Pulses, Legumes & Beans : why and why not (2/2)

Shelley Paul @ Unsplash

 Previously, I summarised my sentiment and personal recommendations, despite in no way it is prescriptive for anyone to incorporate beans, legumes and/or pulses. In this last part I continue sharing my ambivalences to this “fibre-is-essential, period” narrative.



I am not entirely against fibre.

Recalling all prior years I have downed salad bowl(s) the size of my head (and my gut). Cooked and uncooked. Lower fat LCIF days vs higher fat-days. Low vs high protein intakes. With and without extra supplemental fibre, particularly pysllium husk. If it is for hunger control sake, not withstanding other nuances, then having more “bulk” to do nothing but to stand-by ~ does seem to serve some utility. But it is trickery at fooling our satiety by having things just “sit there”. Far different than if we actually eat and store – calories as we should be, in all feeding windows. 

People supplement or accessorise their feature meals, or inbetween meals – with fibres, for instilled peace of mind they just want “something” to just sit there, for the sake of just feeling “full”.

Beans, pulses and legumes appear to play a role to this “fullness” signalling; suggested by their oligosaccaharides content (Morel FB et al. 2015). But one review (Zhang R et al. 2016) proclaims that animal and human studies, at least to date; appear to show inverse correlation on high fibre cereal intakes on the satiety hormone Leptin.

Were I to humbly express, based on simple physics (solids: heavier and denser, liquids: malleable, and easy to oxidise) ¬ the above do not always equate a survival benefit. I repeat – at least on a grand scheme of things – calorie absorption, storage and to pre-empt obligate substrate release, be it glycogen release, protein breakdowns, FFAs / free fatty acid release for us to contend the next food scarcity.

My interpretation of “fullness” varies a lot wherever I am eating fibre. Both good and bad, it is a matter of what is available, structurally and economically, in the pantry. I’s easy to paint conclusion that slowing down of everything, is a good thing. Fibre slows digestion. Fibre keeps hunger at bay. Fibreslows glucose absorption. Slowing” down” here in this case – is suggestive enough therefore that one is effectively “slowing” everything else down. That includes fuel uptake.

And if we are humble enough to be not so dogmatic, we should also be willing ourselves room for doubts ~ that at some stage, fibre – may also delay satiety itself. Meaning at some stage, we will be hungry. Considering that after all, fibre inhibits everything, including energy “absorption” itself (Hervik AK et al. 2019).


Flatulence. If you can hold it, reward yourself.

….Privately of course.

Depending who you “talk to” or if you have done prior willingly research on this subject, “Farting” ~ forgive me for a lack  of flattering alternative ~ has had throughout history deemed as either an act of comedy, or an act to belittle, humiliate, or simply gross public (in)decency.

There are people who claim to have absolutely “no problems” with high or very high fibre intake, hour(s) afterwards. But some people do. If one remain optimistic to subscribe to all things  “healthy”, in this case, religious fibre intake(s) –  then he/she must also be willing to compensate to this subscription by withstanding all side effects, that one can possibly tolerate. 

Despite all positive claims, which need not further citations due to hyper prevalence – satiety, gut health, butyrate / SCFA fatty acids ,or diverse microbiota etc – if the immediate side effects persist to the point of discomfort(s) that translate, over time that turns one feel extremely nervous or anxious. Does that equate a picture of health? That was “me”. Very long time ago. 

For what it’s worth, consider the growing concern of gastroparesis (meaning a “slowed stomach”, or slowed gastric emptying of food matter into the duodenum / small intestine). All manner of sharp / pain-like stabbing symptoms, followed by extreme bloating / distention, and gas soon after eating are all common signs.  There are indeed valid reasons for one to reduce or avoid fibre intakes (Suresh H et al 2020), as common logic suggests that adding “more” to an already slowed-traffic – may make the situation worse.

Otherwise, there is always self-experimentation. In this case as I implore throughout my concept initiative here – exclusion and reinclusion protocol/s that one will inevitably manifest this towards cyclical ketogenic + intermittent fasting (or any cyclical principle(s) one may so choose or alternate to their needs). Of course and as always, this is not a quick ticket. It takes years worth of holistic change.

Regardless, if you can count the # days when you can ably discern, or felt the difference – between a complete fasting state, versus that of post feeding state with gob loads of indigestible matter then eventually, mind over matter inevitably does much of the leg work for you.


High Fibre intake may not be optimal during refeeds.

Lyle McDonald, alongside others have multiple times remarked the importance of limiting but not thoroughly avoiding – high fibre foods. Especially when glycogen compensations are to be fulfilled.

My stance on refeeding, or “carbohydrate allowance day(s)” remains more or less in agreement. Allow anabolism for glycogen replenishment. All this ~ in the path of least resistance. That to me is humbly under my own interpretation the epitome behind what “nutrition” means. To nurture one’s self, in the path of least-resistance. One may even argue that fasting itself, is a way of self-nurturing.

