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Bean Protocol: Does it work for IBD?

Updated: Dec 7, 2023




0:00 - Intro

0:22 - What is the Bean Protocol?

2:34 - Research

3:11 - Why Beans?

3:40 - Bean Protocol during a flare

5:15 - Dr. Natalie Scheeler’s input on Bean Protocol in terms of IBD

6:08 - Conclusion


In the world of health and wellness, there's a constant search for innovative approaches to managing chronic conditions and improving overall well-being. However, just because they are innovated, does not mean they are backed by research and does not mean they work.


The Bean Protocol, a regimen developed by Unique Hammond as a response to her diagnosis of Crohn Disease, involves incorporating small amounts of beans into your diet daily. It also encompasses several other lifestyle changes that aim to promote health. In this interview, Dr. Mary and Dr. Scheeler delve into the origins of the Bean Protocol, its core principles, and whether Dr. Scheeler recommends it or not.


The Genesis of the Bean Protocol

The story of the Bean Protocol begins with Karen Hurd, a parent whose child was tragically poisoned with insecticide. Her quest to find answers led her to develop this protocol, which has since gained popularity among those seeking alternative approaches to health and healing. Unique Hammond, diagnosed with Crohn Disease, also adopted this protocol, and her journey contributed to its evolution.


Key Principles of the Bean Protocol and Dr. Scheeler's thoughts (modrn med is not endorsing this, we are simply reviewing it):

  1. Regular Consumption of Beans: At the heart of the Bean Protocol is the daily consumption of small amounts of beans, ranging from 1 tablespoon to 1/4 cup. This practice is typically done multiple times a day, with the goal of providing soluble fiber.

    1. Dr. Scheeler's thoughts: Increasing soluble fiber, in the form of beans, is generally beneficial for most people's health. If you tolerate beans well then there is no harm and adding more fiber to your diet is generally a good thing. However, if you have IBD and are in a flair, then increasing beans in the diet may worsen symptoms, not improve them.

  2. Dietary Restrictions: The Bean Protocol is quite restrictive, advocating the elimination of caffeine, alcohol, sugar (including fruit), dairy, fatty and processed meats, saturated fats, and supplements.

    1. Dr. Scheeler's thoughts: Dr. Scheeler does not recommend a diet that is this restrictive. Restricting your diet to this degree can lead to disordered eating patterns and a negative relationship with food. Restrictive diets can also cause negative changes in your gut microbiome like a decrease in microbial diversity. Dairy and fruit have health benefits and should not be avoided unless someone has an intolerance or allergy.

  3. Salted Nuts: The protocol recommends the daily consumption of 1/5 cups of salted nuts.

    1. Dr. Scheeler's thoughts: Nuts can be a healthy part of a balanced diet.

  4. Meal Timing: They advise not to consume fats at the same time as beans to prevent digestive issues.

    1. Dr. Scheeler's thoughts: She does not agree with the restrictive nature of food pairing. Your body has the enzymes it needs to digest both fats and beans at the same time.

  5. Hydration: They advise drinking room-temperature water and avoiding cold water.

    1. Dr. Scheeler's thoughts: Currently, there is limited research to conclusively favor drinking room temperature water over cold water exclusively for digestive benefits. The primary focus should be on ensuring you consume an adequate amount of water since proper hydration is crucial for maintaining digestive health.

  6. Fragrance Avoidance:

    1. Dr. Scheeler's thoughts: Fragrances often include phthalates, a chemical that can have adverse effects on our health. She advocates for minimizing exposure to fragrances whenever possible.

  7. Rest and Recovery: The Bean Protocol recommends avoiding intense exercise and getting plenty of rest.

    1. Dr. Scheeler's thoughts: Getting plenty of sleep and recovery is very important to our health, however, not all people with inflammatory bowel disease need to avoid intense exercise. Intense exercise has many health benefits. She recommends discussing with your doctor to determine the most appropriate approach for you.


Research and Controversy

It's important to note that, to date, there have been no studies conducted on the Bean Protocol itself.


The limited research on fiber intake for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) shows mixed results. For instance, some studies suggest that fructo-oligosaccharides (a type of soluble fiber found in onion, chicory, garlic, etc.) may lower IBD questionnaire scores, potentially affecting the quality of life negatively. In contrast, inulin (another soluble fiber found in various foods) has shown promise in reducing clinical disease activity. Additionally, germinated barley, a type of insoluble fiber, has demonstrated positive effects.


Dr. Scheeler's Conclusions

Dr. Scheeler agrees that beans, which are very high in soluble fiber, can be a part of a healthy diet, especially when most of us are not consuming enough fiber. However, many components of the Bean Protocol are very restrictive and may do more harm than good.



To become a patient with Dr. Natalie Scheeler, visit the link below:


Disclaimer:

The information in this blog is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images and information, contained on or available through this blog is for general information purposes only. Modrn med and Dr. Mary Pardee make no representation and assume no responsibility for the accuracy of information contained in or made available through this blog, and such information is subject to change without notice. This blog does not provide medical services, diagnosis or counsel. You are encouraged to confirm any information obtained from or through this email with other sources, and review all information regarding any medical condition or treatment with your physician. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this information.

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