First, What Are They?
Legumes and pulses are, so to speak, peas in the same pod. What that means is that the term pulse is mostly used to refer to the dried form of crops that are harvested for their seeds, while legumes can include these foods plus their fresh-consumed cousins. Confused? Don’t be, here’s a list of what you need to look for to take advantage:
What Does Science Say?
Before you embrace any new dietary regime, do some homework first to see how much research has been conducted to prove that it works. So what does science have to say about eating beans and their cousins to lose weight? Well, in March of 2016 The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a paper, written by Dr. Russell de Souza, a researcher at St. Michael's Hospital. It explores the theory that a single serving of beans, peas, chickpeas or lentils could offer modest weight loss results. The study was a “meta-analysis” (meaning it examines other studies) which looked at 21 clinical trials involving 940 adults. On average, consuming ¾ cups of pulses per day led to a ½ pound weight loss over the six-week trial. Now, while a half pound may not sound significant, it does provide us some terrific information on the relationship between healthy eating and healthy weight loss.
Why Pulses and Legumes Work
There are a few reasons why researchers think that these types of foods help people to lose weight. First, pulses and legumes like lentils and chickpeas are high in dietary fiber, which helps you to feel fuller while slowing down digestion for more even energy throughout the day. This effect means that you don’t hit a “low” in the afternoon and feel the need to reach for an unhealthy snack to boost your energy levels. Second, the fiber content and nutritional makeup of these foods are great for lowering bad cholesterol and make for a great alternative to other foods that are high in cholesterol, such as certain meats, without feeling like you are giving up the hearty portion of your meal.
Making Beans Work for Weight Loss
Ideally, if you are serious about healthy weight loss over the long term, you’ll be looking for ways to make permanent, healthy changes to your diet that you can sustain, rather than embrace “crash” diet methodologies that can lead to quick upfront results but nearly always fail. If you’re ready to give beans a try (as well as a healthy plant-based diet) try our 22-Day Vegan Meal Planner. You’ll enjoy freshly prepared, organic meals that include not only beans, but also healthy grains and vibrant vegetables. You’ll kick start your quest for a happy, healthy body!