Beans are generally excluded from most peoples’ Paleo diet due to their high concentration of phytates, an anti-nutrient. Beans defend themselves from predators like us using phytates, which help to protect the bean from digestion. In order to do that, it often causes problems in those trying to eat it, including inflammation. Phytates also bind to nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, and zinc and prevent them from being absorbed by the body. As a result, a diet that is high in phytates and low in these nutrients can cause nutrient deficiencies.
Sprouting or soaking beans before cooking them can get rid of some of the phytates, but not all of them, and it is not enough to completely counter the effect that they tend to have when eaten.
Paleo and Carbohydrates
Aside from phytates, beans are also very high in carbohydrates. For those trying to stick to more of a low-carb diet, we advise staying away from beans.
The Paleo Debate
Chris Kresser appeared on an episode of Dr. Oz and touted his version of Paleo to the world which included beans and legumes. He explains his point of view on legumes in this article. After airing, Dr. Loren Cordain, author of The Paleo Diet followed up Kresser’s advice with even more information on beans and legumes in this article. Mark Sisson also has a post in which he discusses the pros and cons of legumes.