Twitter Updates

    follow me on Twitter
    My Photo

    Current Courses I teach:

    • Analysis of Human Movement
      Stanford Athletics 187 (Winter)
    • Stanford Continuing Studies
      Exercise Theory and Application, Nutrition for Health Weight Loss, Coordinating Nutrition & Exercise, Food Facts & Fads, Sports Nutrition
    • Food Facts, Fads & Pharmacology
      Stanford Medical School (Spring)

    Get My Continuously-Updated Widget:

      You must have Javascript enabled to see it:

    Get my TOOLBAR

      LIVE 'Nutrition Chat' with me and anyone else that has this toobar any time we are on line. Click below:
      toolbar powered by Conduit
    • The TOOLBAR also has:
      My favorite health links, instant access to my web site & this BLOG, google search, a radio, news headlines, weather forcast and email notification. REQUIRES Windows 2000/XP.

    « Medical Research Ignores & Duplicates Previous Research: Ignorance Can Kill | Main | Death is "Free" as Low-Fat/Cal Dressing »

    February 06, 2011


    Chef Shedric

    The Paleo approach is one of those paradoxes of modern diets. Because it eliminates many of the unhealthy refined foods, I raking it high above the Standard American Diet (SAD). On the other hand, when you begin to eliminate foods that have historically supported healthy populations world-wide for centuries (Legumes) with nothing more than hypothetical evidence; that provides a serious reason for pause.

    If those who oppose legumes want to be taken serious on this subject, they must point to a real population or a reliable population study that demonstrates ill effects from the consumption of legumes.

    To simply talk about what phytic acid does in isolation or in a test tube is not sufficient. This type of reductive analysis ignores the complexity of nutritional context - meals, diet, or lifestyle.

    Assuming that phytic acid did limit some nutrient absorption, whose to say that other ingredients traditionally eaten with legume as a meal don't buffer this effect. Maybe other aspects of diet or lifestyle among populations that consume legumes offer a protective effect or offsetting effect.

    In any case building a case for not eating an important high quality source of protein, fiber, and mineral on flimsy evidence is a too common and danger practice in the world of popular diets. BUYERS BEWARE!

    Touch Me

    You can almost trace the change in thinking in these people who used to believe in Paleo. Paleo is now a ragtag band of meat-eaters who wanted to hear that there is nothing wrong with gorgoing themselves with redmeat. Some of these morons ended up with gout and their BUN skyrocketed. You can always tell when these morons post their blood labs on sites such as PaleoHacks and Mark's Daily Apple. Their BUN is over 25, their trigs are like 25, since they don't eat carbs, and their T3/Ft3 are just above the lower bound. What I've seen these morons develop over the years, after they've gone carbless for like 9 months, is immune deficiency. It's not the low thyroid. It's the low thymus, which results and is a sign of leptin deficiency, which triggers immune dysfunction. Check out some of these posts in the above forums. These people are developing all kinds of food allergies, autoimmune issues, cold hands, Raynaud's, allergic rhinitis, low body temperature, hormonal dysregulation with hypercortisolemia (which also results from leptin deficiency).

    Check out these Paleotards' blood labs and you'll almost always see WBCs that are falling into the 3s, neutropenia and lymphocytopenia. And what's more intriguing: their globulin is almost always low-normal or just plain low -- a sign of low immunoglobulins that's consistent with immune deficiency induced by a thymus atrophy and low leptin.

    Paleo is a health disaser and will be exposed as so in a few years. Some of these guys in the know are doing their best to keep these from surfacing, and those who follow the diet are just too stupid to realize that they're jeopardizing immune and hormonal health.


    Kitchari 5000+ year old Ayurvedic dish from India made of beans and rice...a complete meal! The Indians are still with us but will the Paleos be in 5000 years from now? Thank you for the very important, ethical point raised about the affluence of Paleo (I'm sure our starving millions in the world would love to afford the luxury of eating this way!) environmentally though if the world ate this way we would be extinct from the massive environmental consequences of raising enough cattle to feed the world (economic, political issues? Another post). I don't see any scientific research warning of the catastrophic environmental consequences of human bean farts! I leave you with wise words from my son that he shared at the age of 4 at the dinner table...
    Beans beans are good for the heart
    The more you eat them the more you fart!
    The more you fart the better you feel
    So eat your beans with every meal!
    Takes a child to work out the frigging uncomplicated obvious!,


    I am not a scientist but the Paleo Diet, or, way of living, makes sense to me. I am new to it and have done a great deal of reading and research and come to the conclusion that I will go 95% Paleo. My grandmother lived to 94 and would have lived a lot longer had she not had an accident. Her philosophy was, 'a little bit of what you fancy does you good', so I think I will work with that and allow myself lentils or chick peas once in a while. :)


    I just chanced on this article because I was curious as to why paleo people don't eat legumes as I didn't know about that.

