Mean Bean Nutrition

With Dr Bean, MB

Dr. Bean

Meet the doc

How can I stay healthy during the Mean Bean Challenge?
Just how many calories are there in a portion of rice and beans?
What if I feel unwell? And are kidney beans made from real kidneys?

Nutrition expert and medical marvel Dr Bean* is here to answer all the questions you may have about the Mean Bean Challenge.

*AKA Wendy Williams, BSc (Hons) – qualified nutritionist and human bean.

The below information is for guidance only. It does not constitute formal medical advice and you should still seek your own medical advice, where appropriate.

What exactly am I allowed to eat during the mean bean challenge?

What exactly am I allowed to eat during the mean bean challenge?

For breakfast: Porridge made with water.

For lunch and dinner: Plain beans with plain rice (white or brown).

And to drink? Just water.

Seasonings? A sprinkling of salt is allowed, but no black pepper, chilli flakes or Herbes de Provence, unless you’ve earned a reward.

What about my Piri Piri sauce? Sauces are a big no-no, sadly. That means no baked beans, either.

What types of beans are allowed? Definitely not jelly beans, if that's what you're asking. Just kidney beans, black-eyed beans, butter beans etc. Chickpeas, funnily enough, aren’t peas at all, but are in fact beans. So chickpea to your heart’s content.

WHAT IS THE NORMAL RECOMMENDED CALORIE INTAKE FOR MEN AND WOMEN?

Calories measure how much energy food and drink contain. The amount of energy you need will depend on your age, lifestyle, size, gender and state of health.

The guideline daily amount of calories is 2,000Kcal for women and 2,500Kcal for men.

These are only guidelines, however. In reality there is no such thing as an energy requirement that suits everyone. We all need a certain amount of calories to provide our bodies with the energy they need to keep ticking over.

More on Calories

What would my calorie intake of 100G* of porridge and water give me?

Approximately 360Kcal.
*Dry weight

WHAT WOULD BE MY CALORIE INTAKE IF I ATE 50G OF PLAIN RICE AND 100G* OF KIDNEY BEANS?

50g of plain rice is approximately 190Kcal, with 100g of drained kidney beans being approximately 125Kcal. The total calorie intake for one Mean Bean meal would be 315Kcal.
NB: Weights referred to are for uncooked rice and drained beans.

WHAT MINIMUM DAILY QUANTITIES DO YOU RECOMMEND?

Breakfast

100g porridge, made with water.

Lunch

50g rice with 100g beans.

Dinner

50g rice with 100g beans.

NB: Weights referred to are for uncooked rice and drained kidney beans. This amounts to approximately 990Kcal per day. However, as previously highlighted, everyone's body is different, so it's best for everyone to determine themselves what daily quantities they feel they can manage.

What nutrients would I get from just eating porridge, rice and beans?

B Vitamins – for example, thiamine which helps the body use energy from the carbohydrates we eat.

CALCIUM – to help develop and maintain healthy bones and teeth.

FIBRE – helps to maintain bowel function.

FOLATE – needed for the formation of healthy red blood cells and for the nervous system.

IRON – required by red blood cells which transport oxygen around the body.

Beans are high in fibre and naturally lower in fat than animal sources of protein. This good group is a really important part of a healthy, balanced diet, as these foods are good sources of protein, and lots of essential vitamins and minerals.

PROTEIN – for growth and maintenance of normal muscles and maintenance of healthy bones.

One 80g portion of beans will count as one of your five a day.

However, if you eat any more than this in one day, it will still only count as one of your five a day – no matter how much you eat. This is because although pulses contain fibre, they don't contain the same combinations of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients as fruit and vegetables.

DIETARY FIBRE – can reduce risk of heart disease, diabetes, some cancers and help weight control. It is also important for digestive health.

FOLATE – contributes to normal blood formation, immune system, and protein and glycogen metabolism. Deficiency results in anemia.

IRON – contributes to normal red blood cell formation, cognitive function, oxygen transport in the body and function of the immune system.

MAGNESIUM – helps with normal muscle function, electrolyte balance and maintenance of normal bones and teeth.

THIAMINE – aids normal energy-yielding metabolism, growth, development, function of cells and the heart.

ZINC – contributes to normal fertility and reproduction, cognitive function, wound healing and protein synthesis.

Water is essential for our bodies to work properly, for example, for regulating body temperature, transporting nutrients around the body and for normal brain function.

Drinking plenty of water relieves fatigue, improves mood, treats headaches and migraines, helps digestion and flushes out toxins.

What nourishment would I miss out on by just eating rice, beans and porridge?

Beans and rice are a staple diet in many countries around the world, making a complete protein when eaten together – one that contains all of the essential amino acids. While beans and rice, individually, are low in certain types of essential amino acids, each offers what the other lacks. However, eating beans and rice alone can lead to nutritional deficiencies in the long term.

YOU WILL MISS OUT ON:

  • Vitamins and minerals found in fruit and vegetables
  • A variety of protein found in fish, meat and dairy
  • Some fat, which is essential in a healthy balanced diet

HOW WILL I EXPECT TO FEEL EATING THESE THREE THINGS FOR FIVE DAYS?

Some side effects may occur and can include:

  • Hunger!
  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation or diarrhoea
  • Headaches (mainly due to caffeine and sugar withdrawals)
  • Dizziness
  • Flatulence (just blame it on the cat/dog/children)

What should I do if I feel unwell?

Before starting a diet it is strongly advisable that you contact your GP, particularly if you are suffering from ill health or have a medical condition. If you feel unwell, stop doing the challenge.

Help people feed their families

Help people feed their families

Despite doing all she can, Ruth’s children often go hungry. But, through training in farming techniques from a Tearfund partner, Ruth is learning new ways to provide for her family.

By raising money through the Mean Bean Challenge, you can help more people like Ruth escape hunger for good.

Eat Beans. Help end hunger.

Mean Bean Challenge

Eat Beans. Help end hunger.