deep breath and start your research and look at the resources above. It can and will change your health and improve it immensely.

          I never argue anymore about nutrition and food. I simply FOLLOW the leaders who GET results – this is the key to life in any area.

          Turn a new leaf!

          • KIM, Thank you…do you have the name of the institute in California ?

          • In reply to Kim’s comment: “I know of an institute in California that rehabilitates thousands of people around the world SUCCESSFULLY. The diet does in fact cut out, ALL GRAINS AND LEGUMES! Their success rate is 100% when their diet is followed correctly”.

            What exactly is the institution “rehabilitating” people of? Do you have fact based statistics to validate that the success rate (of whatever they are doing) is in fact 100%? Please provide data. To my knowledge, nothing done with humans is EVER 100% – not ever. It might be 99.9%, but never 100% – it’s virtually impossible. People are so incredibly different, its simply not possible for 100% of any group to respond the same.

            What is the name of the institute, what type of rehabilitation are they doing and what fact/science based data can you provide to support a 100% success rate?

  7. Really??? This is just another of those scare articles. The facts are all out of context and  just plain humpty-dumpty. Beans, pulses and grains are really great for you, especially for us vegans.
    Got to ask when did ever see a fat vegan??? We eat beans all the time!

    • Since when is being fat the only marker of health?

      • It is not the only marker of good health, but being overweight is surely the biggest marker of bad health. Vegans and vegetarians have less cancer and heart diseases than meat eaters. It is an irrefutable fact that has much research to prove it.

        • There is no absolute proof that a vegetarian or vegan diet “does” prevent cancer and/or diseases. Much evidence suggests it “may” reduce the risk, but despite your comment – it has NOT been proven and yes, it can be refuted.
          In the very early days of man, where meat was the primary food, cancer was basically non-existent.
          Q: Will a vegetarian diet reduce your risk of cancer?

          A: Avoiding red meat may reduce the risk of certain cancers, but there’s no firm evidence vegetarians have less risk for cancers overall

          There are a range of reasons why people choose not to eat meat. But does going meat-free mean you are less likely to get cancer?

          While a plant-based diet, which includes a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and wholegrains, has been shown to be protective against some cancers, there isn’t definitive evidence that avoiding all meat reduces your overall cancer risk, says Kathy Chapman, chair of Cancer Council Australia’s nutrition and physical activity committee.

          “Certainly our advice at the Cancer Council would be eating plenty of fruits and vegetables is what people should aim for,” Chapman says.

          “If you want to follow a vegetarian diet you need to make sure it is a healthy one, but to lower cancer risk you don’t [necessarily need to] think about going totally meat free.”

      • Being fat is not absolutely not the only marker of bad health and in fact, being fat does not mean you are in bad health at all. There are very healthy fat people and very sickly thin people. Yes, more often that not being overweight does come with health issues – but not always and sometimes not at all.

        My friend Sarah, who is 28, an Avid athlete and a strict vegan for the past 15 years is FAT. She is very overweight so yes, I HAVE seen a fat vegan. There are plenty of foods on a vegan diet that can be calorie dense. Pasta, grains, various sweets, nuts and nut butters – they are all high in calories and all on a vegan diet.

        It irks me when people say things that have no factual backing and don’t do any research on them before posting – especially when they are totally wrong!

  8. Traditionally beans are to be soaked overnight to reduce digestive distress!  Perhaps the source of this is the knowledge or understanding that it removes such toxins from the bean?

  9. WIKIPEDIA is not a credible source. Many credible sources (peer-reviewed studies and centenarian studies) disprove your conjecture. Do you have any information provided by a legitimate source?

  10. Wow. This is getting a lot of heat. This actually makes perfect sense to me. My husband is a huge consumer of grains and beans. He has had GERD for seven years and takes proton pump inhibitors to manage it. He has crazy problems with his intestinal tract. Occasionally food will come out not having been digested at all, other times he’ll get horrid gas. His body has been destroyed by lectin overdose. I can’t say that it’s from the beans, but if beans are high in lectins, I don’t see why it wouldn’t be from the beans as well as the grains.

    • It could well be the grains, more than the beans. Since its the lectins that are the issue, and since even the material
      cited by Wellness Mama states that the lectins are destroyed by
      sufficient cooking, what’s the problem with eating properly soaked and cooked beans? Beans are a very healthy food, when properly soaked
      and cooked!

  11. If lectins are destroyed by cooking, what’s the issue? We don’t eat raw legumes, do we?

    • They aren’t completely destroyed… jus somewhat lessened…

      • Where can we find documentation of this? All I noticed about this in the article was that lectins are destroyed by proper cooking.

  12. Where do legumes like sugar snap peas, snow peas, and green beans fall into things? They are often eaten raw, so the lectins can’t be very high in them.

    • They are on the lower end of the scale on lectins, except for regular green peas, which I typically recommend for those trying to increase fertility as there is a compound in them that can suppress it…

  13. I’m a vegetarian and my main source of protein is nuts and beans. I eat a lot of lentil and bean soups and bean patties but not much grain. This article has scared me to death; I’ve been a vegetarian and have been eating nut butters and beans all my life! I want to do what is healthiest for me but I also have a strong ethical opposition to eating meat; I just can’t do it. Even looking at pictures of meat, poultry or fish makes me gag. What should I do?! I’m an avid 16 year old female runner, yogi, skiier, and soon to be Crossfitter and I really need the best fuel to keep up with my very active lifestyle.

    • I wouldn’t worry to much if i were you. Vegetarians/vegans have been around for a very long time and numerous studies were conducted on their diets, with no proof that it might be a health risk in any way. Vegetarian/vegan diet tend to be rich in those foods that contain lectins. I assume some people may be genetically predisposed (have a genetic defect) to lectin damage, however this number would be insignificant as there would be plenty of studies to show that. I think variety in the diet is the key, so consuming soya beans everyday might not be the best thing. But there are so many plants around that i’m still discovering every week ( and i have been mostly vegan for 9 years now). By the way i also have acive lifestyle doing cycling, running, tennis, gym workouts and snowboarding. Regarding people being omnivourous, well until we had tools to hunt we ate very little meat as it was simply not accessible to us, and those teeth that we have aren’t proof either, look at vegetarian gorilla, their canine teeth are bigger than ours.

    • The healthiest and longest lived group of people in the US are the 7th Day Adventists in Loma Linda, CA and I bet they eat 3 times as much beans as the general population. This lectin bogeyman was invented by Peter D’Adamo who wrote “Eat Right for Your Blood Type”, and he’s turned his followers into a very profitable cult.

  14. Oh my god. so much bashing. thanks for the information. I will keep this in mind.

    • Yes, I agree, David. So much anger from the bean eaters. Seems the beans don’t do much for their personalities. Most of their comments are just plain rude.

