The truth about lectins
After a few years in the business, we’ve come to realise that there are many myths about beans and pulses that are not necessarily true. We’ve done some research to find out the truth, so that you don’t have to. It’s all part of our bean myth buster series, of which there are a few more to come! This is our first and the focus will be on one of the biggest stigmas around beans and pulses - lectins.
Before the science and detail, below are just a few general benefits of beans and pulses:
Cheap, accessible, sustainable source of protein
Lowest greenhouse gasses per gram of protein
Tasty, versatile and nutritious
Fancy learning a bit more about the benefits of beans? Check out Radio 4's Food Programme here.
MYTH NUMBER 1: LECTINS - WHAT ARE THEY?
Lectins are mostly found in proteins, but in particular beans, grains and seeds.
Some claim that lectins are ‘anti-nutrients’ and that eating them can lead to feelings of sickness. Whilst it’s definitely true that lectins are toxic and can cause harm when consumed in excess, it’s super easy to get rid of them through cooking (also, it’s important to remember that everyone is different and so, some people may be more sensitive to lectins than others - especially if you have underlying health conditions)!
So, this is most relevant if you’re cooking with beans from scratch. Lectins are less of an issue with canned beans; they’re cooked and then stored in liquid, so there’s much less risk.
This is the same for our snacks - we’ve already roasted them, so there’s minimal risk if you’re concerned about lectin poisoning.
There’s actually no official research supporting that well cooked beans are responsible for nausea, obesity, inflammation etc. Instead, there’s actually much more research on the benefits of lectins and how good they are for you. Many plants based foods contain lectins, but they also contain fibre, which is essential for a health metabolism and digestion. So, remember to make sure not to avoid plant foods as a way of avoiding lectins, or you will also be avoiding fibre!