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Legumes facilitate weight maintenance and fat loss

Replace the pasta, rice and potatoes in your diet entirely or partially with peas, kidney beans, white beans or other edible beans. As a result, you will lose a little body fat. If you are on a low-calorie diet, losing weight by changing your diet will be a bit quicker. And if you try to maintain a healthy weight, a relatively high intake of beans makes that a bit easier.

Legumes facilitate weight maintenance and fat loss
The weight loss effect of beans has been researched several times. Nutritional scientists from the University of Toronto in Canada decided to track suitable trials, aggregate the results and re-analyze them in a meta-study. In the scientific literature they found 21 trials that they considered good enough for this. A total of 940 individuals had participated in these studies.

The average trial lasted about 6 weeks. In that period, the subjects received 130 grams of beans or peas per day. That's about a portion.

If the subjects followed a low caloric diet, then the incorporation of beans into the diet increased the weight loss by 1.76 kilograms. If the subjects consumed as much energy as they burned, then the incorporation of beans in the diet caused a modest weight loss of 0.34 kilos.

The figures below have been simplified. Click for an integral version.

Legumes facilitate weight maintenance and fat loss

There was a tendency that adding beans to the diet decreased the size of the waist. This suggests that beans mainly reduce the amount of belly fat.

Legumes facilitate weight maintenance and fat loss

"In conclusion, we showed modest weight loss with dietary pulse consumption in both explicitly calorie-restricted settings and in settings with intended weight maintenance", the Canadians wrote. "These findings are generalizable to a middle-aged, overweight and obese population, and suggest that the incorporation of 1 serving of dietary pulses/day may be a useful weight-loss strategy in a normal or calorically reduced diet."

"Although the clinical significance of a 1-kg weight loss is likely marginal, this finding is encouraging because it suggests that dietary pulses do not lead to weight gain when incorporated into diets."

"Dietary pulses are satiating, affordable, and a sustainable source of protein and fiber that can be incorporated into weight-maintenance diets. Furthermore, there are additional health benefits of including dietary pulses in the diet that are related to cardiometabolic risk reduction because they improve markers of glycemic control, reduce LDL-cholesterol concentrations, and lower blood pressure, even without weight loss."

"Future studies are warranted to clarify this effect. Additional long-term trials are also suggested to monitor the sustainability of the observed weight change."

Am J Clin Nutr 2016;103:1213-23.

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