Science tells us that a varied, well-balanced diet is an excellent way to improve one’s health and well-being. This concept of “everything in moderation” has become even more important to discuss, as new diet trends appear to approach health and nutrition by emphasising one food group as the emphasis of a diet. So I decided to talk about the “Bean Protocol” and society’s latest emphasis on vitamin/mineral supplementation in this article.
The Bean Protocol
Have you ever heard of the Bean Protocol? It appears to be the new Keto or Intermittent Fasting diet. According to its creator, the Bean Protocol is a new fad diet that focuses on the consumption of beans as a way to help your liver “detox and heal from a variety of ailments.” The “protocol’s” creator claims that eating beans can help with a range of ailments such as fertility problems, inflammation, diabetes, autoimmune conditions, gastrointestinal problems, and more. The protocol entails eating “soup beans” or lentils three to six times per day for at least three months, but likely longer depending on the ailment being treated.
Here’s an overview of what this diet would entail:
- No caffeine
- No added sugar
- No dairy products
- No prepared foods
- There will be no factory-farmed meats or fatty meats. Consume 6 to 8 half-cup servings of beans or lentils per day.
- Fill in the rest of the plate with lean meat, green leafy vegetables, alliums (onions, garlic, leeks, and so on), as well as cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower).
What is diet supposed to do?
It’s an intriguing concept because beans have long been promoted as a healthy source of fibre and protein! First and foremost, our bodies are incredible. Because our bodies naturally detoxify chemicals, reading that sentence made me feel like a badass. And our bodies do even more amazing things, such as converting fat into energy and recirculating things like blood. But so what does the body recirculate? Bile. Yes, bile with all its surplus chemicals, toxins, and hormone levels returns to the liver through the ileum in a process known as Enterohepatic circulation. That’s the ideal scenario of this diet
So here is the thing:
you don’t really need beans to “detox” the liver because it’s constantly “detoxing.” That is the liver’s job! So, while beans may aid the process because they contain fibre, they will not improve your liver’s performance. When synbiotics (a combination of probiotics and prebiotics) and BCAAs are combined, they alleviate hepatic encephalopathy, a symptom of liver problems in which the liver is not able detoxify excess ammonia. It does not, however, do so directly.
The fibre is not necessarily “binding” to and excreting the lead. Instead, it does so by increasing the levels of lead-binding gut bacteria, which bind and excrete it, strengthening the gut lining so that lead does not enter the circulation, increasing bile acid flow, and increasing the utilisation of healthy essential metals (like zinc and iron). The bacteria are required for the effect to occur; pre-treatment with antibiotics eliminates the benefits. As a result, we can’t be certain that the fibre is “binding” to the toxins.
Don’t get me wrong: as a food technologist, I think people should eat more beans! They are environmentally friendly, high in fibre, and mineral-rich. However, they are only one component of a well-balanced diet, and eating them three to six times per day sounds like a recipe for a stomach ache! As a result, try eating them once a day with a balanced plate. Anything in excess is always harmful.