Interesting topic raised in our private facebook group about the Bean Protocol by Karen Hurd. A member asked if anyone had tried it and discussion ensued about whether they had or hadn’t, and what they thought of it.
Now bottom line, this “diet” is completely contradictory to everything Ray Peat says.
Basically its beans 6-8 times a day, copious amounts of nuts and nut butter, polyunsaturated fats, leafy greens, 12 cups of water and lean meat including seafood. (The last item is the only thing common in the two diets.)
No dairy, caffeine, saturated fat, fruit or sugar is allowed in this bean frenzy.
3 months only
It is supposed to be a 3 month protocol to assist the liver to detox toxic bile by way of soluble fibre. (So not an ongoing healthful diet by any means.)
I am all for people experimenting and figuring out what works for their body. At the same time though, ideally everyone should be learning WHY Ray chooses certain foods over others. What the potential downsides are to each food or absence of that food, for their overall long term health.
Otherwise, we are just doing what we did 20-30 years ago bouncing from one fad diet to another completely clueless and just ending up with worsening health as we go along. (I’m looking at you Keto, Vegan, Carnivore, Starch Solution etc)
So from just the above outline alone I can tell it’s not a diet I would even attempt. And just to clarify, there is a HUGE difference between adding a meal here and there of beans because you fancy it or find that it helps you poop, and this complete ‘about-face opposite to everything we have recently learned about health from Ray Peat’ protocol.
So let’s start learning…WHY doesn’t Ray like beans?
Phytoestrogens – increase estrogen levels in the body
Lectins—in their active state can cause some digestive problems, like nausea, vomiting, upset stomach, and diarrhea. Blocks the absorption of iron, phosphorus, zinc, and calcium. (Cooking properly removes these apparently but all of them? Some of them? Who knows?)
Oxalate – cause kidney stones
Phytate – blocks mineral absorption
Trypsin inhibitors – impairs digestion
Starch – inflammation & bacterial overgrowth and many more issues
Goitrogenic – negatively impacts thyroid
Ray has called beans “powerful anti thyroid agents.”
Grains, beans, and other seeds contain fermentable fibers that can promote intestinal irritation.” –Ray Peat, PhD.
Generally complex carbohydrates that are fibrous, contain resistant starch and are anti-nutrient will eventually ruin your gut.
Basically high consumption of beans causes hypothyroidism.
I raised the merits of the high level of fruit in a Ray Peat diet providing the soluble fibre necessary to do any detoxing required and one commenter raised the point that beans contain beneficial galactooligosaccharides* – which is a prebiotic – and claimed that fruit doesn’t have this.
I didn’t dispute it at the time because I didn’t know whether this was true or not. However I looked it up and in fact certain fruits actually do have oligosaccharides as well:
Nectarines, watermelon, pears, blueberries, sour cherries, currents, raspberries, cantaloupes, figs and bananas.
They’re called Fructooligosaccharides and as well as the pre biotic effect, they have additional benefits of low carcinogenicity, improved mineral absorption, and decreased levels of serum cholesterol, triacylglycerols, and phospholipids. So that’s all the benefits without the negative downsides.
You know what else has oligosaccharides?
So make no mistake, Ray Peat has thoroughly researched the foods he prefers, and fruit and dairy were held up as the most beneficial with the least downsides. So beans may have some benefits on paper, but they’re far outweighed by all the negative stuff going on.
The main issue too is with long term health. It seems to have the same long term outcome as the Keto diet in that it slowly will ruin your thyroid function and grind your metabolism to a halt. Blocking of minerals too is a big worry, which will have a myriad of negative effects throughout the body.
Give it a trial anyway?
So perhaps if you believe toxic bile is your issue and this bean protocol might assist despite its many downsides, then a super short stint of it may be the trick before it causes too much damage. One way to monitor this is to closely watch your waking body temperature. Your thyroid will tell you soon enough when it’s heading south.
I used this method to monitor my super low fat diet experiment as well as various intermittent fasting time frame variations, and my body would soon tell me when it was struggling. Definitely test and measure, so you can stop before your body is in real trouble.
A better idea though
The main point though is if you really knew the purpose behind the ideas around the Ray Peat style diet, you would be able to dismiss these type of diets/protocols instantly. If you’ve been following a Ray Peat style diet for a while you should know the answers to these questions/statements:
- Why drinking 12 cups of water a day is a bad idea.
- We minimise leafy greens for a reason.
- Why beans are not in the diet line up.
- Dairy is included in the diet for very important reasons.
- Why complex carbs are not ideal.
- What are the negative effects of polyunsaturated fats?
- Why nuts, except macadamia nuts and coconut, are excluded.
- How does coffee assist the thyroid?
- The benefits of saturated fats.
- The benefits of sugar and fruit over starch.
- The many issues of starch.
- Why grains are excluded.
- Which macro assists the liver to detox?
If you don’t know these things, then best start reading and learning.
A few ways I can assist:
1/ Read all articles on my blog www.slimbirdy.com
2/ Sign up for my free 7 day email course—here.
3/ The ZEN Beach Diet has a great easy to read summary of the factors in a Ray Peat style diet. Available here.
4. Join the private Slimbirdy – One Ten Toned – Eating Peaty group so we can all discuss it further.
* Definition: Galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) are prebiotics made up of plant sugars linked in chains. They’re found in dairy products, beans, and certain root vegetables. Prebiotics act as food for “good” bacteria in the intestine.