  15. Thank you so much. I agree 100%. I have been treated in an ayurvedic clinic run by a Siddha from Sri Lanka. He has thousands of clients healed from terrible diseases including cancer. He tells every patient to stop eating any sorts of beans. I have become a vegan thanks to him, but in all the vegan/vegetarian sites beans are often the main ingredients in the recipes. The Veda (doctor) simply explained that I don’t digest beans very well, but this article explained everything for me.

    Those skeptical about the reasoning may just go on consuming the beans. However those who just would give it a try and reduce grain and beans in their diet, will feel an incredible effect, that’s a fact.

    • Hi Aizhan
      This blog post has scared me so much because I love legumes and beans. I am also Sri Lankan but I never really understood why I was not tolerating things like Chia seeds really well. What I don’t understand is that my ancestors consumed a variety of grains like Finger Millets, Orange Lentils and Chickpeas for thousands of years and these are some of my staples. I am also not a big meat eater and I am at a loss now as to what I should consume to get my proteins. I also saw in another article that gram flour or chickpea flour should never be used for baking. Do you have suggestions or sites. I also eat a lot of Mung beans and I guess the key it to let them sprout or soak really well to remove the toxins.

  16. Hello Wellness Mama,

    I actually came across this article because my friend was curious as to how correct the information was. As an student in training (Masters in Dietetics currently working on my RD hours at various hospitals) I want to simply put out that I think you’ve approach the situation in a way that might not be completely true. I understand that you might not like to eat fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, etc. that are highly concentrated in lectin (as you’ve stated above) however everyones different.

    What you have recommended above is similar to how a lot of people have turned gluten free because they think it’s better. In fact, gluten free diets should really ONLY be used for those with diseases that deal strictly with gluten intolerance (i.e.: celiac disease). As I tell my patients all the time, if there’s nothing holding you back why not eat it? Unless it has shown in multiple ways that eating beans have caused major negative changes to your health there is no reason NOT to eat them.

    I have a variety of patients would unfortunately can not have beans, why? Because they suffer from digestive cancers. Of course, there will be issues when you suffer from digestive cancers, which is why many cancer patients are ask to eat items with a variety of nutrients. Fish (high in selenium) is a good staple for some patients with cancer. But fish can also be high in mercury. Do I tell my patients not to eat fish then? No, but choose wisely. So I understand your last paragraph about choosing to eat legumes with low concentrations of lectin. But I really don’t see a reason behind you not eating legumes other than personal reasons.

    I hope I didn’t come off strong. I see that you’ve labeled yourself a nutritionist, which is fine. But in my own professional defense, I really would advice that in the future if you should post information like this that you should advice people to seek medical professional help in the article.

    • I’ve just been reading ‘The Perfect Health Diet’ which also goes into great lengths about the toxicity of beans. Before reading this I would never have believed it either. Thanks for information.

    • Professionals aren’t all right. And sometimes they don’t run ahead trying o find the truth they wait until the damage is done before they wonder why. That’s where problems start. I’d rather be safe than sorry for my kids sake. My family already messed me up pretty bad. And doctors and professionals played a major role in that too. Antibiotics since I was a child indeed. What do they know about health?! Nothing. Money money all the way.

  17. Where on earth do people get ideas like these?

  18. Not a single credible reference in this article.

    • Einstien said: “The true test of knowledge is experimentation.” Is he on the credible reference list? not meaning to be insidious, but sarcastic with a tad of light humor. Don’t go getting your grain eating panties in a bunch.

      • Why is looking for credible references a bad thing? When deciding if something is healthy, it’s a good idea to be a critical thinker. While I can appreciate your sense of humor, Albert Einstein can most certainly be found in credible sources. Many of his contributions are largely considered valid and worthy in the scientific community.

  19. About halfway through I had a thought so I went to your recipe section and say all the meat recipes. I don’t care if people eat meat but to try to discredit other healthy options is bullocks. Do you get money from the meat industry for this blog, seriously. There is nothing wrong with beans they will not hurt your body unless you eat them raw. Beans alone will not make you fat. It’s the oil, sour cream, cheese and other stuff. If beans made you fat then the people in third world countries would not be starving to death. Beans and rice are a staple the world over. It is a cheap food with high nutritional value. I started a diet 8 weeks ago eating rice, beans, corn tortillas and fresh fruits and veggies no processed food. I have lost 15lbs which has brought me to my goal weight. My food bill went from $500 to $100 a month. I eat meat occasionally now. My doctor checked all my levels and they are perfect. There is no good or bad food , real food that is. Meat is no worse or better than beans. It’s the fake food like cereals, processed snacks, soda, candy etc. Take those out of your diet and you are home free.

    • I doubt very seriously that you only pay $100 a month for groceries, if you are in fact, truly eating the right quantities of fruits and vegetables. Yes, only eating rice and beans could bring the grocery bill down to $100 a month for one person, but that is not a diet I would recommend.

      • I’m not the person who you replied to, but I can support the fact that you can eat healthy for $100 or less and that rice and beans is not the only option. For me – it’s my own 100% organic garden. I live in the northeast and have a very short growing season and a very small piece of property (less than 1/4 acre) – yet I have taken advantage of every inch of space and during the summer my yard is a flourishing organic food factory. I grow enough that I can preserve (mostly dehydrating) fruits and vegetables to get me through the winter. There are many ways to eat healthy for cheap; it’s all a matter of how bad you want it. In my case, I want/need to eat cheap (i’m out of work), but MUST eat healthy and the way to achieve that is to grow my own food. I save my own seeds from year to year so there are no seed costs, start my own seedlings from those seeds, no plant costs and use compost from yard scraps as the ONLY fertilizer for the garden so no chemical/fertilizer costs. It costs me NOTHING (but my time doing a hobby I love) to garden and the rewards are HUGE. It can be done.

  20. Odd that there is absolutely no mention of the fact that your body naturally produces lectins, and that lectins can bind to other lectins to inhibit their effects. Also, apples, lemons, grapefruit, asparagus, beets, garlic, and numerous other vegetables all contain appreciable amounts of lectins. Your exmphasis should really be on the specific toxic lectins in question, like that of ricin in castor beans or the agglutinins in kidney beans, and not broadly lumping them all into the toxic category. Also, in the studies cited, animals were fed strictly a bean diet. Literally, nothing but beans. Human diets are in no way so restricted. How can you logically conclude that beans are bad, after so many reputable scientific studies should that eating these in a diet promote heart health?? More research from reputable sources and talk to a real scientist who understands lectin biology before you decide to scare people into dietary changes.

    • This is a great point… I had a friend of mine freak out when I told her that I love black beans. All because of ill-informed people who use scare tactics and unreasonable data to support their idiocy.

    • So true, beans are amazingly healthy but the meat/dairy/paleo types try to scare people. Interesting that this is what we are calling wellness these days, yikes.

