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Experts warn of poisoning from lupine seeds
Lupine seeds have become increasingly popular in recent years. The healthy legumes are already called the new soy by some people. However, experts now point out that poisoning from lupine seeds has often occurred in the past.
Schnitzel and ice cream from lupine
For many people who want to keep their meat consumption low or who eat a vegetarian or vegan diet, foods are often brought to the table that are produced from soy or milk protein. Some people do not tolerate this so well. Lupins are not only a suitable substitute for them. Schnitzel, sausages, flour and ice cream are made from the plant. In some cases, the consumption of legumes can also lead to health problems.
Symptoms of poisoning from bitter lupine seeds
As reported by the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) in a current communication, data on about 30 specific cases with poisoning symptoms of different severity, triggered by bitter lupine seeds, were transmitted to the institute by the poison information centers for the period from 2010 to 2016.
"When buying unprocessed lupine seeds, it is usually difficult to tell whether they are bitter lupine seeds that contain toxic alkaloids or sweet lupine seeds that can be consumed without further processing," said BfR President Professor Dr. Dr. Andreas Hensel.
According to BfR, a bitter taste of lupine seeds or the products made from them can be an indicator of the presence of lupine alkaloids that are undesirable for health.
The bitter-tasting soaking water from lupine seeds should never be consumed or used to prepare food.
Laypeople should refrain from debittering lupine seeds
Lupine seeds have been used increasingly in food production for several years - for example for the production of gluten-free baked goods and pasta or dietetic products for people with milk protein allergies.
Lupine products are very high in protein. Lupine seeds contain little fat and no gluten, but a lot of fiber. Since the seeds are also almost purine-free, they are also suitable for gout patients.
Depending on the type and origin, they can contain bitter quinolizidine alkaloids. If these are not removed properly in a so-called “debittering process”, they can trigger poisoning symptoms in humans that affect the nervous, circulatory and digestive systems.
"The BfR recommends consumers who do not have their own expertise to use products clearly identified as sweet lupine seeds or bitter bitter lupine seeds that have already been debittered and to refrain from debittering lupine seeds themselves," says Hensel. (ad)