Have you ever been told you shouldn’t eat beans because they have lectins? Before you start worrying (or start looking up lectins), here is the good news: the science suggests this is a non-issue.
So first of all, what are lectins? Lectins are proteins that can bind carbohydrates and cause adverse reactions in the body, such as damage to the digestive system. Here’s the thing though: they are heat-labile, meaning that cooking foods with lectins can eliminate any potential issues. Beans – along with many other foods – naturally have lectins. But as long as you don’t eat raw beans, you should be in the clear. Now, I would argue there are lots of reasons to not eat raw beans, including any desire you may have to keep your teeth.
Looking for proof? Here is one article (this will likely be behind a paywall, but you can read the abstract for free) that demonstrates that cooking beans means you don’t need to worry about lectins. And there are many more articles that reached the same exact conclusion! The authors of this article determined that in the type of bean they were examining, soaking followed by cooking (or autoclaving, regardless of whether the beans were soaked or not) was the best way to eliminate lectin activity.