My name is Dan, and I am a peanut addict. I love peanuts. I am addicted to peanuts, or at least I used to be. I once gave them up (briefly), but I have since caved and eat them opportunistically…for example, at a cocktail party or reception, or when they are on sale at the supermarket (which is often, LOL). Why is another story, and the subject of another column – for someone who has a better understanding of the very complex questions of why we eat and what we eat. But for this humble blogger, I will just tell you why I have concluded that I shouldn’t eat peanuts.
For the irregular reader, I am a 78-year old, 33-year Type 2 diabetic who eats a Very Low Carb Ketogenic Diet (VLCKD) for weight loss and blood glucose control. I am Carbohydrate Intolerant. I treat my broken glucose metabolism just with minimal oral diabetes medications (Metformin). I also eat this way because I can do it without hunger, and greatly improved blood pressure (with weight loss) and blood lipids, especially HDL and triglycerides.
I have been trying to stop eating peanuts for years. So, now that my body is “happy” with the way I eat and what I eat, I have tried to stop eating peanuts again. The page references below are all from a good book, “Perfect Health Diet ” by Paul and Shou-Ching Jaminet, that I recommend for Paleo nutrition principles and practices: I do not recommend this book for its approach to eating for Type 2 diabetics. They have, sadly, missed the mark there.
First of all, peanuts are not nuts; they are legumes. Peanuts grow in the ground, not in trees. The peanut plant grows above ground with a pea-like flower. The long flower stalk then bends to the ground and continues to grow. The mature fruit develops there into a legume pod, the peanut, containing 1 to 4 dry seeds. Other common above-ground legumes include soybeans, fava, kidney, pinto, garbanzo, and lima beans, black-eyed peas, lentils, sweet peas and green beans. As a Type 2 diabetic, with the exception of young green beans, I try to avoid them all.
Legumes are “almost grains” (pg. 209),” just as dangerous as grains when eaten raw and still risky after cooking.” They are on the short list of “DO NOT EAT” foods (pg. xix): grains and cereals, sugars, beans and peanuts, and Omega-6-rich vegetable seed oils (soybean oil, corn oil, safflower oil, peanut oil, and canola oil). It gets a grade of “F” (pg. 172) in the list of “The Best Plant Food Energy Sources,” listed after wheat, corn and other grains.
The Jaminets say, “Many legumes are highly toxic in their raw state: raw kidney beans at 1% of diet can kill rats in two weeks.” “Legumes are toxicologically similar to grains. Like grains, they are eaten by herbivores and have developed toxins against mammals, including humans.” Plants can’t run away from grazing animals, so toxins are their defense system. Of course, ruminants circumvent the plant’s defense with their four-compartment stomach.
The Jaminets “sample of known toxicity effects from legumes: 1) leaky gut, bad digestion, diarrhea, bloating; 2) retarded body growth and shrinkage of organs; and 3) heart disease and tendon damage.” “Leaky gut allowed bacteria and toxins to enter the body, block production of stomach acid and thus prevent proper digestion of proteins. In the gut, the kidney bean lectin PHA induced immature gut cells that were easily exploited by diarrhea-inducing bacteria such as E. coli” (pg. 210). “Feeding rats the alpha-amylase inhibitor found in kidney beans leads to extreme gut bloating,” which lead occasionally to a ruptured intestine.” It gets worse from there. Read Chapter 20.
“Many legume toxins can be destroyed with overnight soaking and thorough cooking, but not all.” “Traditional cuisines that make heavy use of legumes, such as Indian cuisine, used very long cooking times as well as lengthy detoxification methods – overnight soaking, sprouting, and fermentation. Even with such methods, not all toxins are removed. But at the hasty pace of modern lives, few people soak their beans overnight or cook them for hours.
“Peanut and soybean allergies are among the most common allergies” (pg. 212). “People with celiac disease who aren’t healed by removal of wheat often turn out to have antibodies to soybeans or other legumes and need to remove legumes from their diet as well.” “Significantly raised antibody titres were found in the coeliac group…” The Jaminets’ conclusion: “(W)e believe there is little reward and much risk to eating toxin-rich legumes such as beans and peanuts. The only legumes we eat are peas and green beans.” I concur. Now, I just need to comply.