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What’s With Beans?


What’s with Beans?

This article is about the little known controversy around beans.


By Travis Wade

Vegans- “Eat them.”

 Paleos- “No way!”

Timothy Ferris, author of “The 4-Hour Body“- “Eat them.”

Dr. Mark Hyman- “Don’t eat them.”

Every article I’ve read says something different about beans. Who’s right? Well, that depends on what you want to accomplish with your diet.

Vegans Love Beans


Vegans will tell you they choose beans because they’re high in protein, fibre, and carbohydrates. Plus, they contain nutrients such as iron, folate, magnesium, potassium, and, to a lesser degree, phosphorus, zinc, copper, manganese, and vitamins B1, B3, B5, and B6. However, it’s a little misleading to claim nutrients as an advantage because the processing required to make beans edible removes many of them.

The Paleo Beans Debate


Generally, paleo peeps don’t even agree with each other on what to eat. Today’s paleo experts believe we must study ancient teeth to discover what cave dwellers ate to learn what’s in a paleo diet. Some will say that beans are included, while others will say they are not. Incidentally, the tooth study determined that troglodytes from the Paleolithic Era indeed ate beans. So, if you’re on a paleo diet, your people say beans are ok.

Timothy Ferris Loves Beans


Timothy Ferris, the author of “The 4-Hour Body, swears by beans. He claims they’re the magic ingredient for weight loss. The high carbohydrate/fibre/protein and low glycemic index of beans make them a “slow-carb” and thereby attractive to the weight loss community. Ferris claims that in his study, adding beans to a diet and not changing anything else substantially improved weight loss. Does it work? It actually does!

The glycemic index of beans is very low keeping us feeling satiated a long time. The high fibre and high protein will do the same. When we stay feeling full longer we eat less causing weight loss.

According to experts, the glycemic index depends on how the beans are prepared. The more you soak the beans and cook them, the higher the glycemic index. Mom’s baked beans with bacon and brown sugar were delicious, but they are among the highest glycemic index foods. In other words, they make you fat.

Dr. Mark Hyman on Beans

Dr. Mark Hyman

The photo was taken from https://drhyman.com

Dr. Mark Hyman is the reason I’m writing this article. He isn’t a fan of beans, but I hadn’t read much on why he didn’t like them. However, the more digging and reading I did, the more I agreed with Dr. Hyman. Mm-hmm…it turns out these little suckers can be pretty toxic and cause all kinds of mischief in your body.

Plants cannot run or fight, so one of the ways they defend themselves is to produce toxins or poisons. Phytic-acid or phytate is one such poison. It binds with specific minerals and prevents their absorption into the body. Phytate is more of a concern to vegetarians as meat-eaters tend to get more minerals from animal products. Furthermore, beans don’t taste great anyway; they are considered the least addictive food on the planet.

Copper Toxicity from Beans


Another problem vegetarians face is copper toxicity. This is because many beans are very high in copper. Copper is a necessary nutrient in minimal amounts, but too much from beans, combined with too little zinc from lack of red meat, can lead to copper toxicity.

In theory, anyone with a high copper diet can end up with copper toxicity, not just vegetarians. If you have copper poisoning, you’re likely to hate red meat because it stimulates the thyroid and adrenal glands, releasing the stored copper. Consequently, this induces copper toxicity symptoms, including headaches, emotional instability, fatigue, insomnia, depression, skin rashes, brain fog, learning disorders, and premenstrual syndrome. Fortunately, once copper toxicity is overcome with enough small doses of red meat, the symptoms go away.

Lectin in Beans

stomach ache

Ever heard of lectin? This is important, my friends, it causes all kinds of problems. Lectin contributes to what is known as Leaky Gut Syndrome. Some doctors still say Leaky Gut Syndrome is nonexistent, but it’s getting more difficult to deny its harmful effects.

Lectin binds to human body cells and kills them. When this happens to the lining of the gut, the gut becomes much more permeable. Lectin can then leak through the intestine and link to cells in the bloodstream and kill those cells. We’re talking system-wide inflammation. While lectin is present in all plants, it is grains, GMOs, pasteurized dairy, beans, nuts, and seeds that have a very high content. 

Genetically Modified Organisms

GMOs are genetically modified organisms. One of the ways the food industry has changed foods is by increasing their “natural” toxins to keep bugs away. In other words, they made them extremely high in lectin.

My friends planted organic potatoes and non-organic potatoes on their farm in large amounts. The bugs didn’t touch the GMO potatoes and ate the organic ones completely. Now, if bugs won’t eat it, you shouldn’t either! There’s an absurd amount of problems with GMOs, but I’ll stop there for now.