  21. Goodness, you sure are taking some heat here, Wellness Mama! I guess by commenting I am sure to get some too?:) This is my first visit to your site and you have a lot of great information. I have also studied health and herbal medicine for a while, but I have had very different results when switching to meats, fats, and no grains or beans.

    I end up feeling very sick when I have done this, and even little amounts of animals fats and oils can make me feel very ill.

    On top of it, I cannot digest gluten or dairy. Whenever I deviate even a little bit from a low-fat, gluten free vegan diet, I start to get sick again. (Think flu-like symptoms without the flu:(

    I only wish it weren’t true, but I have self-tested many times! Even digestive enzymes and probiotics don’t help. I can have small quantities of lean chicken and some fish once in a while, but not much else.

    I have also observed that other people feel better when switching to a vegan diet like mine. They are healthier and the results of there lives prove that out.

    On the other hand, there are people who do horribly going vegan and do much better with meats, and little to no grains, much like that gentleman in your comments who ended up with diabetes.

    My family is split in the middle between being vegan and being more of carnivores with very little grains. We have all self-tested over a period of time. My oldest daughter does lousy with too many grains and not enough meat, and so does my hubby. My youngest daughter is like me, and my son seems to be able to eat everything-and boy does he ever! 😀

    I am sharing this because I have seen far too many blogs that push a one-way-only-type of eating plan for everyone, (whether vegan and grain-based or the opposite) and simply put, it doesn’t work for everyone.

    My advice to all is to test and see which foods work for you body and pay attention over time to how you feel. A healthy balance of all whole foods is best, in moderation, unless your body tells you otherwise!

    • This is something I am learning as well Leah! Thank you for your comment! Everyone is very different! I use to could eat anything in the world and it never hurt me. But now that I am older and have experienced so much hard stress, I developed hyperthyroidism and have digestive issues. I know that I am gluten intolerant and have to avoid dairy…it seems that from common sense, I eat beans very sparingly. I take several tablespoons of virgin coconut daily and I have my hyperthyroidism under control. I no longer eat grains or sugar and avoid msg -which is added to almost every food in restaurants. I am still praying and learning and God is leading me. He has shown me a lot in these past two months since I learned I was hyperthyroid. I take a lot of supplementation and juice cruciferous vegetables etc….

    • I agree with the poster below and above–different strokes for different folks! It’s horrible that people are attacking a free, informative, and well-intentioned source of reading material–I mean, you’re not paying for it, you’re not forced to believe anything, and you’re not forced to follow any of the advice given! Put it in your think-tank and see if it might make sense for your personal situation!
      Leah is spot on because, much like I’d never follow the diet of a professional athlete because his/her lifestyle requires different nutrition than mine, to follow Wellness Mama’s advice exactly and assume your results will exactly emulate hers, without listening to how your body reacts and adjusting your use of available information and resources accordingly, defeats the purpose of gathering information to apply to your particular lifestyle and health circumstance.
      Pad is right because your body changes over time and your dietary needs at 2 are different than at 12 and again different at 21 and on down the line. Your health is not a stagnant thing! It changes.
      Which leads me to a third observation–sure, if you don’t react to beans, you could continue to eat them without negative impact for years to come. Or, just maybe (and this is not in any way intended to be a scare tactic, more a rephrasing of ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’) a slight health issue such as gas (which usually indicates something is happening that normally doesn’t–gas is not an isolated event) could slowly turn into something more complicated. Perhaps it might be beneficial to just see, for a little while, if your body works better without beans (for ‘beans’ you can substitute a variety of foodstuffs whose healthiness is debated! Try going without ‘milk’ or ‘wheat’ or ‘meat’ etc. and see if it helps).
      I used to eat the HECK out of some grains. I used to drink the HECK out of some beer. I used to be a pastry chef, for pete’s sake! Elbow-deep in breads and pastries all day, every day! Eating my way through a wall of deliciousness! And then I found out that the reason I’d been sick for eight years was because (dum-da-da!) I had celiac disease, like my mother and my grandmother before me. Oh, the irony!
      So, my swollen white-lined throat and lymph nodes? The high fevers? The body aches and exhaustion that lasted for weeks? All that stuff? Something I never, in a million years, would have connected to grains. And neither did the many, many, many doctors I saw during the eight years I was sick.
      To get back to the article, yes, ‘beans’ might not be a ‘problem’, but I assume that if you’re using this site, you’re looking for alternative ways to improve your health because what you’re getting from doctors isn’t quite bespoke enough for you. I repeat, not a single doctor, for eight years of crazy-town, ever suggested I had celiac disease (all my symptoms mimicked strep, mono, etc. No gas, no diarrhea, no nada! But I was allergic to stuff like, ah, cold weather (oh, the hives!) and I had crazy vertigo, which isn’t too fun when you work around ovens and knives. My mother, also celiac, is deathly allergic to a particular kind of bug found in our back yard and is under house arrest for eight months out of the year. Back when she was diagnosed, this was not a ‘medical community supported’ symptom of celiac disease).
      Anyhow, I had to figure it out for myself. None of my symptoms matched the ‘celiac disease’ profile or ‘medical articles’ of the time (other than the one that links wheat and schizophrenia, which I randomly read, before I knew I had celiac, in the interests of my schizophrenic uncle. Because eating gluten when you have celiac can make you feel crazy and depressed). Now, I live in France, where the medical community is SUPER skeptical of celiac disease and regard it as some kind of fancy American export. I like to think that this is because French status quo/medical articles/supported ‘sources’ haven’t caught up to American ones, or perhaps that the disease is less prevalent here than in the US (which leads to the interesting and not exactly far-fetched idea that disease is a conflation of factors, much like your own body, and therefore several health factors contribute to any one malady or disease or intolerance, etc.). The status quo/medical articles/supported ‘sources’ vary from country to country, from culture to culture, from diet to diet and from lifestyle to lifestyle.
      My overall point is that bashing people for providing their opinions/research/experiences doesn’t help this conversation expand to include all available information. It is not Wellness Mama’s responsibility to maintain your health for you, much like it is not a doctor’s duty to understand your body better than you do and be 100% right every single time. Neither W Mama nor doctors are living inside you. They are not superhuman. Understanding your body is YOUR responsibility, and getting angry at people for offering their point of view, for free, is counteractive and counter-intuitive, if everyone here wants to live the healthiest, most well-informed life possible. Which I assume everyone does!
      Thanks, Wellness Mama, for the loads of research, personal opinion, and experience. All of which is valuable!

