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Old 02-22-2008, 10:05 AM   #1
Sushil Bharatan
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The Much Maligned Bean

Why are beans so looked down upon? Aren't they a great source of carbs and protein?
I have come across a number of conversations where beans are counted as just carbs and in some cases as unfavorable carbs. However, looking at a comparison of 100g oven roasted chicken breast to 177g (1 cup) cooked kidney beans you have (from Fitday and USDA website):

Kidney beans
total carb: 40g
dietary fiber: 13g
protein: 15g
So, blocks of carb = (40-13)/9 = 3
blocks of protein = 15/7 = 2.1

Chicken
total carb: 2.1g
dietary fiber: 0g
protein: 16.8g
So, blocks of carb = 0.2 (basically zero)
blocks of protein = 16.8/7 = 2.4

Another common argument is that meat is a source of "better" protein. Also from the USDA website is a comparison of the amino acid profies of chicken breast and kidney beans (sorry for the ugly table):

Amino Acid.... Chicken Breast.... Kidney Beans
Tryptophan.... 0.183.... 0.182
Threonine.... 0.686.... 0.646
Isoleucine.... 0.812 .... 0.678
Leucine.... 1.201.... 1.227
Lysine.... 1.335.... 1.053
Methionine.... 0.437.... 0.23
Cystine.... 0.229.... 0.166
Phenylalanine.... 0.645.... 0.83
Tyrosine.... 0.527.... 0.432
Valine.... 0.806.... 0.804
Arginine.... 1.076.... 0.95
Histidine.... 0.478.... 0.428
Alanine.... 1.015.... 0.644
Aspartic acid.... 1.499.... 1.857
Glutamic acid.... 2.424.... 2.342
Glycine.... 1.234.... 0.6
Proline.... 0.884.... 0.651
Serine.... 0.601.... 0.835

So, not very different. I have tried this comparison for different kinds of beans and lentils - chick pea, yellow split peas, black beans etc. but not for different meats.

Link to USDA nutrient analyzer (wfs)
http://www.ars.usda.gov/main/site_ma...ecode=12354500

What I take away from this:
Beans are a good source of carbs and protein. Vegetarians can build a zone diet around beans, along with milk, eggs, nuts, seeds and vegetables and good fats.
Maybe Barry Sears' next book will be "Mastering the Bean Zone".

All together now:
Beans, beans magical beans,
The more more you eat, the more you toot,
The more you toot, the better you feel,
Beans beans, magical beans.


Any thoughts?
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Old 02-22-2008, 10:27 AM   #2
Lenora Galitz-Pfeffer
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Re: The Much Maligned Bean

Can't resist being a wiseguy: We don't want to hear everyone "tooting" over the mash-up music.
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Old 02-22-2008, 10:52 AM   #3
Ben Kimmerle
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Re: The Much Maligned Bean

Looks pretty reasonable to me, especially from reputable sources like the USDA.

I thought the rhyme went (though beans aren't a fruit):
Beans, beans the musical fruit,
The more you eat, the more you toot.
The more you toot, the better you feel,
So let's eat beans at every meal!

If it does go like this, then someone who knew about nutrition/Zone must have written it to try to get everyone to eat more beans!
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Old 02-22-2008, 11:08 AM   #4
Neil Bauersfeld
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Re: The Much Maligned Bean

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sushil Bharatan View Post
Why are beans so looked down upon? Aren't they a great source of carbs and protein?
(snip)
Any thoughts?
As you pointed out it depends on how you count your macronutrient sources. I don't use them much because I count beans as a source of carbs and protein. When a single food provides two macronutrients, that is less volume of food to be eaten at that meal.

Example, for a four block meal, I could have 1 cup of chicken (4 p, 3f), and 4 cups of vegetables(4 c). Or I could have 1 cup of beans( 2 c, 3p), 2 cup of vegetables(2 c), and .25 cup of chicken (1 p, 1f) plus some nuts. (Here I go dropping the fiber on the vegetables, it could be more vegetables for both cases).

The first example provides 5 cups of food, the second provides 3.25 cups. Maybe 3.25 cups of food sounds better to you, and if so, yeah, go for the beans. For me it's a matter of getting larger portions with other less nutrient dense foods.

I believe beans do not contain creatine. That seems it would be a downside when comparing them to meats.
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Old 02-22-2008, 11:19 AM   #5
Robert Wolf
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Re: The Much Maligned Bean

Certain autoimmune considerations perhaps?
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/m...18/ai_54561205 (wfs)

Sushil-
The protein in beans does not elicit a glucagon response....it just registers as a carb. Bad news if you are trying to avoid metabolic problems. does this mean one should not use some black beans in a chicken salad to round out the carb sources? Of course not, but if you want to make arguments about nutrient density compare beans vs fruits & veggies for say 100kcal portions. The beans make a very poor showing.

Loren Cordain has a great paper that looks at this type of comparison:
http://www.thepaleodiet.com/articles/JANA%20final.pdf
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Old 02-22-2008, 11:22 AM   #6
Jay Cohen
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Re: The Much Maligned Bean

One of many takes on Beans:

INTRODUCTION TO THE PALEOLITHIC DIET

Dr. Ben Balzer, family physician

The basic principles of the Paleolithic Diet are so simple that most high school students can understand them. Within 15 minutes from now you will grasp the major elements. At the technical level, Paleolithic Diet Theory has a depth and breadth that is unmatched by all other dietary theories. Paleolithic Diet Theory presents a fully integrated, holistic, comprehensive dietary theory combining the best features of all other dietary theories, eliminating the worst features and simplifying it all.

