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Kurt G. Harris MD

PāNu means paleonutrition. The "paleo" here signifies "old" and not necessarily paleolithic. The PāNu approach to nutrition is grounded on clinical medicine and basic sciences disciplined by knowledge of evolutionary biology and paleoanthropology. The best evidence from multiple disciplines supports eating a pastoral (animal-based) diet rather than a grain-based agricultural one, while avoiding what I call the neolithic agents of disease - wheat, excess fructose and excess linoleic acid.

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PāNu Forum > Whats wrong with legumes and honey?

Hello everyone! I am new to this site and I am 5 days into eating a paleo diet. I am having an ok time, besides feeling a little faint this morning and having to eat a handful of berries to bring me out of it. I have followed Dr. Harris's advice for each of the 12 steps, but I was just curious as to the elimination of legumes. Why are they so bad? I couldn't seem to find a post on here directly explaining that, but I apologize if one exists and I have just missed it. Also, wouldn't our paleo ancestors have eaten honey when they found it? What is the issue with honey if you only consumed it maybe once a month in small quantities? And I am also curious about root vegetables like beets and carrots and such. Are they ok? Just looking for some clarification. Thanks!

January 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarah Jeanne

re-read the 12 steps - root veggies and potatoes are fine for most non-diabetics

January 31, 2011 | Registered CommenterKurt G. Harris MD

Chris Kresser touches on soy in a recent post:

Also, The Perfect Health Diet tackles legumes (their book goes into more depth and is indispensable):

It's not difficult to find evidence against legumes (something that is poisonous to humans unless soaked? Probably not optimal). I chose the above two authors as they both reach the same conclusions as Dr. Harris re: the 'Three Horsemen of the dietary apocoalypse.'

January 31, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermartino

To take your questions out of order, yes our ancestors probably gorged on honey on whatever rare occasions they could get it. Note the sugar bomb they'd ingest was rare. And our bodies function just fine - really! - without sugar bombs. The surge in glucose to the bloodstream and fructose directly to the liver is detrimental if done often (like daily, or multiple times daily). On rare occasions it can be handled. Do bear in mind that the total amount of glucose circulating in our bodies to maintain function is one teaspoon - and that quantity is tightly controlled. If you add a teaspoon of honey to your coffee or tea, you effectively just doubled it. Do that often and you have created a giant stressor. Plus one salient fact - when you stop eating sugar all the time, your tastes change, and was once ordinary is sweet, while was was once sweet is intolerable.



As for legumes, they contain various proteins (lectins) which are harmful. Personally, I still eat some peanut butter - not much, and not every day. But that's it. Soy is far and away the worst of the lot, as I understand it.



As for root vegetables, they are not generally harmful, but their "value add" to your diet is calories - they generally offer far less nutritional value per gram consumed than meat, eggs, or dairy. For reference, I use the USDA Nutrient Data Lab's database - you can search for foods and find their nutrient composition:

Try searching on 100g hamburger and 100g beets.

As for legumes,

January 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnnlee

The main rationale with legumes is that they are neolithic, so they are subject to higher suspicion.

There is not much evidence against non-soy and non-peanut legumes though, especially in terms of the diseases of civilization. I think some societies eat fewer beans as they become more industrialized. For example, per capita bean consumption peaked in the US during WWII and went down from there. It has sloped back upwards a little recently (though still far below WWII levels), but this has been linked more to incoming immigrants than people increasing their bean consumption.

Legumes are low priority on the 12 steps because most people in America don’t eat legumes that much compared to wheat and grains.

I think that I have read that the Pima Indians in Mexico that eat corn and beans are much healthier than their US counterparts that switched to a more industrial diet.

There are some arguments with lectins and phytic acid, but they are not overly impressive to me:

Really not much evidence one way or the other for non-soy or non-peanut legumes, so you kind of have to decide what rationale you want to follow. Probably not worth worrying about it too much though unless you are eating a lot.

January 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCPM

" feeling a little faint this morning and having to eat a handful of berries to bring me out of it"

lol. fructose goes straight 2 you liver and turns you into a cow, legumes have lectins, and sometime cancer fungus, o noes ( penuts) etc. pure noise if you fast every day for 23 hrs like i do. ANYWAY avoid seed oils, hydrogenated vegetable crap ( is in everything even industrial ice cream, cheese, yogurt) avoid eating chicken, insted eat lots of yolks, butter, saturated fat use your carrots as condiments ( not main food) lots of fatty meat. try to fast or at least skip your breakfast btw what our ncestors eat > irrelevant. good luck

February 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterW3W3

Why avoid eating chicken ?

February 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDudleyP

I get confused when it comes to green beans and green peas. As far as I know, they're techically legumes. But when people talk about legumes, all they ever talk about are beans and peanuts.

We eat a lot of green beans and peas in our house. I've read posts here on PaNu where Kurt mentions eating green beans. So what's the deal there?


February 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJon

Just discovered this blog & forum. It will take awhile to read through and "digest" all the info.

I did however, just buy a LARGE bag of locally grown Pinto Beans. ( visiting Az. ) thinking up until this aft. they would be a good source of inexpensive protein. Now, not so sure.....

February 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKelly

Why avoid eating chicken ?


also, avoid carrageenan, monosodium glutamate (MSG) High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS)

unless you want to melt your brain @ eyes out.

February 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterW3W3