Recently someone asked me why you shouldn’t eat legumes on the Paleo Diet. I have to be honest with you, I could not spit out the answer. Prior to “going Paleo” I did not eat a lot of legumes. There is a great confusion among people as to why legumes aren’t part of the paleo diet. In fact many vegetarians are always wondering what they will eat, if not the different types of beans. Historically, the initial paleo diet didn’t include legumes as part of their diet, mainly because legumes have to be cooked for them to be edible. Currently all the experts in the paleo diet community are against some of the legumes like peanuts, chickpeas, soy beans, lentils, broad beans, pinto beans and kidney beans. So if you want to know why you should never add legumes into your paleo diet please read on.
1. Legumes contain high quantities of Lectins
Lectins are actually proteins which are produced by plants for protective purposes. Lectins are toxic and inflammatory. These toxins can suppress your immunity function, promote inflammation by simply allowing the undigested protein-molecules to infiltrate the digestive system and trigger an auto-immune response a situation referred to as leaky gut syndrome and interfere with all the normal protective gut barriers. Lectins can also cause long-term problems like affecting your body’s capability to absorb mineral and nutrients, arthritis and various food allergies. Some of the famous lectins include peanut agglutinin, Ricin and Phytohaemagglutinin which are found in various legumes like castor beans, kidney beans and peanuts.
Although present in most foods, phytates are high in legumes and grains. Phytates tend to block the absorption of various minerals including Zinc, iron, calcium and magnesium. Phytates can also inhibit the functions of various enzymes in your body which are critical for digestion like amylase and pepsin.
3. Legumes contain protease inhibitors
Protease are the enzymes that are responsible for breaking down protein, therefore protease inhibitors are the molecules which block and stop protease from doing their jobs. Since these inhibitor keep the proteins from being broken down properly and absorbed, the body will start producing a certain type of enzymes which results in various problems such as leaky gut, allergic reactions and chronic inflammation.
These are not really estrogen, but in our bodies they do act like estrogens. The Phytoestrogen present in legumes bind to the estrogen receptors, but they give a weaker signal which results in over-production of estrogen and this will disrupt your body’s hormonal system. This can end up causing various complications including bladder cancer, disrupted reproduction & infertility, increased Alzheimer incidents and asthma.
Carbs aren’t bad for you, but if you are overweight or diabetic, then you should not eat carbs. Carbs will stall weight loss and affect your blood sugar level. So if you are trying to lose weight you should stay away from legumes.
I didn’t have a problem giving up legumes because I usually had a negative digestive reaction to them. (I know, TMI!)
What are your experiences with legumes? Drop a note in the comments!