All major dietary components are covered- (i.e. vitamins, fats, protein, fats, carbohydrates, antioxidants and phytosterols etc). This is for the simple reason that it is the only diet that is coded for in our genes- it contains only those foods that were "on the table" during our long evolution, and discards those which were not. Have you ever wondered why almost everybody feels the need to take vitamin supplementsat times, or why so many people feel the need to "detoxify" their system? There are very real reasons for this that you will soon understand. Now, come with me, Iíd like to share the secret with you...
Basics of the Paleolthic Diet

For millions of years, humans and their relatives have eaten meat, fish, fowl and the leaves, roots and fruits of many plants. One big obstacle to getting more calories from the environment is the fact that many plants are inedible. Grains, beans and potatoes are full of energy but all are inedible in the raw state as they contain many toxins. There is no doubt about that- please donít try to eat them raw, they can make you very sick.

Around 10,000 years ago, an enormous breakthrough was made- a breakthrough that was to change the course of history, and our diet, forever. This breakthrough was the discovery that cooking these foods made them edible- the heat destroyed enough toxins to render them edible. Grains include wheat, corn, barley, rice, sorghum, millet and oats. Grain based foods also include products such as flour, bread, noodles and pasta. These foods entered the menu of New Stone Age (Neolithic) man, and Paleolithic diet buffs often refer to them as Neolithic foods.

The cooking of grains, beans and potatoes had an enormous effect on our food intake- perhaps doubling the number of calories that we could obtain from the plant foods in our environment. Other advantages were soon obvious with these foods:

∑ they could store for long periods (refrigeration of course being unavailable in those days)

∑ they were dense in calories- ie a small weight contains a lot of calories, enabling easy transport

∑ the food was also the seed of the plant- later allowing ready farming of the species

These advantages made it much easier to store and transport food. We could more easily store food for winter, and for nomads and travelers to carry supplies. Food storage also enabled surpluses to be stored, and this in turn made it possible to free some people from food gathering to become specialists in other activities, such as builders, warriors and rulers. This in turn set us on the course to modern day civilization. Despite these advantages, our genes were never developed with grains, beans and potatoes and were not in tune with them, and still are not. Man soon improved further on these advances- by farming plants and animals.

Instead of being able to eat only a fraction of the animal and plant life in an area, farming allows us to fill a particular area with a large number of edible plants and animals. This in turn increases the number of calories that we can obtain from an area by some 10 to 100 fold or more. Then followed the harnessing of dairy products, which allow man to obtain far more calories from the animal over its lifetime than if it were simply slaughtered for meat. Dairy products are interesting as they combine a variety of components- some of which our genes were ready for and some not. Whist cows milk is ideal for calves, there are several very important differences between it and human milk. For example, the brain of a calf is only a tiny fraction of its body weight whereas humans have very big brains. Not surprisingly, cows milk is low in critical nutrients for brain development, particularly omeg 3 fats.

Paleolithic Diet buffs refer to the new foods as Neolithic foods and the old as Paleolithic Diet foods. In simple terms we see Neolithic as bad and Paleolithic as good. Since then, some other substances have entered the diet- particularly salt and sugar, and more recently a litany of chemicals including firstly caffeine then all other additives, colourings, preservatives, pesticides etc.

Grains, Beans and Potatoes (GBP) share the following important characteristics:

∑ They are all toxic when raw- there is no doubt about this- it is a fact that no competent source would dispute- they can be extremely dangerous and it is important never to eat them raw or undercooked. These toxins include enzyme blockers, lectins and other types. I will talk about them in detail later as they are very important.

∑ Cooking destroys most but not all of the toxins. Insufficient cooking can lead to sickness such as acute gastroenteritis.

∑ They are all rich sources of carbohydrate, and once cooked this is often rapidly digestible-giving a high glycemic index (sugar spike).

∑ They are extremely poor sources of vitamins (particularly vitamins A, B-group, folic acid and C), minerals, antioxidants and phytosterols.

Therefore diets high in grains beans and potatoes (GBP):

∑ Contain toxins in small amounts

∑ Have a high glycemic index (ie have a similar effect to raw sugar on blood glucose levels)

∑ Are low in many vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytosterols- ie they are the original "empty calories"

∑ Have problems caused by the GBP displacing other foods

As grains, beans and potatoes form such a large proportion of the modern diet, you can now understand why it is so common for people to feel they need supplements or that they need to detoxify (ie that they have toxins in their system)- indeed both feelings are absolutely correct. Unfortunately, we donít necessarily realize which supplements we need, and ironically when people go on detoxification diets they unfortunately often consume even more Neolithic foods (eg soy beans) and therefore more toxins than usual (perhaps they sometimes benefit from a change in toxins).
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Old 02-22-2008, 11:23 AM   #7
John Edmondson
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Re: The Much Maligned Bean

I like beans and eat kidney beans, chickpeas. and black beans quite a bit. They're considered a favorable cource of carbs by the Zone. 1/4 cup per block. I don't always have time to eat 4 bell peppers or 19 heads of lettuce at lunch or breakfast, but pretty much always have time to open a can. FWIW
"Beans, beans, good for the heart
Beans, beans, GREAT for the heart."
(Obscure Saturday Night Live reference)
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Old 02-22-2008, 12:11 PM   #8
Sushil Bharatan
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Re: The Much Maligned Bean

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Wolf View Post

The protein in beans does not elicit a glucagon response....it just registers as a carb. Bad news if you are trying to avoid metabolic problems.
Hi Robb,
Can you provide me with a source for this?
Thanks.
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Old 02-22-2008, 12:44 PM   #9
Robert Wolf
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Re: The Much Maligned Bean

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sushil Bharatan View Post
Hi Robb,
Can you provide me with a source for this?
Thanks.
Nope, I'll leave that for you to dig up

The chapter in Enter the Zone that deals with the insulin glucagon axis is a good place to start however. also a pub med search for "protein glucagon".
cheers.
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