    I already new about the grains side of it, but it is interesting.

    It's hard to know who is right, the paleo concept hasn't been around long enough. Maybe in 100 years time, when paleo afficionados are either dying exactly same way as the rest of us or outliving us in drives, we'll know. But probably not until then.

    On a broader scale then though I think my main issue with the paleo concept is one of sustainability - it's a diet of affluence. There is no way the entire world will ever be able to survive with no grains or legumes, so I find the vision to share it "for the good of the world's health" a double edged sword for the future at best.

    Well, that and the fact its advocates always seem to act like religious zealots if their views are brought under scrutiny the same way pretty much everything should be scrutinised as part of scientific process. :-/


    Boy I wish people could read properly before responding with rants. One commenter wrote about not eating any that needs to be cooked to make it edible and was set upon by ding-dongs who didn't get the point at all. He - of course - meant things which MUST be cooked in order to make them EDIBLE.

    Meat is quite edible raw, but cooking (as with most food) helped us extract more nutrients from this already amazingly nutrient-rich substance. Legumes on the other hand are INEDIBLE unless they're soaked/cooked. This is the core difference the original commenter was illuminating for you all.

    As for MY stance on legumes, I have lentils now and then, as a back up for when I run out of real food. But they're not in any way 'essential' and since I can get EVERYTHING they offer with better (and tastier!) food - and without the potential issues - I see no logic behind encouraging people to eat them.


    Clyde, I would hate to think that rather than simply share the source of the claims you're debunking, that you're going to claim I wasn't polite enough to deserve an answer.

    paleolithic diet food list

    With United Gold Direct is a big chunk of change to be able to predict the future whereabouts weight loss 5 days of their customers, or victims.

    paleolithic diet

    Practical Guidelines For Gold IRA InvestmentsFirst, you must know about the numerous options they can paleo diet plan be invested. This is a powerful tool to know if she can invest in physical precious metals to be included in its holdings.


    I think this is the most important question to answer--

    Who claimed that "legumes are antinutrients". Until that question gets answered, how can you claim that "Paleo" is "incorrect"?

    This would seem an important source to tease out.


    Clyde, you misunderstand. I'm not asking you to post scientific citations in favor of paleo... I'm asking you to cite the source for the claims you are building your counterargument against.

    For example,

    "Legumes are the only foods that contain anti-nutrients so you must avoid them at all costs." ~Robb Wolf

    "With WGA, fermentation has little or no affect upon the appearance of lectins. As a matter of fact, if you take dry kidney beans and boil them for two or three hours, there’s still physiologically significant lectins after boiling for two or three hours. The only way that you can remove lectins, because of their molecular confirmation, they are such sturdy molecules the way they’re built, that they’re resistant to not only proteases that are found in these bacteria that cause fermentation, they are resistant to heat. The only way you can get rid of them is to pressure cook them. If you pressure cook them for an hour or so, then you will degrade all the WGA. If you buy canned legumes, part of the process of preventing horrible bacterial contamination is to pressure cook them, so most canned foods are pressure cooked, and if you’re eating beans you don’t have to worry about it if they are canned, typically." ~Loren Cordain, PhD

    What is the claim that was made and who made it? Only then can you begin to counter that claim. Otherwise, it's a non sequitur post... making it look like you dramatized the issues merely to give yourself something to "debunk".


    Fair enough, Clyde. You've been generous with citations you believe support your counter-arguments, but maybe we could start with the citations for the arguments you say are made by the authors of the diets? Christine Warinner wasted half an hour of Ted talk audience's time by debunking her own straw men rather than any actual claims made by the sources she pictured. (Yes, she showed a picture of a collection of the books , but didn't cite anything from them). You'd think an anthropologist would know better than to attempt to debunk hearsay and would instead be able to cite the arguments she portends to be debunking. As a Phd, perhaps you should know better as well?

