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One Major Side Effect of Eating Beans, Says Science

There's a reason it's called "the magical fruit."
FACT CHECKED BY Kiersten Hickman

Beans are having a moment. As plant-based lifestyles continue to trend, consumers are increasingly looking for new ways to eat protein. Nowadays, weaning off animal products is made possible by imitation-meat and every kind of supplement imaginable. But before all that, there was the original, all-natural protein source for vegetarians: beans.

And in this new plant-based craze, beans have not been forgotten. In addition to the long-standing bean burger, the market has also been flooded with everything from bean pasta to bean meatballs and even bean chips. So we talked to a group of experts to find out more about what this plant-based staple does to your body, and the number one side effect of eating beans that kept coming up was resounding: beans mean fiber.

Here's why this particular side effect of eating beans is important to note, and for even more healthy tips, be sure to check out our list of The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.

Consuming a lot of fiber is, first and foremost, healthy. Fiber makes you feel full and keeps your gut happy.

"You can expect to feel pleasantly satisfied and energized after eating beans," says Amy Davis, RD, LDN. "Because of the combination of fiber and protein, beans provide a feeling of satiety that will last a few hours."

The fiber beans contain (a typical serving has 10-15 grams per cup) also makes for improved digestion.

"Beans can contribute to a healthy digestive system with less risk of constipation and diverticular disease," says Jody Bergeron, RN, BSN, MS, CEN. "It is the insoluble fibers that remain intact during digestion and help to speed up the movement and processing of waste."

With all this good stuff happening in the gut, though, there are also some inevitable drawbacks. Turns out, high fiber also proves the old rhyme true: "Beans beans the magical fruit. The more you eat, the more you—"

"The number one effect of beans is gas, particularly if you eat a lot of them," says Paul Claybrook, MS, MBA, CN. "Your body does not digest much fiber but the bacteria that fill your digestive tract do. Of course, eating a lot of beans thus provides a veritable smorgasbord for these little guys and the feasting begins. One of the by-products of bacteria 'eating' is the production of gases."

In other words, while there's plenty to celebrate when it comes to beans, there is one less-than-ideal side effect to be wary of. However, if you properly portion out your beans, you'll be reaping the belly-filling benefits soon, which can help with avoiding those late-night muchies later!

More Bean Stories on Eat This, Not That!
Kaley Roberts
Kaley Roberts is a food writer. Read more about Kaley
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