A serving of foods like beans, lentils, and chickpeas a day can be integral to weight loss, according to a new Canadian study published this week in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Examining 940 subjects over 21 different trials, the data showed consuming a single serving of pulses – about 3/4 cup (130 grams) – made for an average of 0.34 kg (0.75 pounds) in lost weight after a month and a half.
And this is without changing or altering the participants’ diets in any way.
The weight loss properties of pulses are thanks to their high protein content and low glycemic index. Beans, lentils, and chickpeas are also excellent replacements for animal proteins and “bad” fats such as trans-fat, another way it curbs weight.
“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,” said Dr. Russell de Souza, the study’s lead author.
The hospital that conducted the study did previous work on pulses, and found similar results. A daily serving of pulses increased fullness by about 30% (so less room for trans-fats and other unhealthy stuff), and decreased levels of “bad cholesterol” by 5 per cent.
“Despite their known health benefits, only 13 percent of Canadians eat pulses on any given day and most do not eat the full serving. So there is room for most of us to incorporate dietary pulses in our diet and realize potential weight management benefits,” de Souza continued.
Pulses should gain some traction not only with this new research, but also the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations backing it. They’ve declared 2016 the ‘International Year of Pulses’.
This is also the second moral victory for pulses in as many weeks: studies found a high-protein diet – which pulses fit perfectly into – could help overweight and obese adults sleep better.