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How Beans and Other Pulses Help Weight Loss

beans and weight loss

You can achieve weight loss by adding just a small amount of beans or other pulses to your diet, according to a new study. Beans, along with lentils, chickpeas and peas, provide several important weight management and other health benefits.

To get the latest skinny on beans and other pulses, the authors of this new review and meta-analysis from St. Michael’s Hospital’s Clinical Nutrition and Risk Factor Modification Centre scoured more than 2,000 papers and chose nine clinical trials that included 126 participants. When they boiled down the data from these studies, this is what they found:

  • Eating just one serving (3/4 of a cup, or about 130 grams) of beans, lentils, peas, or chickpeas helps people feel fuller, which in turn can help individuals lose weight and better manage their weight
  • More specifically, individuals in the studies felt 31 percent fuller after they ate about 160 grams of beans or other pulses compared with a control diet
  • Including pulses in your diet also offers other health benefits, especially if you are prone to or have type 2 diabetes. That’s because pulses are low on the glycemic index and thus helpful in controlling blood sugar. In addition, beans and their cousins are great sources of protein, so they can be used as an alternative to animal protein.

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Other bean and pulse bonuses
Pulses are

  • Low in fat and contain no trans fat
  • High in fiber
  • Typically provide good to very good amounts of iron, magnesium, thiamin, folate, copper, manganese, and phosphorus
  • Easy to use in recipes or add as a last minute ingredient to soups, stews, salads, sauces, and sandwiches
  • Available in dozens of varieties and can be purchased dry or already cooked and ready to use
  • Helpful in lowering low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or bad cholesterol, according to another recent study
  • Previous research also has shown that beans are helpful in lowering hemoglobin A1c levels and triglycerides, important factors in type 2 diabetes

Bean bottom line
The pulses--beans, lentils, chickpeas, and peas—are a convenient and tasty way to feel full so you can better control your weight and lose pounds. If you are worried about gas, there are several effective ways to help prevent flatulence. So get ready to include more beans and other pulses on your menu!

Ha V et al. Effect of dietary pulse intake on established therapeutic lipid targets for cardiovascular risk reduction: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. CMAJ 2014 May 13; 186(8): E252-62
Siying S et al. Dietary pulses, satiety and food intake: A systematic review and meta-analysis of acute feeding trials. Obesity 2014; 22(8): 1773

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