    Given that you've built an argument against something you've failed to cite sources for, perhaps it is you with the emotional bias? How does one build an argument against something undefined unless he builds a bias first?

    "I did not think I had "bashed" Paleo. I was addressing the research on one specific aspect. If you could help me see where I am being negative I will change my post accordingly. I asked for help with that from the last person who posted that I was biased and they did not respond. It appears to me that those posting that I am being biased or negative or bashing are simply feeling attacked, meaning they are following a belief system, not rational thought, and are therefore feeling hurt. I am more than happy to adjust my perspectives and how I communicate them to best help society, and if I am falling short simply ask that you help me to improve so we are working together for a greater cause than any of our individual causes. I appreciate you help with this."


    Oh the fail of the reductionist thinking. It's in to bash the paleo diet, I guess every blogger needs his chance at 15 minutes of fame before reality sets in and they get smacked down for their ignorance and poor research efforts.

    dustin davis

    If you knew anything about the Paleo diet, you would know it is mainly a plant based diet, with moderate protein intake (not unlimited), with moderate to high fat intake. Learn the facts about something before you preoceed to bash it.


    I've read some articles that say the same thing about legumes. In fact, There are some controversies about nuts with their phytic acid content. It's nice to read articles such as this since it allows the Paleo community to debate on things that are unclear. For some articles about the Paleo food list and lifestyle, I highly recommend this website:


    The assumption that paleo is like atkins shows the lack of undrstanding of paleo. In reality its more like moderate protein and moderate to high fat. The idea being to utilize fat as a more constant fuel source. Diesel as opposed to high octane glucose. W/out that understanding people "bashing" it really arent understanding it and we cant have a real debate.

    While legumes may b fine for those not suffering any adverse reactions the point is they can cause issues ie intestinal permeability. Its a game if russian roulette if u will.

    The real takeaway is there is nothing a bean provides that cant be obtained from other veggies minus the potential backlash. So really, y increase a negative for its potential slight positive when there r better options? Im not gonna snort cocaine to get thru a 60hr work week just cause its a stimulant lol. Food for thought.


    "One of my first guides about what to eat is avoid something if it has to be cooked to make it edible. . . "

    .... so you eat your meat raw?!


    I wondered if you have written any nutritional articles on the connection of lectins and the capacity of each blood type to 'neutralize' them in the body. I would to love to read it if you have.
    Thank you in advance for your input!


    Might I add that Paleo also is againts grains or seudo grains. Barley and Oats just like mushrooms are high in beta glucan. A polysaccharides that turns your white blood cells into spartan warriors.

    Katie N.

    Hi Dr Clyde, I am a nutrition enthusiast and always enjoy learning more about the science behind what and how we eat affects our bodies. Thank you for your nutrition blog and your positivity.


    I ran across your site this morning when I Googled "are lentils unhealthy". I am a nutrition enthusiast, studying to become a dietician, and as part of my own personal learning process, am reading every nutrition book I can get my hands on - even the ones I disagree with. Which brings me to the Paleo Diet...the author spends so much time bashing lentils that I wanted to read
    the other side of the story. I'm not crazy and usually don't talk to books, but I find myself yelling at that one a lot.

    All this "my way or the highway" talk in nutrition makes me nuts. Just look at how nasty some of the comments on your lentil article were. I'm always happy when I run across someone who is a voice of reason, and particularly liked your comment about how we should all work together to discover what range of consumption of all things is ideal, rather than basing our arguments on selected scientific studies. That is my philosophy exactly. In fact, I just tweeted something to that effect earlier this morning.

    I just wanted to say thanks and let you know that you had a positive effect on someone today.


    STOP MIUSING ad hominem, you STUPID Internet dopes.Insulting somebody is NOT an ad hominem.In fact, YOU INternet dopes committ the ad hominem fallacy FALLACY.Google "Plover Misuse of ad hominem "

    Sorry, Blogsphere DOPES, ( incorrectly) invoking fancy Latin expressions does NOT save you from using you ( low) cognitive powers in a discussion.

    Clyde, never mind the Blogosphere commentors and bloggers. It is filled with uneducated people who simply do not know what they do not know. They continually ask "what cheese is the moon made of?"