      Some links, for the trolls but mostly for interested parties who like reading things and making up their own mind about it:
      http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/559747_1 (beans may not be an obvious ‘problem’ for you, but if you think they might, don’t wait to check it out because to do so puts you at greater risk for serious illness!)
      for the point below: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/keyfacts.htm
      GMOs were, for a long time, government-approved and 100% recommended by the FDA as a way to cope with food shortages. Now, it’s this: http://responsibletechnology.org/glutenintroduction In short, ‘government approved’ cannot be considered infallible.

      and, just a thought: for all those people advocating the ‘normalness’ of consuming beans or grains or any food item, if supposed ‘scare tactics’ are empty threats, why is it such a problem to extend this line of thinking towards the nature of ‘normal’, ‘recommended’ food consumption? Who dictates what we eat? It’s not dictated by what’s growing or hanging out in our backyard, it’s dictated by companies with a vested material interest in promoting their product in the most appealing light. That’s why information regarding the same food item will change over time, to appeal to whatever current health trend (or new information) is influencing consumers to spend more money on one type of food over another. Usually, the promoters of changes and fads have a vested material interest (money, honey!) in promoting this fad/change and companies who control our food sources jump on the money-making bandwagon by restyling their product as a perfect fit in this new fad/change of direction. How do they restyle their product? By hiring a medical professional to find a way to prove their product’s ‘perfect fit’. Because the medical community is infallible, right?
      Therefore, always, always, always assume that ‘normal’, ‘recommended’ or ‘FDA approved’ or ‘healthiest’ items or ways of consumption might have a factor other than your best interests propelling them. The food pyramid? 6-11 servings of pretty much anything is kinda, well, a lot. Whose idea was 6-11 servings? Whose interests are represented by the current food pyramid? Why was I repeatedly given antibiotics when I had no viral infection and informed the doctor(s) that antibiotics only made me sicker? Whose interests were being served?
      WMama is not scare tactics any more than the flu shot (TAKE A FLU SHOT OR YOU AND YOUR GENETIC LINE WILL ALL DIE GARRR! Once again, whose interests are being served? Instead of bashing the makers of flu shots, take the information (a flu shot might be a good idea for some people) and apply it to your particular circumstances).
      Because by bashing providers of information, we limit the available information we can then discuss, think about, and decide whether or not to implement. Despite a doctor using ‘sources’ and ‘supported evidence’ or ‘peer reviews’ from parties whose interests might or might not be the greater common good, I’ve started to consider and sometimes discard certain medical-community-supported activities advocated by medical professionals–such as several French doctors’ advice to put myself back on a gluten-rich diet in order to be tested and registered by the French medical community as a sufferer of la maladie coelique, which was diagnosed by my American doctor via means not supported by French doctors, regardless of the fact that reintroducing gluten after years of a gluten-free diet not only undermines the progress I’ve made in repairing my health but also puts me at risk for new complications and diseases. However, instead of telling the French doctor that s/he is a raving idiot whose sources of information obviously aren’t viable or medically supported, I can take his/her advice and apply it to what I already know to be true about my own body. Which is that, as a person who has celiac disease, I should not eat gluten.
      Same logic applies to beans! If they don’t work for you, don’t listen to those who want you to eat them, no matter how supported their research. And if beans work for you and you have no doubts, don’t listen to those who don’t want you to eat them.
      Anyhow! Keep the information coming, I say! And apologies again for this post being forever long. Thanks again Wellness Mama. Cheers!

      • Thanks for taking the time to read and for such a well thought out comment 🙂

      • Georgia, I don’t usually read the really long comments as they’re usually self- congratulating rants but yours grabbed my attention right from the start and I very much agree with it.

        I am horrified by the close to abusive comments here. I have followed Wellnessmama’s blog for quite a while and while not everything fits into my eating plan, the blog is well researched and informative and has gone a long way towards making my family’s lives more healthy.

        Seems there are angry and frustrated people who troll the ‘net looking for places to disagree rudely.

        If you don’t agree with the information here, simply don’t follow the advice given. Most of us are not interested in your foot stamping and, as our bodies are all different, we can experiment for ourselves to see if the advice works for us.

    • A sensible approach. deepak Chopra explains that in Ayurvedic medicine we have different bodily requirements and we are catagorized accordingly. Some do well with meat, some don’t.

      Truly one man’s meat is another man’s poison.

  22. This article would make sense if a person was eating raw beans, but given that most people follow the directions and wash/soak their beans, prior to consumption, this article is useless. Study after study, (which is why I am guessing you don’t cite any), clearly state that beans must be cooked, heated, and/or washed, in order for the lectin to be removed…

    Iyiyi… I really hate it when people have just enough information to hurt themselves, and others! I really hope people do their own research, because this article is utterly ridiculous.

    • I really hope people listen to there body and note how they feel, think, and behave. If all the answers were in these so called credible studies, there would be a lot more health and less disease.

  23. Your internet research is wrong. Legumes are part of any healthy diet- indeed, the cultures which exhibit the highest life expectancy all have diets based around legumes. When you cook food, you destroy toxins like lectin. What I’m trying to say is that you’ve wasted both your time and ours.

  24. How about just eating a balanced diet, exercising, and getting proper rest? Things my great-grandma new worked pretty well. Some of your stuff is correct. Some……well, – debatable. I think it’s hilarious that, my entire life, people going into “health food” stores and decrying the evil of such-and-such foods or praising the glory of other foods, are usually the most unfit people I’ve ever seen.

  25. While lectins in beans may lead to health problems, you state that it is only suspected that it may lead to insulin and leptin resistance, which again may contribute to diabetes, obesity and heart disease. What I adamantly disagree with is your theory that lectins are more dangerous than saturated fat. Look at the obesity and health crisis plaguing the USA – this is a result of high fat, highly processed diets, not eating beans. Many Americans have probably never even tried eating beans.

    As well, lectins are destroyed when beans are cooked. Anyone who has ever eaten raw beans or undercooked beans can tell you that they spent hours in the washroom – it’s a lesson quickly learned to cook your beans completely before eating them.

    Traditional cultures have lived for thousands of years with vegetables, grains and beans (legumes) as their primary diet, with meat reserved for special occasions or affluent members of that society. They survived and thrived – why is it once they switched to a traditional SAD diet (Standard American Diet) did they develop comparable rates of obesity, diabetes and heart disease similar to that found in North America?

    • I am not sure what happened to my previous comment. You make some good points. It is interesting to read all the differing views. I have struggled with my weight and pcos for many years. I am considered obese. Recently, I was diagnosed with diabetes.

      I switched my diet to plant strong and vegan foods. In a little over 2 weeks my blood glucose range went down from the 300’s to normal ranges. I have also lost 25 pounds in 2 months. I eat vegetables, fruits, grains, and legumes. I eat some kind of beans every day. My energy levels are higher than ever before. I am looking forward to improving my health and reaching my goal weight.

      With that being said, I think any information regarding nutrition should be weighed out carefully. If people are persuaded to eat or not eat certain foods, they could be missing out on very important benefits such as disease prevention.

  26. So now nuts,pulses , wholegrains , pasta and rice is bad food, as I lift weights I consume a fair amount of meat and protein and need fibre . What are the healthy options left? Working 11 hour days and then hitting the gym leaves little time to prepare huge bowls of vegetables to eat all day to get the calories I need. So when I go to the supermarket for a lunch , I am completely stumped!

