Legume Science Post #17 - May 23, 2021 - Are Beans Actually the Musical Fruit?

Legume Science Spotlight – Are Beans Actually the Musical Fruit?

If you are not up-to-date on recent bean ballads (yes, it is a genre), then maybe you have not yet heard the Bean Song that Bush’s Beans commissioned Josh Groban to participate in as part of their aggressive rebranding of beans as the beautiful food. For better or for worse – you decide after listening – Groban did indeed croon on about beans. But why do beans need to be rebranded when they are so perfect already, you are probably wondering? Well, that would be due at least in part to their reputation as the musical fruit.

Here is the thing though, the science suggests this concern is overexaggerated! Feeding studies in people show inconsistent results that vary with factors such as the type of bean. Also, if folks are not used to a high fiber diet, it may take some time (a week or so, although it can vary between people) to adapt. This could happen even if the fiber is not coming from beans! And fiber is critical for so many functions in our bodies and can promote satiety. The high fiber profile of beans and other pulses is also linked to their benefits for gut health.

And here is something that made me chuckle – in the study by Winham and Hutchins (2011) referenced below, even a small percentage of people on a control diet (i.e. canned carrots instead of beans) reported increased flatulence.

Are Beans Actually the Musical Fruit?

Still Worried the Musical Fruit May Make You Sing?

Honestly, my recommendation would be to enjoy beans and not worry too much about it. A lot of people do not experience any discomfort. However, if you are one of those who does feel these symptoms, here are a few ideas:

  • Gas in natural. This is not as much a tip as it is an important thing to recognize. Whether we like it or not, some level of flatulence is both natural and healthy.
  • If you can, give your body a little time. Once you get used to a higher fiber diet rich in beans, any gassiness may dissipate like the wind.
  • Try other beans/pulses. Do mung beans make you feel less than stellar? Maybe try some pinto beans. Please note: these are just two random types of pulses I picked, this is not a scientific recommendation of a flatulence reducing substitution (sorry).
    • Wondering what pulses are, by the way? Check here.
  • Work up to it. Start with smaller amounts and gradually add more pulses into your dietary pattern. This is similar to the first recommendation but may help you avoid any discomfort to begin with.

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