In an attempt to understand the mechanism for the extremely slow rate of digestion and absorption of carbohydrate from legumes, we have examined a number of factors which could potentially affect the process in vitro. The rate of hydrolysis of legume starch in vitro was not affected by the presence of fat (as either butter or an emulsion). However, it was significantly increased in commercially available canned bean preparations, suggesting that the high temperatures used in the canning process may alter the availability of starch in legumes. In vitro starch hydrolysis rate was also significantly increased by grinding legumes finely prior to cooking. Finally, the slow rate of digestion and absorption of legume carbohydrate does not appear to be due to viscosity since a) increasing the shaking rate of viscous mixture of either red kidney beans or lentils from 0 to 120 oscillations per minute did not affect the hydrolysis rate, and b) a thick viscous mixture of either of these legumes did not retard the diffusion of free glucose from a dialysis sac into the dialysate.