Are Mung Bean Sprouts Whole30? The Dieter's Guide

The Whole30 diet has become extremely popular, especially in North America and Europe. As the followers of the plan need to adhere to strict food guidelines they’re often left wondering whether or not they can eat bean sprouts.
This short answer is yes you can eat bean sprouts, as they’re considered a ‘pod’ and not a legume. The full question is answered in depth, reviewing both the nutritional content of bean sprouts and rules of the Whole30 diet. 
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What Is The Whole30 Diet?

The Whole30 Diet consists of only eating whole foods for 30 days. This means removing sugar, sweeteners, alcohol, grains, legumes, dairy, and processed foods.
The goal of the diet is a 30 day kickstarting challenge that you take, in order to begin losing weight, and regaining energy. The idea is that by removing all inflammatory foods you can see dramatic results even in a short period of time.

 

What Are Mung Bean Sprouts?

Mung bean sprouts are the shoots that grow when germinating mung beans. Long, thin, off-white shoots sprout out of the bean after 3-4 days.
 

What Are The Rules Of The Whole30 Diet?

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There are eight main rules to follow and remember when following the Whole30 diet. Each is designed to decrease the amount of inflammatory food and instead you should be substituting with more whole foods such as fruits and vegetables. 
Here They Are:
No Grains - Examples of grains include, rice, wheat, barley, pasta, bread, cereals. Most find this the hardest rule to follow, grains have become such a staple in the western diet that followers are unsure what to replace them with. Recommended substitutes include fruits and vegetables.
No Alcohol - Casual drinking and weekends out, can wreak havoc with your body. Not only is alcohol packed with tonnes of calories it also associated with higher risks of disease too.  
No Sugar - In modern foods, sugar appears in almost every food, snack and drink. When you cut sugar often you’ll be craving it for up to a couple of weeks! Give your body a chance to adjust as it gets used to your new lifestyle.
No Legumes - Kidney beans, navy beans, turtle beans, mung beans, peas, chickpeas and lentils are some of the most popular types of legume. Although said to be very healthy the Whole30 diet prohibits the consumption because they claim to contain ‘anti-nutrients’.
No Dairy - Dairy has been the source of a lot of negative press over the past few years. There have been many stories associating dairy with negative health effects. You’ll need to switch your milk in your coffee for a natural alternative such as coconut milk. 
No MSG - Rarely is MSG found in the standard western diet, so shouldn’t be too much of a change. Just be sure to check if you’re eating at an East Asian restaurant. 
No Junk Food - This is an obvious rule, but any of your favorite pre-packed burgers, pizzas, fries, chocolate and candy are banned! Often they’re packed with vast amounts of sugar, salt, trans-fats and oil.
Don’t Step On The Scales! - As a 30 day challenge Whole30 advise to not step on the scales for the duration. We would suggest weighing yourself before and taking some starting pictures, and then after the 30 day challenge is over too.

 

Can You Eat Mung Bean Sprouts Whilst Following The Whole30 Diet?

Short Answer - Yes, whilst following the Whole30 diet you can eat mung bean sprouts, as well as all other types of sprouts too. If you’re strictly following the Whole30 diet then you will need to remove the mung beans from the end of each sprout, to ensure you’re not eating any legumes. 
Why Can You?
A bean sprout was not judged to be a legume. On the Whole30 official website sprouted foods are considered ‘shoots or pods’ therefore are not a legume. Also if you recap all of the rules when following this diet mung bean sprouts do not violate any, therefore is suitable for consumption.
Legume And Whole30 - Are Bean Sprouts Legumes?
This could be debated until the end of time, after our extensive research we would not class them as legumes. Commonly we would class a vegetable and legume by their macronutrient ratios of protein. There is also no strict definition of what is a vegetable and not a legume, they’re largely characterized by tradition.

 

Criticisms Of The Whole30 Diet

The U.S. News & World Report ranked this diet at the bottom of all diets. Their main criticism was that it is very restrictive, by cutting out legumes and grains. Also that is an unsustainable diet, judging that it would be unhealthy to follow this diet for long periods of time.
Instead they would advocate a more varied diet that is sustainable long term, containing all food groups in the appropriate quantities.

 

Delicious Whole30 Mung Bean Recipe

There are many recipes suitable for the Whole30 diet that contain mung bean sprouts. Below is our favourite recipe.
Mung Bean Sprout Salad
This recipe is from iHeartUmami a blog dedicated to asian recipes suitable for Whole30, Paleo and Keto diet followers. For more information check them out here: iHeartumami. This recipe is to serve 6, if you would like to make more or less they have a handy calculator on their website!

 

Ingredients
  • 1 lb. mung bean sprouts, rinsed
Mung Bean Sprouts Sauce Seasoning:
  • 3 tbsp coconut aminos
  • 2 bulbs scallions, chopped
  • ¼-½ tsp coarse sea salt or to taste + 2 pinches
  • 2-3 tsp toasted sesame oil, see notes
  • 0.2-0.3 oz. clove garlic, grated or crushed (about 1 medium clove)
  • Toasted white sesame seeds, sprinkle, if using
Recipe:
1.  Bring a large pot to the boil
2.  Blanch your bean sprouts for 45s to a minute
3.  Mix your seasoning into a bowl
4.  Add your bean sprouts
5.  And enjoy!

 

Common Questions

Should You Cook Mung Bean Sprouts?
Yes, mung bean sprouts should be cooked before eating. When sprouting seeds and beans can sit in water. Making them susceptible to bacteria and mold growth, which could lead to food poisoning. E Coli, salmonella and other dangerous bacteria have been found on sprouted food. Always cook before eating.
How Do You Make Mung Bean Sprouts?
They’re super simple to make! All you need to do is soak your beans in a jar for 6-8hrs before letting them drain. After which for 3-4 days thoroughly rinse your sprouts twice per day in freshwater before allowing to drain. Remember to keep them in a cool dark area away from sunlight. 
Can I Eat Mung Bean Noodles On The Whole30 Diet?
No, you can’t eat mung bean noodles when following the Whole30 diet. Mung beans are a legume which are prohibited, and as the noodles are made from legumes you can not eat them. As an alternative we would suggest zoodles (zucchini noodles).
Are Mung Bean Sprouts The Same As Soybean Sprouts?
No, they’re different. Mung bean sprouts shoot out of mung beans and soyboy sprouts coming from soybeans. Meaning they contain different amounts of vitamins, minerals and nutrients. 

 

Looking For Sprouting Equipment, Seeds, Advice For Where To Begin? Check Out Our Guide To The Best Sprouting Gear For You.

 

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