However all my prior years between none, low and high fibre intake, with and without refeeds I do admit –  still have some merit. Economical? Yes, chickpeas have been so far tolerable, but not symptom-free, to me. But still you have realize that this is a refeed day, after every week of depletion, fitness training on top. Not including everyday low grade inflammation from everyday stress, radiation, EMF, environment toxins, xenoestrogens, so on and so forth.

I still have to enjoy food, after all, in their absorptive path of least resistance at least for a day or 24 hours. In that they should not be hindered in anyway, their absorption.

Nonetheless, I succumb that it is not “the end of the world” when it comes to “such time” I have to face inacessibility, again and again with plant protein sources. Chiefly among them  TVP / textured vegetable proteins. That in particular is something I have written about many times before and come to loath over their questionable effects.

Thus, the seemingly halo surrounding “Fibre” as healthy in this case, deserves to be scrutinized, before they can be widely dismissed benign or harmless. I stress and caution that most things in nutrition thankfully can be reincorporated. But I argue this to not be extrapolated, or preach upon, towards the masses by treating every pedestrian, no differently to that as the next pedestrian.


Fibre may not be that satiating, and other concerns.

Ever since this concept initiative’s lone beginnings I implore readers and viewers to bravely yet quitely introspect against all thesis – be it pro, contrarian and/or the inconclusive (the latter probably the most important of them). This is so that one  is able to curate the overall totality of evidence(s) to prevent knee-jerk impulses.

The positive-bias behind fibre’s 1:1 correlation with satiety is overly done. But are there any evidences that challenge the status quo?

One big meta/systematic review (1400+ studies) finds no effect on satiety (Warrilow A. et al. 2018) . One randomized blinded cross over study likewise seem unoptimistic on fibre correlation with satiety (Willis HJ et al 2010).

The latter cross over study (Willis HJ et al. 2010) shed some mechanism interests. It appears that GLP-1, one of many neurotransmitter(s) responsible for satiety signalling as described in our Hunger & Satiety Chapter appears blunted as fibre intake increased.

This next lot of concerns resolves on mineral absorption concerns, mainly calcium. This concern somewhat parallels throughout all my experience, that for whatever reason whenever I am consuming high fibre intakes – something cheesy, yoghurts or creams, must somehow be there. It is something I crave as a combination. Whether this is some sort of intuitive / auto-nutrient seeking regulation is at play, or something else at play remains a mystery, at least to me.

My case as it stands remains standing. That is yearning or craving at combining high fibre(s) of anything be it vegetable or a supplement with strong source of dairy calcium ~ remains curiously consistent.

Besides from anti-nutrient/s we are familiar with eg. phytates; there appears to be several literatures highlighting fibre intakes potential at decreasing absorption of key minerals, chiefly among them – magnesium, calcium and zinc (Adams S et al. 2018) through in vitro and human studies (Shah M et al. 2009), (O’Brien, K et al. 1993). Interestingly – (Shah M et al. 2009) and a recent / 2021 meta-analysis (Wang Z et al. 2021) suggest that subjects consuming higher fibre intakes may pose concern to kidney health; as urinary oxalate appears to be increased and  has been maintained as an-established marker for kidney stone risk (Shah A et al. 2023).  Nevertheless, these citations suggest that adequate calcium intake must somehow be accompanied; whenever high fibre intake is exercised.

Hence putting all these nuances to display, Fibre is and should be noteworthy for anyone to never quickly trust upon our anointed faith and wisdom, wherever they’re plastered at present on our billboards, pop-up ads, and Eat This! Not That! sensationalism websitess.

Summing up

Individualization still matters. Pedestrian opinions do not matter, as much as how one (1) introspect back to the self experimentation and of all things, journalled experiences.

At the end of the day – it is the individual taking control, over what can be isolated, scrutinized, and of all things ~ experienced by that individual alone  – between none, low and high inputs. That is arguably the more scientifically and dare I say philosophically / Existentially meaningful exercise to life.

I still eat”fibre” but never for simplistic reason that I want them to just “sit there”. Micronutrients are what I prioritise, than deliberately adding “more” to the traffic jam.

What goes in must come out. Ahem – second law of thermodynamics is what I am referring to here. Anything inputted, should produce some means of productive utility, or an exchange for something productive to the other end. Cover your nose if you must – but it needs to be other than “natural” gas.

Despite all that, a meal or two, or even a refeed cake treat using chickpeas or any other beans still under my own scrutiny ~ is not the end of the world. Just make sure, that we all need some privacy time. Whenever that stomach clenching becomes far too much, or that we feel encumbered on the threadmill – then whatever symptoms shown should speak for itself that enough ~ is enough.

There is a saying although I cannot remember who coined it ~ you can believe in anything, but try not overstay your welcome.

Fibre intakes should remain, at the end of a day – an occasional experiment. But dogmatic indulgence? Questionable at best.



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