Almost all soybeans and soy products are GMOs, along with corn, grains, and sugar. If you’re eating packaged foods, you’re eating corn, soy, grains, and frightfully modified sugars. Sugar synergistically magnifies all the inflammation and harmful bacteria/yeast in your gut. Not to mention the preservatives and other toxins in packaged foods.

Processing Beans

chilli beans

Fortunately, you can neutralize the phytate and lectin in beans by soaking them in water, sprouting them or fermenting them. You can also boil them at 100 degrees Celsius for at least 10 minutes. However, soaking and boiling them will also remove nutrients in the beans and increase their glycemic index.

Inasmuch, if you cook your beans at too low a temperature, they can be more dangerous. For instance, shockingly, people die every year from lectin poisoning when slow cooking chilli. That’s because kidney beans are among the foods highest in lectin, and slow cooking does not reach temperatures high enough to reduce the lectin.

Didn’t think beans were so bad? Studies show that beans have been linked to IBS, Crohn’s disease, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, peptic ulcers, allergies, and type 2 diabetes.

Phytoestrogen in Beans

soy beans

Another unusual defence mechanism employed by plants is to cause infertility in predators. Phytoestrogen is not estrogen, but it mimics estrogen and causes a hormone imbalance that can generate impotence in many male predators. High estrogen levels are not suitable for men or women for various reasons. One reason is low thyroid, which kills metabolism. Regrettably, soybeans are high in phytoestrogen.  



FODMAP is an acronym for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides And Polyols. These carbohydrates are hard to digest and turn into fermentable sugars that cause numerous issues in the GI tract. For some, it’s much worse than for others. Unfortunately, a lot of beans are a source of FODMAPs. When something gets fermented, a by-product is always some type of gas. Pardon me; my friend’s an A-hole.

Table 2


High FODMAP foodsLow FODMAP foods
Asparagus, artichokes, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, garlic, leek, onion, sugar snap peasAlfalfa, bean sprouts, green beans, bell peppers, bok choy, carrots, celery, cucumber, eggplant, kale, lettuce, radish, spinach, squash, tomato, turnip, zucchini
Apples, blackberries, pears, mango, watermelon, nectarines, peaches, plums, dried fruitsBanana, blueberry, cantaloupe, honeydew, grapes, kiwi, orange, pineapple, raspberry, strawberry
Milk (cow, goat, sheep), yoghurt, soft cheese, cream, custard, ice creamLactose-free milk, lactose-free yogurts, hard cheese
Legumes/pulsesMeats, fish, chicken, eggs, tofu, tempeh
Rye, wheat breads, wheat-based cereals, wheat pastaGluten-free bread and pasta, sourdough spelt bread, oats, rice, quinoa
Cashews, pistachiosAlmonds, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds walnut, macadamia, peanut, pecan, pine nut
Sauce, jam, salsa or salad dressing with high fructose corn syrup, honey, agave, carob powder, artificial sweeteners (mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol)Jelly, marmalade, butter, nut butters, mustard, mayonnaise, olives, cocoa powder, vinegar, soy sauce, cooking oils

Table taken from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4944381/

Aflatoxins and Beans


Peanuts are a type of bean – they’re not actually a nut. Peanuts carry all the toxins other beans have, and also, they have aflatoxin, a metabolite of mould. Aflatoxin is the most potent carcinogen known to man. It’s another toxin your body has to deal with and fight off. Who needs more inflammation? The lectin in peanuts and peanut oil is potent, and roasting them does not neutralize the toxicity.

Soy Beans


If I haven’t turned you off of soy yet, then let me revisit this. I mentioned that soy is high in phytoestrogen, but it also contains a trypsin inhibitor. Trypsin is an enzyme that breaks down protein. A trypsin inhibitor prevents trypsin from breaking down protein to be absorbed

Soy protein and soy milk are two things that should never be considered food. In fact, I cringe when I hear the process of how the stuff is made. I hope that’s enough to beat all the great marketing in favour of soy.

The Good Beans

bean sprouts

Green beans are rich in folate, fibre, and many other vitamins and minerals. They also have much less of the toxins mentioned above, and they are low FODMAP. Green beans are a slow-carb, which means a low glycemic index and an excellent carb for weight loss.

Green peas are very rich in vitamins and minerals along with phytonutrients that help prevent many diseases, including heart disease and cancer. They are also a slow-carb.

If you are going to choose any other bean, then non-GMO sprouted beans are the best.

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