    • I emphathize because unless you are willing to give up and be a 96 pound weakling, you will need to eat a variety of foods many of which have some issues. The key is to try to determine what may be safe limits of each. I’d could definitely benefit from 3 cups of beans per day if there were not any possible issues with that. But I currently hesitate to go over the 1 or 1.33 cups.

  27. I think the implication (about beans being good for the heart) has built in the assumption, that beans are replacing a proportion of one’s diet that would been filled by meat products (i.e. commercial meat). I also think it relevant to point out the relative health of a country like Japan, who’s cuisine is built upon soy products (much of which is fermented, I grant you). In any case, I think our greatest guide (when it comes to diet), should be human history. Beans are an economical, practical, and more humane source of protein.

    I have no dog in the fight; I eat both meat and beans. But I do consider eschewing something like beans, as a sign that people being too spoiled when it comes to what they eat. Historically, beans are a poor man’s food… We ate them because it was just cheaper. But nowadays, people don’t eat beans. I go to Chipotle, which features burritos, bowls with rice/beans/meat as staples. So it annoys me when I see people eschew beans–for double meat. Or just refuse rice. These people don’t realize the role these things have in human history (if nothing else, it was to fill one’s belly). Imagine your grandparents (maybe in 1910 New York City, or from their country of origin) turning down a nice bed of rice and beans… It wouldn’t happen. Because people appreciated food.

  28. There is no danger from PHA lectin in properly cooked beans, including anything canned.

  29. I know this is an older article, but I couldnt agree more. I love your website it has so much useful information. I recently cut beans out of my already all natural and organic diet and I feel so much better. Whenever I ate any type of beans my stomach would just feel horrible, like the food would immeadiately start to ferment. So cutting beans out of my diet has been a great decision for my overall health and well-being. To me your article makes perfect sense! 🙂

  30. I found that my family lost weight only after giving up beans, grains, dairy and nightshade vegetables. After years of eating how our Dr said to eat we discovered that because of the inflammation our bodies were under because of the reactions we had to the foods above we were nutrient deficient. This article is right on the mark. No it’s not for everyone but it’s no beans for us. Why torture your body over a bean? If you can’t eat it raw don’t eat it.

    • I suppose that Donna doesn’t cook meat either.

    • It’s just like that acidic and alkaline balance huh?
      Beans are listed as acidic as well as grains 😉 so alkaline foods (I think that’s how you spell it. Silly phone changing it) are simular to what this article is talking about. It weighs up with that.

  31. what is science? a study conducted by humans. what is psychology? the study on human patterns and behavior conducted by humans and machines. what is a belief? a feeling through your entire body that trumps both science and psychology. since both science and psychology are simply observations that become a belief.

  32. You’d think this article was about politics or religion given the emotionaly charged comments. And then to think, this article is just about beans, *BEANS*……hysterical, thanks for the laughs. (But really I am scared)

  33. I have been researching the idea of lectins now for about six months, and Wellness Mama is correct; her claims correspond with the reading I have done, both with credible web sites and scholarly journal articles. Basically, lectins are carbohydrate-binding proteins that are natural defenses in plants, and have been intensified by modern food processing methods (to make the plants even more insect and disease-resistant).

    Lectins can damage our intestines, and then can move into the bloodstream. I have gone on a low-lectin diet, and the foods I do not eat are wheat, barley, rye, corn, soy, all legumes, dairy, tomatoes, white potatoes, eggplant, and all kinds of peppers. This diet also cuts out all processed foods, since they contain soy and grains. I am still undecided about rice; it is a grain, but I am still reading about its properties.

    What is left is pure meats, eggs, some vegetables, and some fruits. I use olive oil as a salad dressing and for cooking. Since I have been on this diet, I have lost weight, and my stomach and intestines feel better than they have in many years. I have had stomach and intestinal issues as long as I can remember, but I can live now without pain and digestive issues. I am still continuing to read and research the subject.

    • Likewise – beans absolutely nail me – causing inflammation and digestive upsets that disappear a week or so following their removal. Diagnosed a celiac, I turned to legumes as a source of protein – absolutely loved them but my health actually went downhill until I moved to a low lectin diet.

      I’m sure many people have no problems whatsoever with lectin in the diet as we humans have adapted to eat a wide variety of diets, so if you can cope with beans and grains then go for it, but for those with digestive issues and inflammation that just won’t resolve, try a low lectin diet for six weeks and see if it makes a difference – it has for me and many others.

  34. My apologies to the author but this post is a pile of misleading and possibly harmful nonsense. You have a point about ricin, really nasty stuff and heat resistant to an extent. So don’t include castor beans in your diet. Kidney beans can be nasty too, unless you thoroughly and properly cook them which denatures the lectins and leaves behind a well rounded portion of protein, fiber, resistant starch, and beneficial vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals. Certain beans may have detrimental health effects but I do not believe many of those are commonly found in the human diet. Other beans, and possibly whole unprocessed grains, may cause problems if consumed raw or undercooked. The vast majority of legumes consumed by various cultures around the world, if properly prepared, are nothing but good for you, unless you have an allergy or some other clinical sensitivity.

    In fact, a little over a year ago I switched from a standard western diet to a more plant rich and definitely legume enriched diet and plunged my blood glucose from over 400 to under 100 without the use of medication.

  35. I actually switched to a pretty standard diet: I eat beans 2-3 times a day. In the beans, there will be just a touch of hamburger meat, alot of jalapeno peppers, bell peppers, onions, chili peppers, and tomatoes. My snacks are basically apples, peppers, bananas, pistachios, and sugar snap peas. I also drink a “Amazing Grass” once a day… which contains different vegetables and grasses (3-5 servings of dark greens per scoop). I feel absolutely amazing now that I’ve switched my diet. Yes, before I was eating a typical American diet.. high in sugar..high in animal fats.. I am by no means against eating meat, just trying to do so in moderation.

    Again, I feel amazing. Pinto beans 2-3 times day… awesome… I’m losing weight. I’m staying full. My fasting blood sugar has gone from 93 to 78 in 2 months. My healthy cholesterol is up.. my unhealthy is down.. triglycerides are way down. I’ve lost weight. Obviously, you would expect that weight would drop when you start to eat healthy..but, all of my blood work is better… And to top it off, my bowel movements are as close to normal as they’ve ever been.

  36. Why would one not soak beans overnight, I mean it is even written on the package? (I just wonder, why this need to be point out, it is also mostly written on the recipes containing beans.)