    Both Stephan Guyenet( an actual scientist) and myself think they are beyond laughable.

    Science is nowhere near knowing what the optimal human diet it. REAL scientists admit HUGE unknowns.

    marilyn genuardi

    whne these paleo people say that beans have to be cooked , so don't eat them. They say, one can't just pick the beans and eat them raw; that they have to be soaked and cooked. HELLO!! What are you doing with YOUR MEAT?? Are you just picking it, gingerly off the animal, not cooking it, and then eating it. How incredible foolish this all sounds. And, by the say this diet is for losing weight. What makes everyone think we all have to lose weight. What about staying healthy!!?
    I just ate three "farinata":a chickpea crepe, one sweet potato, and three glasses of red wine. I am not blotted, nor needing beano. People who need to lose weight can go on any plan, and they will lose wieght. Just give up the white stuff: sugar & white flour, and iodized salt. :)


    It is hard to argue with the effectiveness of Paleo knowing of the many miracle stories such as this:


    I suspect you have not dived to a depth of understanding of the Paleo diet. One signal of evidence in your article is that you state that corn, wheat and oats are healthy. Paleo is counter to that for scientifically based reasons. Potatoes are also on the 'do not eat' list, for good reason - see Dr. Loren Cordain's latest book "The Paleo Answer" to see that they permanently change our cell membranes. To include leaving permanent gaping holes in the membranes, including red blood cells. Grains, legumes and potatoes were not eaten in any great quantity prior to fire and agriculture. Eating them cooked is not any better for us. One of my first guides about what to eat is avoid something if it has to be cooked to make it edible.


    As some-one's noted below, the references still work, this page just garbles them by including the punctuation after the link in the URL.

    On the only study which you respond to: it's shown (table 5) that some of the anti-nutrients are wholly removed by some methods of processing, but some aren't. That's sufficient to vindicate the paleo claim that legumes do continue to contain antinutrients (according to that paper, in significant quantities), which you were contesting.

    It's obviously a further empirical question whether the amounts of these compounds present are harmful or positive. It's clearly illegitimate to state a priori that these are "an extr-cellular [sic] auto-immune system to keep foreign invaders out of plants" which "serve the same purposes and therefore benefit us when we eat them." That seems to be based on faith, rather than evidence.


    Duff, if you take the close parantheses sign and comma out from the URLs, the links work just fine.

    Duff Harrold

    In response to:

    The main claims of this post are simply wrong.

    i) There are lots of anti-nutrients in legumes other than lectins, including, but not limited to phytic acid, saponins, polyphenols, laythyrogens, galactosides, protease inhibitors, amylase inhibitors. (; see also

    ii) Many of these anti-nutrients are not degraded by heating. (, also

    But your response seems wrong-headed on a simpler level as well. Even in terms of lectins, the one anti-nutrient you acknowledge, you recognise that there are "residual lectin levels" which undermines your only criticism of paleo here.
    This is a pretty bold post. Oddly, all of your links are dead-ends except for one. The one that actually does exist actually supports the claim that cooking decreases anti-nutrient content.

    As for the 'residual lectin levels' somehow undermining the claims made on this page, consider that high levels of most vitamins are actually toxic -- it is only in trace amounts that they become nutritive. The 'horse-shoe' shaped Benefit vs. Dosage curve is famous in pharmacology / toxicology.

    While reading the link:
    it occurred to me that there may be additional lowering of anti-nutrients in legumes if they were sprouted before cooking.


    i am just wondering why oh why the paleo diet would say not to eat a type of food which our ancestors actually ate plenty of. look at south america, where legumes and cassava are the staples. there is no dairy and the red meat comes from animals closer to guinea pigs than to cows. the natives eat in a mostly traditional and true paleolithic style. this includes much more vegetation, nuts, seeds, legumes. study the diet of those that live in the amazon if you want to see how healthy people should eat. it is 90% plant based including legumes. calling the diet paleo is just a blatant lie. i have actually studied this, in an actual university, not from an online course to become a personal trainer or from what i read on the internet. my professors are purdue and yale graduates. i am going to take my information from those who are reputable sources, not from the interwebs.


    Clyde, thanks for providing great information that can be hard to find. Can you give some insight that will help with intestinal distress "gas and diarrhea" when consuming legumes, such as bean/lentil soup? You mention salt and hydration...can you give some specifics here?

