Why Are Lentils Bad for You?

Medically Reviewed on 9/9/2021
lentils nutrition
Raw lentils, like other legumes, contain a protein called lectin that binds to your digestive tract and can result in several toxic reactions, such as diarrhea and vomiting.

Lentils are a nutritious food choice, low in fat and high in protein and fiber. However, for some people, these legumes may be bad due to the following reasons:

  • When eaten raw, lentils and other legumes are dangerous because all beans, including lentils, contain lectins that can elicit unpleasant reactions.
  • Lectins are a type of protein that is produced by plants to protect themselves from predators. These proteins adhere to the digestive tract, causing various unpleasant reactions.
  • Raw legumes are responsible for about 20 percent of all food poisoning cases worldwide, and eating raw lentils can cause vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Some lectins (such as wheat germ agglutinin found primarily in wheat) are dreadful and unquestionably cause problems.
  • Lectins may not cause any immediate problems, but they frequently lead to various long-term issues, such as the inability to properly absorb vitamins and minerals, food allergies, arthritis and other numerous issues.
  • If you have any existing gut issues (such as irritable bowel syndrome) or autoimmune conditions (such as Crohn's or Hashimoto's), lectins are likely to be far more problematic for you.
  • Raw or undercooked lentils are exceedingly harmful and can even result in death for some people.

Thankfully, lectins are heat-sensitive, and when they are cooked, they break down, leaving you with a totally safe and delicious diet. They can either be cooked fully or sprouted to make them safe to eat.

Lentils contain lysine, which is an essential amino acid.

  • According to studies, consuming too much lysine might induce gallstones, increase cholesterol levels and impair kidney function.
  • Furthermore, experts confirm that very high doses of lysine might produce stomach discomfort and diarrhea.

Few people may be allergic to lentils. Lentils belong to the same family as beans and peanuts and are classed as legumes. If you're allergic to peanuts, you might also be allergic to lentils.

Fortunately, you can take care of yourself by keeping a close eye on your symptoms and opting for plant-based proteins instead.

Lentils have antinutrients and phytates.

  • Lentils include antinutrients, such as trypsin inhibitors and phytic acid, which prevent some nutrients, proteins and amino acids from being absorbed.
  • Phytates are compounds that hinder minerals in food from being absorbed into our bodies.
  • Furthermore, phytates interfere with the operation of enzymes that are essential for digestion, such as pepsin and amylase.

These negative effects may be reduced if lentils are properly soaked and cooked.

  • Lentils are classified as grain legumes, also known as pulses. This means that the part we eat is the seed, which is high in fiber and protein.
  • If you eat fiber-rich lentils regularly, they can cause gas and bloating.
  • If you are sensitive to fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyol (FODMAP) foods, lentils can cause discomfort, as well as bloating and gas in the colon.
  • Excessive fiber consumption causes flatulence that, while not harmful to your health, can be embarrassing.
  • Lentils are frequently cooked with strong spices, which can cause indigestion in some people.
  • Lentils are a good source of potassium, however, too many lentils in the diet can cause hyperkalemia (symptoms may include vomiting, fatigue, irregular heartbeat and difficulty breathing) in people with poor kidney function.
  • You should always consult your doctor before introducing anything new into your diet or lifestyle, such as lentils, to ensure that you do not experience any negative side effects.

Which lentils are good for you?

Many vegetarian and vegan recipes include lentils as a staple ingredient. Lentils can be used in a variety of recipes including soups, salads, side dishes, dips and even dessert.

The following are some of the most common nutritional health benefits of including lentils in your diet:

  • Lentils, which are high in dietary fiber, are good for lowering cholesterol.
  • The fiber content prevents an increase in blood sugar levels following a meal, which is beneficial in preventing digestive disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulosis and constipation.
  • Apart from lowering cholesterol, lentils are beneficial to heart health because they contain high levels of folate and magnesium, which prevent artery wall damage.
    • Just one cup of lentils will give you about 90% of your daily recommended intake of folate.
  • The high magnesium content of lentils is beneficial to cardiovascular health because it improves blood flow in the body.
  • Lentils have high iron content, making them a good source of energy.
  • Lentils, which contain flavonoids, are beneficial in the prevention of cancer, particularly breast cancer.
  • The nutritional value of lentils, or nutrients found in lentils, is responsible for various health benefits associated with them.

To summarize, lentils are beneficial to your health when properly soaked and cooked. However, excessive consumption of anything, including lentils, may result in side effects.


According to the USDA, there is no difference between a “portion” and a “serving.” See Answer

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

Medically Reviewed on 9/9/2021
Lentils: Nutrition, Benefits, Risks, & Preparation: https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/benefits-lentils

Are Lentils Good For You? https://www.organicfacts.net/are-lentils-good.html

Lentils: Nutrition Value, Benefits, Side Effects and Facts: http://www.seedguides.info/lentils/