  37. I don’t think beans or other legumes such as peanuts could be harmful, because after eating huge amounts of beans and huge amounts of peanut butter (among many other healthy foods and food supplements of course) for about three years my extreme high blood pressure of almost 50 years duration has been completely cured for more than 6 months now. That’s right, after being on the highest dose of Lotrel available for about 10 years I suddenly found that my blood pressure had normalized and I haven’t required a single dose of blood pressure medication during the past 6 months. My systolic pressure now remains between 110 & 120 almost all the time without any treatment whatsoever.
    Most weeks for the past three years I’ve cooked a 6 quart crockpot full of beans with 2 chopped up huge onions and 1 four ounce link of thinly sliced beef sausage for flavor. I’ve also eaten between 1 & 2 twenty ounce jars of no salt added peanut butter almost every week. (high in monounsaturated fat for anyone who cares). So how is that for loading up on the legumes? I cook my beans for 12 hours. It makes a nice thick soup. Tasty. I alternate between pinto beans, large butter beans, and blackeyed peas. They are all equally delicious. I also add a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil (also high in monounsaturated fat for anyone who cares) to each 16 ounce bowl of beans, and some black pepper as well right before eating.
    I eat a lot of other things which probably had more to do with curing the high blood pressure, but I’m just saying that eating a lot of beans and peanut butter did not prevent my health from making a large improvement, and in my opinion they contributed greatly and in a positive way. I have nothing to gain here. I’m just reporting the true facts.

  38. I had been some form of vegetarian (vegan, raw food, etc.) for about two decades. I was sick a lot of the time and eventually found out that was due to celiac disease. I started a gluten free vegan diet and initially I felt better but was still constantly fatigued and also developed psoriasis. I then started eating meat (not a lot, a bit) –and I felt better. During that time, I was traveling and mostly eating veggies and meat and all my symptoms disappeared. When I came back, the chronic fatigue, inflammation, and psoriasis came back. I blamed my meat eating but the real culprits were the grains and legumes I introduced back into my diet. My flare ups are worse with legumes than with grains (but both cause symptoms to appear again). Listen to your body, healthy food isn’t healthy for everyone. I definitely think beans and other foods can be healthy for people that got lucky with the genetic lottery in life. If you have an autoimmune condition – I would definitely scrutinize the “healthy” foods in your diet. Even superfoods like spirulina had to go to the trash.

    • Listening to your body doesn’t always work, because eating health promoting foods often will induce a Herxheimer reaction, as has been known for many years (by those who know). The Herxheimer reaction is commonly thought to last for only a few days or a few weeks, but as I have proven to my own satisfaction at least, it can last for years, depending primarily on how long you have been ill. In your case, a., the spirulina may have induced a Herxheimer reaction. I deliberately induced a Herxheimer reaction in myself, which lasted for about three years before my high blood pressure was cured (as I commented above on 4-20-14). So, I deliberately took a known fact and carried it one step further and made it work for me. It didn’t happen accidentally. I am not one of those who won at the genetic lottery in life, unless it was a perseverance gene that I inherited.
      I found that I had type 2 diabetes when I was 25 years old, and I cured it by the time I was 40; but not the circulatory damage which had resulted. That took a lot longer, but now my circulation is almost normal. Ten years ago I was about to die from cirrhosis of the liver, but after years of searching I found the supplement that turned it all around. I still take it, even though my liver condition was cured almost ten years ago. And I’ve had a lot of other near fatal conditions, but they’re pretty much all cured now. So in my opinion a persons genetic inheritance is less important than what one does with that inheritance.

      • Healthy foods are not the cause of herxing. Herxing happens when a large amount of bad bacteria die off suddenly and the amount of dead bacteria in the body is more than the body can keep up with eliminating and it causes a mild toxic effect. This happens mostly with antibiotics, but can also occur with certain herbal remedies – especially the herbal detoxes or cleanses that specifically target bad bacteria. Eating something healthy isn’t going to cause a mass die off of bacteria. Healthy eating adds nutrients to your body, but an apple or spirulina isn’t going to target and kill off anything and isn’t going to lead to hex symptoms.

  39. Thank you for this article. Very informative! I just started down the paleo road and there’s so much to learn. Your blog has been so helpful! Thanks. 🙂

  40. Does anyone really eat uncooked beans? How? Beans are not bad for you at all, if fully cooked. Beans do contain a toxic chemical when raw, but again, who eats raw beans? First time I hear that.

    • yes, I do – well, sort of. Dried beans start off as garden green beans. When small, the pod is eaten. When they get bigger, you can eat the pod and the soft ‘pea like’ beans inside. Once fully mature the inside beans are hard, but still green. They have to be hung to dry (or machine dried) to harden into a ‘dried bean’. The mature, green but not yet dried beans are delicious; I used to eat them frequently (I grow my own). Now that I learned about lectin, I don’t anymore.

    • In addition to the comment I already made, I should add that raw beans aren’t the only problematic beans. As stated in the article: “undercooked beans may be more toxic than raw beans” – so if beans are slightly undercooked they will have more lectin than beans that are raw!

  41. “NO polyunsaturated fats because they are also the root of all evil”

    The “root of all evil”? Hmmmm….. seems extreme for something humans have consumed since they’ve existed – knowingly or unknowingly.

    I grew up catholic, and was taught that SATAN was the root of all evil – however, there are those that say the government is the root of all evil – others simply say it’s mankind itself and the way we are destroying the earth and everything on it. Who would have known that none of those things are the cause and that it’s plant oils???
    Guess I better start spreading the word!


  42. I enjoy such a lively & flavorful discussion, the savory bean pot with extra spice warms me and my kitchen this winter. The anecdotal wisdom and I will say I have not met a bean that disagreed with me so far.
    I hope everyone of us gets a healthy dose of wellness by ingesting and digesting the parts of this blog that they agree with. Dining accompanied by a healthy & happy friend indeed could be a better way to get micro-nutrients to behave. Ranting about what I have on my plate or a health scare a la mode is the wrong kind of pepper to put in the pot. The skeptics are a good sign that there is still flavor & food in our food. I sniff and I whiff, sometimes over exclamations of extreme chemical disgust. Or my mood & palate are tingled by tasty visions (that are not in my mouth yet)
    from a new cookbook, dinner & wellness, everyone look…take a bite.
    There is great and spirited belief that we share- that the answers can be discovered through our trial and error, or looked up online. But even if we find the truth, if I can’t accept it, or handle it, my path will stray into the bean patch. The pulverized capsule pill form of anything edible is missing the major symphony of attraction. I am what I eat therefore its colors & textures & shapes & smells salty wet hot juicy sweet sour chewy..no I’ve been told I’m crunchy. Yup sounds about right.
    My two favorite beans – Vanilla & Chocolate, I really endorse, for flavor fiber & phytos. indulge with a pinch of salt.
    The best effect of having to live with being so damn crunchy, is that I think of myself as a human bean and thank the entire bean family for adopting me & getting me to plant grow more (heirloom beans!)
    They grow with everything. I thank Mama to keep her sense of humor, because whether Wiki says it yet, I think there is great source of healing
    packed into a giggle. And lots of hope for us all.

