Legumes ~ Reader Input Request

I'm trying to reconcile the plethora information I keep coming across regarding the benefits of the Mediterranean Diet and similar with the shunning of legumes in the Paleo community (including peanuts and cashews).  There is a lot of info on toxic compounds in legumes.

I would be interested in any and all input on this topic, links I should check out, etc.  

Lately I've been upping my carb consumption slightly and have always enjoyed such foods as chili with various kidney beans, garbanzo beans (mostly in salads), and Mexican bean dishes.  I've already incorporated some of these into my diet (infrequently) to no ill effect, probably causing many of you to cringe and worry over my imminent demise.  ;-) ... or maybe not {VBG}.


CPM said…
Hi Carbsane,

It is not particularly well researched, but I posted my thoughts and rationale (and some links) on dry beans awhile back here:


I don’t see any problems eating beans a few times a week, and I personally think beans do have a definite advantage in terms of weight loss. Back before I discovered paleo, I replaced all my grains with black beans, and I lost 30 lbs fairly easily in 3 months (though I hit the plateau about 20lbs short of my goal).

Eating beans twice a day for about 6 months did not seem to cause any specific problems for me personally (other than occasional gas), but it would be impossible to say how it really affected my health. I think for overall health that diversity would be better, especially since we seem to know so little about a lot of stuff.
Unknown said…
From the research I've done, cashews are seeds, not legumes.
gn said…
aside from adverse effects beans/legumes may or may not have on a particular individual, there are two points upon which they may not be considered an 'ideal' food stuff:
1. an idea that if something that cannot be eaten in raw state it is not fit for consumption
2. plant proteins in general (of which beans/legumes are a particularly rich source) are detrimental health-wise: http://healthcorrelator.blogspot.com/2010/07/china-study-one-more-time-are-raw-plant.html
Sanjeev said…
I'm Canadian and my ancestry is Indian, so I've eaten a lot of legumes. Don't even know the names for most of them. the tiny yellowish ones, the slightly bigger orange-ish ones, the even slightly bigger white ones with the thin papery brown envelope. Chick peas and kidney beans of course.

To dump them all in the same bucket is a bit suspicious. Some of them seem to be just packets of zero fat fiber with just a bit of starch.

Others (like peanuts) seem to kill some people on contact.

Still others seem to be made of compressed gas (don't eat them in the winter, you may need to open a window, if you know what I mean ...)

BTW, the most reasonable of the paleo blogs I came across was Don Matesz's - he was pro- starch (sweet potato for preference) and pro-vegetable when, If I remember correctly, 99% of the paleo blogs were not.

CarbSane said…
Great post CPM, thanks for that link! As commented on your blog, I have often wondered about the demonization of certain foods based on phytate & O6 content when nuts are similarly afflicted.

DajM, it seems you are correct! I'll cop to laziness there as I was just repeating what I have read at various Paleo sites that are quick to point out that peanuts and cashews are not nuts. Welcome to my blog!

@ gn: 1. While acknowledging the raw food argument, personally I find this one of the least compelling arguments. Humans have been cooking foods for a long time, so if that process renders a food edible I tend to believe there's a reason for our brains and higher function in food selection if that makes any sense. As to point 2, I do wonder how much of the plant protein issues are due to the amino acid profiles, etc. Since I'm pretty far from a veggie and don't intend to eat beans regularly as a protein source, this is probably not an issue for me. (I hope anyway LOL) Potatoes are relatively high in protein too as I recall.

Good point Sanjeev regarding the wide variety amongst that which we lump into such a broad category. Not paleo, but I often find it hypocritical for LC'ers to shun beans not just for having too many carbs but for many of the same reasons listed in CPM's blog. And yet, black soybeans are a fave among many b/c of low carb count. Presumably they have all the other nasty stuff!

THANKS all for the input and I welcome further discussion on this topic. Part of my thinking here is that as I've been adding a few more carbs, I'm trying to keep those dishes fairly simple. But I get bored eating the same thing. Rather than experimenting with elaborate recipes and such, seems broadening my simple choices is a better strategy.