    Dr. Clyde

    I am out of the country without phone and with very little email until 22 Sept.


    why so much ad hominem? stop insulting promoters of the paleo diet, leave out the "incompetence" crap. That just makes you come off as biased. All they want to do is help people, not like they make that much money off of promoting paleo. any idiot with google can learn everything there is to know about it. All you have to say is that cooking eliminates lectin, so cooked legumes are probably OK, end of story.


    Thank you for explaining the science behind your argument. I found your explination of lectins to be thoroughly helpful in researching nutrition as a third line of defense against my husband's glioblastoma recovery.

    Bobbie Ann

    I believe that taking a thoughtful approach to eating is best. That anything to the extreme in anything we do can be harmful. I know from experience that processed foods including processed sugar are bad for you. So what I try to eat is a diet low in saturated fats, low in processed foods including "white" sugar and balanced in sodium intake. This means I usually eat things like legumes, whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low fat meats. I wish I knew what the perfect answer was. But I do believe people are individual in their needs somewhat. For example, I followed the DASH diet for 6 weeks to the letter and gained 15 pounds. When I added more legumes back into my diet and lowered my intake of fruits and vegetables a little (back down to pre-DASH) levels I was able to lose the 15 pounds. I think really I just don't trust fads...not in clothing, immunizations, politics or anything else. I've never been very good at following the pack. I think I keep that way of thinking and try to stay in the middle of things...never the extremes.


    The difference between Paleo and Atkins is that Paleo does NOT advocate eating unlimited quantities of feed-lot meat, where they feed the animals things like sanitized city garbage (Yes! Look it up!). It doesn't take a science degree to see that meat is toxic. True Paleo (according to the founder Dr. Loren Cordain) involves eating a limited portion of lean grass fed meats rich in anti-inflammatory omega 3 fats and nutrients like folic acid and B-12 and true vitamin A (not beta carotene) which are difficult to find in large quantities through solely vegetable sources. The majority of what one would eat on a Paleo diet is NOT meat! It consists of fruits and vegetables. While legumes do contain many beneficial nutrients, they are nutritionally poor in comparison to meat and vegetables, so we lose nothing by not eating them. People have also been commenting on why Paleo embraces dairy. Dairy also is NOT Paleo! However, it is treated as one of those things in grey area because of the health benefits derived from many modern day indigenous people who thrive on a raw pastured dairy based diet. The more research you do, the more complicated things become. But, I wouldn't denigrate those that promote Paleo as lazy or irresponsible. The diet they promote is extremely healthy and nutrient dense. If people find that they are comfortable eating legumes and grains, no one is stopping them. But, I do not feel comfortable eating something that has been linked to so many health problems. I am not going to wait and see it proved whether these things are harmful or not while my health suffers in the meantime.


    I have serious grain and bean sensitivities. I've visited many medical specialists, and none of them have been able to put a name on my condition. My kidneys become hyper active when I eat any seeds, including grains, nuts, beans, etc., causing me to shed electrolytes and dehydrate. Although I don't necessarily agree with the science and motivation for paleo diet websites and books, I have found their recipes and other lifestyle ideas most helpful for dealing with my condition. My life completely renewed when I started living by this diet, with almost complete elimination of all grains. I eat a high protein, high fat diet dominated by eggs, meats, and seedless garden vegetables and seedless fruits. My cholesterol is well within the normal range, and my energy levels are high and my mind clear and sharper than it ever was before I switched to this diet.


    The main claims of this post are simply wrong.

    i) There are lots of anti-nutrients in legumes other than lectins, including, but not limited to phytic acid, saponins, polyphenols, laythyrogens, galactosides, protease inhibitors, amylase inhibitors. (; see also

    ii) Many of these anti-nutrients are not degraded by heating. (, also

    But your response seems wrong-headed on a simpler level as well. Even in terms of lectins, the one anti-nutrient you acknowledge, you recognise that there are "residual lectin levels" which undermines your only criticism of paleo here.

