What is the Paleo/Primal Diet? Part 2: Legumes, or beans, or stink bombs

Alright! We are chugging along here at the caveman college and have actually been making some really great progress in terms of changing the way people think about their eating habits! Before we start this post, I want to give a shout out to Daniel for “taking the paleo plunge” hopefully, we will get him to guest post one of these days so he can tell you why he decided to make the plunge, how he is dealing with it, the effects it is having on his health, and maybe even a few before and after pics.

Now, the meat. Or in this case, the beans. That’s right, this post is going to be talking about everyone’s favorite flatulence joke. Beans. Yes, they will indeed make you fart. Now, for me, that right there is a good enough reason to just stop eating the little devils. But, for some reason, not everyone is like me and some people are just fine with causing an embarrassing toot (or full out blast) of the horns in front of all of their friends (yes, people do notice…)

The FDA says that “Diets including beans may reduce your risk of heart disease and certain cancers.”. The governments diet plan, myplate.gov says “Because of their high nutrient content, consuming beans and peas is recommended for everyone, including people who also eat meat, poultry, and fish regularly. The USDA Food Patterns classify beans and peas as a subgroup of the Vegetable Group” So just like we did with grains, lets really look at the nutrient (both micro and macro) breakdown of beans, and see if it truly classifies as a “vegetable” or a good “vegetarian alternative for meat” or, if beans are really just keys to unlock our full farting potential.

Look, I dont know about most people but, when I ate beans, I would have probably said that black beans were the healthiest, most eaten bean out there. So, for now, lets look at black beans and later on we can look at a few other legumes as well.

Here is the nutrients breakdown for 100 grams of cooked black beans with no salt.

Your life vessel gets:

No vitamin A or C, a lot of iron,magnesium and phosphorus (all essential vitamins and minerals)

Not bad beans, not bad. But, lets see what some meat and vegetables have to offer.

In 1 ounce, or just 28 grams of grass fed ground beef, and a nice side dish of 100 grams of kale, you get:

  • Just 104 calories
  • 5 grams of healthy animal fats (and 1 of delicious, nutritious saturated fat, including good omega 3’s from the grass fed meat)
  • 62 mg of sodium
  • 10 grams of carbohydrates
  • 8 grams of protein
  • 2 grams of fiber

plus good sources of Vitamins: A (essential for eyesight),C(essential to protect the body from oxidative stress),B12 (essential for functioning of the brain and nervous system),K (essential for your blood),B6(regulates glucose release) and Minerals:Calcium(Bones, duh), Potassium (essential for functioning of the heart and other things), Manganese (a required mineral), Copper (an essential trace nutrient)

All for an astonishing 104 calories which means you leave almost 30 calories off of your plate!

So in a sense, besides the lack of fat from beans, they look to be fairly similar to having some meat and vegetables, except one big difference: CARBS!!!!!! (meat and veggies-10 grams, beans-24 grams. thats more than double)

As we went over in part 1 of What is the Paleo/Primal diet, excess carbohydrates will indeed make you fat. Now, what exactly counts as excess carbohydrates? Most Paleo dietitians say around 150 grams is good for anyone trying to stay at the same weight they are at, however, if you want to be losing weight, around 100 grams of carbohydrates is a good goal. So, lets look at a 100 grams of carbs day and see how beans would fit into that count


  • 4 (yes, 4) large eggs- 0 grams carbohydrates
  • 1 cup of broccoli- 4 grams carbohydrates
  • 1 tablespoon of cooking butter- 0 grams carbohydrates
  • 1 grapefruit- around 21 grams of carbs



  • Grass fed steak (any size)- 0 grams carbs
  • 2 cups cooked spinach- 14 grams of carbs
  • 1 cup of sweet cherries for dessert- 22 grams of carbs


That adds up to around 105 grams of carbs for the day, not much room to add high carbohydrate beans, but perfect if you are trying to lose weight, and I dont think you are going to go hungry eating this much food.  Plus, you will fulfill a lot more vitamins and minerals eating this many different foods for a lot less calories than you will eating beans. (source 1)

When it comes down to it, while beans can be a solid source of protein and some minerals, they are very high in carbohydrates and that just may not be worth it in your diet. Some legumes can also be a fraction or two lower in carbohydrates such as lentils, or peas. However, I would keep them off your meal plan entirely, unless you are really doing some strenuous activity (and dont mind a nice fart). Otherwise, go for the meat and veggies.





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Do you really enjoy farting? Are beans even that good unless you add all that salt to them? Leave a comment on this post to get a free t-shirt!

*Disclaimer: Soy beans and Soy products have not been touched upon in this post and should not be considered in the “ok” category for primal eating. We will touch on soy in another post.


1) Keith, Lierre. The vegetarian myth: food, justice and sustainability. Crescent City, Ca.: Flashpoint Press, 2009. Print.

About The Author


Max is a passionate pursuer of integrative health. He has been drafted by a professional baseball team, worked in publishing scientific laboratories and spoken to groups of students on health and well-being. He is currently a biology major and philosophy minor at Denison University. Max spends his time reading, weightlifting, traveling and learning. Email Max at mungar810@gmail.com.

2 Responses

  1. Daniel
    Daniel June 18, 2012 at 1:50 am | | Reply

    Great article guys! Thanks for the shout out.

  2. Mike
    Mike June 21, 2012 at 12:52 am | | Reply

    I’ve been following the Paleo or Primal lifestyle for the past few months and have watched my life change before my eyes. I’m down over 45 pounds and feel great. I wrote a review about my experience here if anyone is interested. http://mikeshonestreviews.com/paleoprimal-diet-review

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