  43. Katie,

    I’m not on facebook or any of the other stuff but I have been reading and reading your stuff and you say beans are not good but in your 7 Simple Steps in the menu planning part you mention GREEN BEANS. Are they ok? What of yellow beans and others of that type?
    Thank you and God bless you for all the hard work you’re doing and sharing.

    • Green beans are young and have less phytic acid in them, so they are not an everyday thing (who’d want to eat them that often anyway) but they are not to bad for you.

      • Thank you for answering. You made my day. I love green and yellow beans picked straight off the bush and eaten. In fact they are the only beans I plant in my garden. And I do enjoy ham and strings beans especially in the winter months. All the other beans will be quite easy to give up and I’m trying to sprout them and then eat the sprouts and also feed them to my chickens. That will help keep them happy over the winter when they don’t want to go out in the snow and there’s nothing green and growing, and no insects at all to munch on.

  44. Have you considered this? The reason that beans (legumes) and breads containing Lectin are harmful to humans or cause digestion and intestinal problems is because humans are consuming ANIMAL products along with the LECTIN products?
    Isn’t it possible that by consuming these animal products along with legumes and grain products you are creating the same TOXIC environment inside your body that is produced when animals eat legumes?
    Its just a thought -after reading the information you provided. I have been researching the controversy ‘are beans healthy or not? are grains healthy or not?’
    Basically I’ve come to the conclusion despite my lack of religious fervor that we were NEVER intended to consume Animal products -that nothing breathing should have to die in order for us to live -that the Natural Order set in place restrictions against certain combinations so that we understood not to MIX our human bodies with animal bodies in any manner -specifically by eating them.
    Lets be honest -we eat meat because we are addicted to it. Try giving it up and you may find it is just as addictive as drugs-alcohol -sugar. Mentally as well, its infected us with the idea that eating meat makes us More Successful -More Stronger -when it really destroys our natural healing abilities and weakens us with diseases.
    Spiritually and Morally if we think about it (most dont and wont) we are killing some of the most gentle and innocent of creatures on this planet. Why not eat a vicious animal instead? Its easier just to push a gentle cow into a pen, a domestic pig and a chicken into a cage. Its really sad if you think about it and listen to your conscious as well as your body’s response BUT few people will or do. Instead, because they are addicted and crave meat, plus they worry what others will say or think, or because its just too hard to change their ways…they will not stop and then they wonder why they end up with a disease despite their prayers and church attendance or good deeds.
    It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand the truth but it took me 50 years to see it, hear it and understand it.

    • Janna,
      Thank you for such a great post, you have a beautiful heart! I too agree that proper food pairing is utterly important! I know I used to feel terrible when ate animal with starch.

      I am on the same wave of thinking with you concerning the consumption of animal. Lets just say that I watched some videos of how “farms” treat their animals…They beat them, ridicule them, mutilate them..etc. Ever since that day, I cannot stand the sight of meat! This even happens in organic grass fed “farms”
      I still eat fish now and then, wild caught of course, because lets not get started on those farm raised!
      Ever since I switched to just fish, I don’t know if there’s something wrong with me because I don’t feel hungry like I used to, LOL! and I have more bowels than before…..uhhh, ok!

      Please, if you eat meat, please make sure its humanely raised and look for the humane seal on your meat, or go online to find vendors.

      I haven’t started eating beans yet, but I’m going to try just a very small amount with rice to try it out.

    • Wow. That seems inspired. You must be a religious person close to God.

  45. This is all very interesting to me as I seek to overcome my leaky gut and allergies through healthy diet and supplements. Something that I am wondering about is where the lectins in the beans are located. I noted reading somewhere about lectins being in the bean’s coating. If that is so, then eating split, skinless beans (i.e. skinned red lentils, split yellow peas, etc.) would be safe, if they are soaked and boiled. Is this correct? I love dal, and find it much more digestible than something like baked beans, and wouldn’t mind giving up my navy beans and black beans if I could keep eating the Indian-style dal/split legumes. What’s your take on dal?

    • The lectins are found mostly in the coating and soaking, sprouting and cooking do reduce the levels significantly. Diet is very much an individual thing so I’d stick with what is working for you…

      • If I soak the beans the night before, and I cook it well done on the pressure cooker for at least 2 hours or more? Would this help to eliminate most of the lectin? And then is safer to eat without causing harm to my body?

  46. There may be some other bio-hacks for minimizing theoretical leptin damage: I like to sprout the least leptin containing beans just a bit, after soaking 12 hours and then cooking in a pressure cooker for over an hour and longer cooking time for garbanzos. Until actual research comes out demonstrating leptin toxicity from eating cooked beans (not just their presence in beans) I believe the upside far greater than downside for majority of folks. P.S. sprouting beans ever so slightly is admittedly an instinctive approach with no linkage to studies etc. I’m thinking I’m turning them more into a vegetable and less a starch by doing so. Additionally I have lost weight on this diet (not my intent by any means) while no other dietary factors were changed. Cheers.

  47. A very informative read and pod cast below…


    But in this case, it turns out that most lectins, especially the most well-studied ones like wheat germ agglutinin, PHA, which is in legumes, which is phytohaemagglutinin, they are deactivated by heat. These proteins are very sensitive to heat, and they’re destroyed. So people waving their hands in the air like, “Oh my God, these things are really toxic!” and whatnot. And it’s true. They are very toxic. We have the research to show that they are toxic in animals in vitro when they’re fed to animals, but it turns out that they’re feeding raw legumes or pure isolated proteins to these things, not cooked food.

