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Fear not the antinutrients

Peas are considered a legume and inso are frowned upon by the Paleo community, although not all of them (the community, not ‘all the peas’, I’m not sure we have yet studied the cognitive abilities and array of opinions of peas). While looking into this I found some interesting articles around ‘antinutrients’ such as Phytic Acid and it’s so-called unfriendly pals. 


The reason peas exist in the paleo grey-area is that they are high in the right things and low in the bad. So while still being legumes they can offer dietary value. This entry at PaleoMagazine.com titled ‘Are Peas Paleo?’ (by Louise Hendon) gives a good insight into the difference of opinion. She has even produced a great video if you’re prefer that: Youtube: Are Peas Paleo?


This then lead me on to the rise in conversation around ‘antinutrients‘, which according to wikipedia are: ‘…are natural or synthetic compounds that interfere with the absorption of nutrients’. Now on the surface this seems like a pretty obvious terrible thing, but mainly because it has ‘anti’ the name. But apparently that’s a little simplistic, similar in thinking to ‘You’re either for us or against us’, which leaves out a lot of the grey-zone of reality.


This great little read at EveryDayHealth.com ‘Antinutrients’ are nothing to fear‘ (by Johannah Sakimura, RD) is worth taking in and adding to the discussion of not just Paleo diets but overall nutrition and how a bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing in terms of making blanket statements around good, bad and indifferent foods.


…now that this scary-sounding word is filtering into our everyday lexicon, it’s ripe for exploitation. I can just see the package labels now…boxes of sugary, refined breakfast cereal tagged “Low in Antinutrients!”


Here’s some excerpts to give you a feel for the article:


Antinutrient is actually a real scientific term used to refer to any compound, such as glucosinolate, that reduces the body’s ability to absorb or use essential nutrients like vitamins and minerals. However, now that this scary-sounding word is filtering into our everyday lexicon, it’s ripe for exploitation. I can just see the package labels now…boxes of sugary, refined breakfast cereal tagged “Low in Antinutrients!”


Antinutrients, which include phytic acid (or phytates), lignans, saponins, phytoestrogens, oxalates, phenolic compounds, and others, are found in all plant foods, although the types and amounts vary tremendously from food to food. They’re part of the complex matrix that makes up the growing plant tissue. While these compounds can curtail the body’s absorption or usage of certain minerals and other beneficial compounds to some extent, they don’t block it entirely. You would have to eat extremely large quantities of the same high-antinutrient foods day in and day out in order for those foods to have a significant effect on your nutritional status.


Plus, the negativity inherent in the term “antinutrient” is misleading. I’m opposed to using the word altogether, especially outside of the scientific community, because these compounds also have incredible health benefits. In many cases, they’re the very same components that are thought to give beans, lentils, whole grains, vegetables, and fruits their well-documented disease-fighting powers. In fact, you may know these “antinutrients” by another name – “phytonutrients,” the highly-prized, health-boosting compounds that we celebrate in whole foods.


…the negativity inherent in the term “antinutrient” is misleading. I’m opposed to using the word altogether, especially outside of the scientific community, because these compounds also have incredible health benefits.


All in all this shows that your health and wellbeing shouldn’t be based around a knee-jerk response to something you may have read. It needs to be looked into a little and then, like anything you need to work out what’s right for you.


PEAPRO – YES OR NO?


Going back to Peas, the entire reason I looked into this is for our PeaPro product and if it could be consumed by someone on a Paleo diet. I guess the short answer is no due to it being made from yellow split-peas and being a refined powder, but the longer answer is maybe and up to the individual. If peas can be cut a break by some paleo followers then a pure supplement can find it’s uses if you feel your diet isn’y giving you everything you need for your lifestyle.


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