lose weight

Want To Lose Weight? Eat Beans

The newest weight-loss superfood that is getting people excited is none other than the humble bean. New data published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has confirmed that weight loss is as easy as adding a serving of beans to your diet each day. Not only does eating lentils, chickpeas, beans, or peas help you lose weight, but they also keep the weight off, according to News Medical.

The findings came from an analysis of 21 clinical trials involving 940 people. Lead author, Dr. Russell de Souza, from St Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, Canada, and his team found that simply adding 130 grams of beans, peas, chickpeas, or lentils to a person’s diet on a daily basis led to an average loss of 0.34 kg or 0.75 pounds over a period of six weeks. The amazing part is the patients made no other changes to their diet meaning they were able to lose weight without any effort being made to reduce calories.

“Though the weight loss was small, our findings suggest that simply including pulses in your diet may help you lose weight, and we think more importantly, prevent you from gaining it back after you lose it,” Dr. de Souza said. “This new study fits well with our previous work, which found that pulses increased the feeling of fullness by 31 per cent, which may indeed result in less food intake.”

Another bonus of adding beans to your diet is they keep you feeling fuller for longer. This leads to less overall over-eating, whilst still feeling satisfied and getting a good dose of fiber, protein and carbohydrates according to Cynthia Sass, R.D. author of Slim Down Now: Shed Pounds and Inches with Pulses—The New Superfood.

“These [beans] are unique in that they’re one of the only foods with protein, fiber, and complex carbs,” says Sass. The trifecta of fiber, carbs, and proteins is what slows digestion and delays hunger.

Adding beans to the subjects’ diets not only helped them lose weight and feel fuller for longer it also significantly reduced their level of LDL or “bad cholesterol,” that contributes to the build up of plaque deposits that clog and harden arteries. Sass also believes that the fiber in peas, lentils, and chickpeas may prevent your body from absorbing calories from these foods, have other health-boosting and disease-fighting properties.

Despite the health benefits of beans and the countless recipes that can be made from them the average person only eats 6.5 pounds of beans a year, according to Women’s Health. This is in sharp contrast to the average of 33 pounds of cheese consumed by each person per year.

Beans have received a bad reputation because people believe they lead to bloating and gas but studies have found that beans cause far less digestive distress than people expect and the body will quickly get used to an increase in legumes.

“Your body will adjust if you eat them regularly enough,” Sass says.

Beans have a low glycaemic index, meaning they breakdown slowly and are capable of lowering or displacing bad cholesterol and animal protein, and they are gluten free which makes them the perfect food for anyone looking to lose weight. Beans are also one of the cheapest foods on the earth and are easy to buy in bulk dried, in tins, as flours, as pasta, in dips, or for the more adventurous, in white bean smoothies or black bean brownies.

Beans are the perfect tool to lose weight as they are appropriate for almost any diet; vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, low FODMAP, paleo, SAD (and the list goes on) can all add and enjoy beans on a daily basis.

The humble bean is getting so much attention at the moment that the United Nations and the Food and Agriculture Organization declared 2016 as the International Year of Pulses.

[Photo by Toby Adamson/Getty Images]