    Amanda Harris

    While I feel it's best to have deleted the negative, attacking comments, please consider the fact that you may be only getting back what you put out. Saying that those that are promoting the paleo diet are lying and lazy or making comments like, "apparently much of the paleo world is that way" is no better. Please get what you give! Debate is great. It promotes learning, a better understanding, and growth and evolution. However, there are effective and ineffective ways to debate. If you know that you are coming from a place of truth there is no need to make negative remarks toward those with whom you disagree. You can simply say something like, "while the paleo diet has some value, I have found some additional research that may expand upon that way of thinking." Just saying! I was a little turned off by the tone you've used and have found informative sights on the paleo diet that encourage using it as a template and doing your own research and listening to your own body to decide what is best for you. With all that said, thank you for the information. Best of luck to you in your physical, mental, and spiritual evolution!!!


    Here's my perspective: try a full-on, 30 day, perfectly strict no grain, no dairy, and no legume paleo protocol. Then, reintroduce the stuff, one at a time to see what happens to you. For some, there will be no apparent issue. For others, there will be symptoms. In my wife's case, a reintroduction of chickpeas resulted in significant body aches. Months later, we tried lentils with the same result of significant body aches. In my case, a reintroduction of lentils led to stomach cramping. Whether you implicate lectins or not, there was a clear link between substance and symptom for both of us. Based on the results of the personal experiment, we can now make a more informed decision on how important legumes are in our own diets. For us, that probably means it's not a worthwhile road to travel down as the symptoms simply aren't worth whatever nutrients might be there.


    Yes...The problem with beans are the antinutrients you talk about. You can't really eat most beans raw. There are some that if you eat them raw, they can cause mild stomach discomfort and some, like Kidney beans, can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Sure, if you cook them correctly for at least 10 minutes, the toxin will be destroyed and they will be safe to eat. But if they aren't cooked correctly/fully, then you may experience the problems listed above, based on what beans you eat.

    So, my question is, why would you even try to eat beans when there is an abundance of other fresh vegetables and fruits that can be eaten safely raw?

    If you need to be a vegetarian or vegan for health reasons, you do what you got to do. If you do it for moral reasons, that's all fine and dandy too, but you may sacrifice your health because of it. I can honestly say I don't know very many healthy vegans or vegetarians. They're either overweight or underweight and lack energy.

    I eat the paleo or primal way. I've lost 30 pounds, have an abundance of energy, and my husband has lost 60. We were both overweight, and this is before starting to work out.

    So, I guess I should say this -- stick to your own way of eating, and stop slandering mine. You don't like it or the science behind it? That's cool. Talk about your own diet and its merits.

    Jake C

    EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT! Do what you think is the best, and works for you! You can always stop or change if it's not working for you.
    The Paleo diet, for the matter we're discussing here, is better than the average diet Americans consume.


    I've come to a point in my knowledge, concerning the human diet, that there's just too much bunk out there to really believe any source of information, no matter how credible it appears to be. Scientific research, while largely objective, is often bias from the get-go in terms of having a hypothesis and coming to the correct "conclusion" to suit certain interest groups.

    Case in point with the macronutrient ratios. I've heard 3 different carb-fat-protein ratios espoused as being THE ultimate diet (80-10-10, 40-30-30, and now 60-20-20) with only the diet guru to take for their word. I refuse to believe in veganism (raw or not), because such a diet is void of any natural source of B12. So far, the only things that make sense to me are more fruits, vegetables & herbs, more nuts, seeds & legumes, less processed whole grains & oils, minimal animal protein, and trace amounts of dairy, if any at all. I'm sure someone can present data that proves me wrong, which takes us back to square one.

    I think the problem here is that so many people are waking up to the fact that the processed crap sold in the grocery stores and fast food joints is nutritionally deficient at best, and carcinogenic at worst, which is leading to a flurry of "diet gurus" trying to take advantage of people's desire for truth by peddling their particular way of eating. Is there any diet which does not leave a human nutritionally deficient in one facet or another?


    I've done the paleo and it helped me tremedously to isolate the problems I was having but it is not a complete and healthy diet for long term.
    I find it interesting that we make a lot of assumptions about how people ate historically, based on our belief of how old the earth is, and on history that we can only guess about, not being able to have directly observed it.
    From my biblical belief system the world is 8-9 thousand years old. Men were building cities and creating musical instruments, raising cattle and farming. Adam was created with a full understanding of how to make the best use of the world God created. It seems perfectly logical to me that beans were eaten. PS. Check out how bile transports homones, toxins etc. from the body by the use of soluable fiber. The best source of soluable fiber is beans. If bile isn't bonded to enough soluble fiber(5 grams/meal) in the sm intestine and headed for the toilet(soluble fiber can't pass the intestinal wall) it is as a fatty acid reabsorbed in to the body to make you more toxic. I love beans!!! and I feel so much better since I started eatin them.

