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The Real Truth About Beans and Why You Shouldn’t Eat Them

shutterstock93552583This might be shocking to  you, but certain types of beans can be quite poisonous.  Did you know that red beans were legally prohibited from being imported into South Africa because of “their potential toxicity to humans”?  The main cause is a toxin called ‘phytohaemagglutinin’ or kidney bean lectin. This is a sugar based protein (glycoprotein) which is found in many types of beans such as cannellini beans.  However, red kidney beans contain  the highest concentrations of this toxin. It only takes a few beans to cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pains.

Kidney beans, black beans and navy beans are high in oligosaccharides. Our bodies can not produce the enzyme necessary to break down these complex sugars. When we eat beans, the oligosaccharides ferment in the lower intestine producing carbon dioxide and methane gases.

Antinutrients in Beans and Legumes


Legumes contain relatively high concentrations of lectins. Lectins are proteins produced by most plants as a natural pesticide. When consumed in high quantity, lectins can cause a lot of health issues.

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; under cooked beans may be more toxic than raw beans. 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’(though this should not be a problem if the food reaches boiling and stays there for some time).


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