  48. First and foremost I bothered writing this to help people not to be right or for ego aggrandizement.
    I will say this much I struggled with weight for years I was like 200 pounds and middle school as an adult I am 5 six it wasn’t until I discovered and began to apply some of the principles of Katie as well as Chris kresser that anything of permanence happened I was 200 pounds two years ago in six months I dropped to 150 and have maintained that weight a yeAr and a half I do avoid white potatoes and most grains I eat oats (because as far as I know they’ve yet to be genetically modified and the health benefits of beta glucan which could also be obtained from things like shiitake) very sparingly as well as A moderate amount of beans and nuts I am interested to cut it out completely to see the effects it has on my allergies energy and mental well-being but beyond that I can Attest to the fact that after trying everything for years and then finally assuming the establishment was lying because a vested interest and intentionally trying to what the mainstream medical vilifies as they would no money in keeping people well now is there not individual doctors per se but big Pharma Monsanto etc. manipulating their education, did I ever have any sustainable results the hormonal balance and how to fix your leptin articles are totally on point my entire family of not only blood but also adoptive all have suffered from the typical post agricultural postindustrial American diet and now look to me as a model of results my doctor was totally astonished and has mentioned his surprise more than once and asked how I did it not only did I take this information and consideration but for the fact that I would like to live to see my great great grandchildren and not be a crippled sick old man I also researched Kitavins and blue zone (Google it) known for their lack of disease and longevity oddly enough they all pretty much follow these recommendations with the exception of a fair amount of grains beans and nuts with the exception of the Kitavins of course there’s a joke that the only fat one is the one who left the island. Further hey man was diagnosed here in his mid-70s If I remember correctly and was given six months to live with a diagnosis of lung cancer. All of this hits home and I researched it not only for my own health but for my family who has varying lay struggled with obesity as well as my diabetic ex-wife and I’ve lost various family members to heart disease and cancer. Anyway that man return to his homeland and their lifestyle in Ikaria Greece not only did he beat cancer when the article was written he was in his mid 90s and when asked if he ever went back to America so the doctors can figure out how he beat cancer he said yes the interviewer asked what did they say the guy gave a lighthearted chuckle and said nothing they were all dead. Is ironic is that is that should tell you a lot. Studying revelation I could see how these potentially could cause problems and accelerate AGing so I’m open minded to trying abstinence from these things. As for Wikipedia as a source some of its information over the years has kept me from accidental harm from the ignorance of otherwise inaccessible information and you can always check their sources your self furthermore not that I trust the government but I was recently reading about defective e-cigarette’s exploding and I came across a US fire department phamphlet some subdivision of FEMA and I really got a kick out of it because we were told in school not to use Wikipedia for years I guess because the government and corporations and higher education industry want a monopoly on information and as it turns out in that very Phamphlet they cited as a source Wikipedia so if it concerns you that a nutritionalist i’ll be at one who is probably gaining notoriety and making some money that is really just trying to help you mentions Wikipedia then it should probably horrify you that the government cited it. If Katie wasn’t trying to help you and the information she condenses in A form Dejargonized again the medical industry thrives off of keeping you sick and they use terms they don’t want you to understand unless you go to med school that the layperson can understand wasn’t the least bit helpful then I highly doubt you would have any following at all. I’m not in the least bit a fanatic or a follower but as a freethinker I would highly suggest considering this information. Being that I encourage this freethinking I encourage your curiosity to not only research what Katie says but what I have stated as well

  49. I find the life of this thread fascinating. I think this blog is fantastic for alerting everyone to the benefits of tracking diet and it’s relationship to health. But the bean thing! Sorry Wellness Mama with all due respect I think your on the wrong side of this discussion. I go to folks who have no vested interest same as you, but have PhD’s and live and breathe longevity studies, cancer, microbiome, etc. One such person is Dr. Rhonda Patrick who has written on the web about the weak case made for overall “bean fear”. So many advantages to the lowly bean. Especially for those of us who burn calories at a high metabolic rate and have a hard time keeping calories coming in. Maybe there is a very small population that cannot handle beans that have been properly cooked but to cast such a wide net for the rest of us seems careless.

  50. I think in moderation, beans will be fine IF PREPARED PROPERLY. Reading Weston Price articles will clue you in that canned beans (even home canned in many recipes) are not properly prepared.

    My sister, who has always carefully chosen what she ate and fed her family, went to the “Bean Queen” to remedy issues she’d been having. The bean queen put her on a very strict regime of beans at every meal, and a very strict, very limiting diet (worse than the Feingold diet for kids!!). Sister’s hubby went as a supporter, not really “believing”. Bean queen gave them two different diets, catered to each’s needs. Bean queen thought my sister should lose weight (my sister is average, not overweight)! BIL did end up having a surprising improvement in something he’d been living with but not bothered by. But my sister only got worse. Turned out, she had early stage Parkinson’s. Since the diagnosis, they eat beans occasionally, but not the 2 cups (EACH) at all three meals per day.

    Regarding protein in beans, there is evidence and studies that show the protein in beans, even when cooked properly, is not a complete protein and may not be any more advantageous than not eating protein at all. I am not going to link the studies–search yourself because the information may not be agreeable to you. Just be certain you aren’t reading from a source vested in beans. I also avoid WebMD and Mayo clinic sites, as they are so skewed to medicine and healing, and NOT toward preventative lifestyles that they don’t gain money from.

    Also, the phytates are questionable.

    There is also a reason Paleo believers and people who avoid carbs avoid beans.

    If you want to eat beans, just like everything else, don’t make them your daily fare.

  51. What is the best way to prepare beans if I am going to make them?

    • @Teri “What is the best way to prepare beans if I am going to make them?”

      Since there are many varieties of beans, there is no preparation method that would work for all of them. Different beans need different cooking times/methods and beyond that – everyone has their own preference for flavor/seasonings.

      If you choose a specific type of dried bean, you can re-post asking how to prepare the bean you chose. The answer will be the basic cooking instructions. The flavoring options or how to use beans in another dish have endless options.

  52. In reply to:

    “terry says November 4, 2015 at 10:42 PM
    geez thanks.. I almost threw away my pantry full of dry beans ! I love n live on them i’m near 60 & doing just great .. thanks”

    Since you are near 60 and doing great (congrats on that!) please don’t ever let anything you read on the web influence your choices. Being healthy after half a century of living means you are doing what works for you!!! so keep on doing it. Beans are an awesome source of fiber, complex carbs and protein.
    In some countries, beans are the staple of the diet and the people in those countries live LONGER than we do! Beans are an ancient food with a high nutrient value.
    This entire conversation has gone WAY too far and I’ve asked the thread originator to shut it down, but never got a response. I don’t get why we are beating beans to death – when they have PROVEN health benefits, while we could be discussing things like chemical fertilizers and GMO’s.

    Keep eating those beans! Not a day goes by without me having at least a cup; often more and as I’ve said in a prior post – they have helped me tremendously.

    Beans ARE a superfood; don’t give them up.

  53. Wellness Mama, have you read The China Study? Or Blue Zones? Or the recent WHO report that considers red meat a carcinogen?

  54. Holli, thanks for the great link to the science behind bean ingestion. Wow. I think this should quiet the storm on the evil bean! Granted of course a highly immune suppressed individual still may have problems with beans as they would with so many other benign foods. Thanks again.

  55. Why do people have to always make things that complicated? Imagine hundreds of years ago, when all the technology was non-existent…human beings survived and evolved according to what mother nature offered them. In my opinion balance is the key as the dose makes the poison. I cant remember my grandparents (living in the countryside) ever complaining of being sick These were actually the base of their diets, grains and legumes + meat every now and then and loads of exercise (working the fields 🙂 plus, where i come from, that is eastern europe, allergies are significantly less common. Therefore, i really dont believe we should categorise beans as “toxic” based on “science”…

  56. Interesting that all the really rude and angry comments on here are written by people who are bean and grain eaters. Maybe that’s their problem.

  57. With all due respect, madame, there are no such things are protein cells. Proteins are chains of organic molecules with complex structures that all cells synthesize as working agents.