    Kristoffer Liland

    The interesting thing about the paleo diet is that early humans didn't eat meat, at least not before they moved into the cold, non-tropical areas where raw food was harder to come by, and making bonfires were more common, killing animals and treating the meat in that regard became a necessity UNTILL we became capable of Agriculture some 13 000 years ago, it is for example proven that warriors of caesar and gladiators did not like eating meat because it made them sloppy and bad fighters. In that regard I find it strange that the paleo diet has such a high focus on meats, much like the atkins, low-carb diet, when carbs should be the major food source we take in, with 60% being carbs, 20% being protein, and 20% being fat respectively. That is a balanced diet. It is true that gluten-based grains are un-natural in the human body, it took us thousands of years to develop gluten tolerance, and there are still millions of people who have celiac disease. The same goes for lactose, for example 95% of Asia is still lactose intolerant because they never drank milk, thus I find it strange how the paleo diet also embraces lacto-products. If we should go the farthest way back in time we'll find that humans, for the most part, lived a raw vegan lifestyle, maybe consuming insects to some extent. There are still many indiginous cultures around the world who live raw vegan diets, and scientists are puzzled as to why these cultures don't show any sign of B12 deficiency.

    In the end, a lot of our diets are affected by our genes.

    I have a lot more to say about lacto-based diets (which are very bad for the human health) but I'll stop here because I've put enough information in already.


    Since one year ago, I started a diet similar to the paleo diet, but I do eat legumes, particularly pinto beans on a regular basis. At the time, I had developed resistance to insulin and high blood pressure. My triglycerides and VLDL cholesterol were almost twice the maximum value. About two months after I stopped eating sugars and grains (even whole grains) my blood pressure went back to normal, and my triglycerides and VLDL cholesterol are now within normal parameters.

    My experience in avoiding sugar and grains has been very positive.


    I like some things about the Paleo diet but the thing of taking out legumes and whole grains I believe to be I mistake.
    Legumes bring so many precious nutrients to the table plus they are a good source of vegetable protein.
    Also, there is so much controversy around paleo that it makes me wonder a little bit!


    I completed a course in nutritional biochemistry and a course in toxicology at third-year level. I may not be a physician, but it is clear to me that the Paleo diet is similar to the Atkins diet. It involves consumption of animal protein as the primary souce of energy together with the avoidance of grains and legumes. Anyone who follow this diet over the long term will be more likely to develop heart diseases or ketosis.

    Furthermore, such diets are a waste of the resources of the Earth. A significantly larger amount of farmland would be needed to feed a population that on the Atkins- or Paleo diet than a population consuming wholegrains and legumes. Pigs and some fish can be fed waste, but other farm animals are fed grains, kept on (non-natural) meadows or allowed to destroy natural habitats.


    Ummm, I was on a Paleo diet for quite a while. it was fine except that I missed something. I haven't missed the sugar or flour or most ggrains, but I've started eating legumes again.
    It was the thing that my body needed.
    I should say that I eat legumes raw all the time, and have no effects from them, it seems some people don't get a bad reaction.
    I have a lot of Paleo die hards telling me that I shouldn't do this , it will make me gain weight again blah blah. But it hasn't. All bodies are different. Mine can handle legumes.
    I'm Hiv+, and have been for twenty two years. Still not on anti-retrovirals, and still very healthy. I have a feeling this is due to the amounts of Lectins I consume. Thanks for the article. Finally a sane voice. If ardent Paleo people were really that ardent, why don't they eat raw meat.? and what's with the salt and milk, and cooking oils.? I had one person tell me in one breath that nobody knows for sure what the Paleo diet was , they can only guess, and in the next breath tell me they know for sure that all grains were off the menu. Sheesh. It seems there are another new group of food nazis out there. And like you say, ill informed and vehemently opposed to anyone else being right. It must be an ego thing.

    Amy Hudson


    You're missing the big picture on the legumes. It is believed that Paleolithic man didn't eat legumes on a regular basis, probably because the lectins caused intestinal distress. So we didn't evolve while eating legumes and grains. It is now that we understand why that is, ie lectins. Regardless of lectins being present, the main argument for not eating legumes is that we did not eat them during 99% of human history, so our digestive system is ill equipped to handle those foods. There is also the issue of phytates, another anti-nutrient.

    In addition, legumes are also high in carbohydrates, and comparatively low in protein.

    In your claim that those who promote Paleo are being "lazy" or "scientifically unsophisticated," you expose your own lack of research or intellectual dishonesty. The pioneers of the Paleo diet like, Loren Cordain, who obtained his Ph.D. in Health from the University of Utah. Robb Wolf is a former biochemist researcher. Matt Lalonde is another biochemist researcher who has a PhD from a fairly well know institution, Harvard-- perhaps you've heard of it. These are all people who are well steeped in research.

    Furthermore, I have seen the benefits of the Paleo diet, both personally and with the people I coach-- people who have tried every diet to lose weight, people who have gone low fat, eaten their whole grains, cut out red meat, you name it.

    I hope in the future you do a better job researching a topic before you lambast it. People trust your advice and opinion, you owe it to them to give the best information you can.


    The basis of Paleo is to shed light on the eating habits of early man predating agriculture and to incorporate that into modern life styles.

    Clyde Wilson

    Hello Russel,
    Note that I never replied to Serena. That was someone named Jeff. I am Clyde, the author of this blog. My first response to your saying my thinking is flawed is "great!" because I love to learn new things and improve my understanding of things. Unfortunately my excitement was replaced by realizing you do not understand that any boiling whatsoever means that the was has reached 100 C or 212 F at the bottom of the cooking container and will simmer up to the top to still be over 80 C. A slower boil does not mean a lower temperature, just a lower rate of heat entering the food from the burner; this is chemistry, not nutrition, and I do not fault you for not knowing that.


    While your statements concerning the cooking of beans, and the resulting neutralizing effect on the lectins, are technically true, your thinking is flawed. I don't believe that most people cook the way you describe. Beans are normally soaked before cooking, which means they would be cooked for much less time than 2 hours at 80C. When I have beans now, I do make sure I boil them for 15-20 minutes, but before I discovered lectins I would: soak the beans, bring them to a boil, and then simmer until done (generally 20-50 minutes, depending on the bean). I believe this is how most people cook their beans and it is not adequate for neutralizing the lectin content.

    You also completely ignore that lectins are present in relatively large doses in grains, nightshade family vegetables, and dairy from grain feed livestock. These foodstuffs would rarely be cooked in a way that would neutralize the lectins, if cooked at all.

    Also, your comment to Serena does not address her point. You are obviously correct that correlation does not equal causation, but neither does it rule out causation. Nor does your assumption of other factors rule it out. It also seems perfectly reasonable to lump whole grains in with processed grains once you take into consideration that we do not cook, for example, wheat, tomatoes or milk for 2hours at 80C.

    By the way, I'm not a strict Paleodieter, but I find that many of the problematic issues concerning the human diet are addressed in a relevant and helpful way by the concepts explored by the diet.


    When are all you diet fiends going to realize that correlation does not equal causation.
    The problem with your logic is two fold:
    1) It assumes there were no other changes in human history at that time. Given that grains were a result of the development of modern agriculture, I assume there were a lot of other significant developments at that time that could have caused the ailments you describe.
    2) You're blanketing all grains together. As I'm sure you are aware, there are a lot of unhealthy ways grains can be processed and served up (although I assume you believe all grains are unhealthy). Lumping hearty whole grains in with heavily processed flours, sugars, etc is silly.


    Thanks for posting about the Paleo diet!

    Could you shed some light on the role of grains in our diet? Humans didn't eat grains for the past 99.5% of human history, and when they did begin eating grains, according to my textbook for history class, men became shorter by five inches, women became shorter by four inches, people became anemic, people developed more tooth decay, and life spans decreased. Are we better off eating more healthy fats and meat, and getting our carbs from fruits and veggies?

    The comments to this entry are closed.

    Ask Dr. Clyde your nutrition question:


    Also see my web site:

    • This blog is where I post my
      current thoughts, Q&A, consult availability & seminar dates.
    • But I have MUCH more info at

    How to get my book: "What, When & Water"

    How to get my book: 'Endurance Nutrition'