A new study by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition says that if you’re trying to lose weight, you should definitely add beans to the menu.
Beans are a nourishing addition to your healthy diet. They come loaded with essential minerals like magnesium and potassium, as well as vitamins like folate. Beans have several properties that make them beneficial for weight loss, so including beans in your diet can help you drop pounds, as well as boost your overall health.
Evidence for Beans and Weight Loss
Researchers analysed 21 previous clinical trials involving 940 adults. The participants had a single serving of pulses – meaning dried seeds of legumes, such as beans, chickpeas, lentils, and peas – added to their diet, and didn’t make efforts to restrict or reduce their other food intake.
They found that the participants who had eaten their daily serving of beans felt 31% fuller, leading them to eat less food overall.
Those who ate 130g of pulses each day ended up losing an average of three-quarters of a pound over six weeks.
There’s some research linking beans to weight loss — as well as improved health as you lose weight. One review, published in Obesity Research in 2014, reports that using legumes in place of meat can help you shed pounds. The review also found that small changes like eating more beans might be very effective for weight loss since they’re easy to stick to over time. Another study, published in the Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research in 2015, found that eating canned navy beans has weight-loss benefits. The researchers studied overweight women and men who ate 5 cups of canned navy beans weekly and found that they reduced their waist size over the course of four weeks. The men and women who ate beans also experienced other benefits, including lower cholesterol levels — as well as lower levels of the harmful cholesterol linked to heart disease. While these studies don’t necessarily mean that beans are your magic bullet for weight loss, they do show that it’s beneficial to include beans in your weight-loss diet.
Beans are packed with beneficial nutrients, including protein and fiber — a one-two punch for weight loss. Simply eating more fiber — 30 grams per day — helps with weight loss, even if you aren’t sticking to a strict diet, according to an Annals of Internal Medicine study published February 2015. And protein also helps you shed pounds. It boosts satiety — so you feel more satisfied after a high-protein meal — and it’s relatively hard to break down, so you burn more calories during digestion.
The specific amount of protein and fiber you’ll get per serving depends on which type of bean you choose. A cup of boiled soybeans, for example, has 31 grams of protein and 10 grams of fiber. A 1-cup serving of boiled black beans has 15 grams each of fiber and protein, while an equivalent serving of canned kidney beans has 13 grams of protein and 11 grams of fiber.
You might get extra benefits by pairing your beans with whole grains, according to a 2014 study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. The study authors found that the nutrients in grains and beans seem to work synergistically, and eating both foods can lower your chronic disease risk more than eating one or the other. Try mixing brown rice and black beans with vegetables or serving bean chili with whole-grain toast to combine beans and grains.
So beans, lentils, and peas help you feel fuller and lose weight – even if you don’t change any other part of your diet.
They’re basically magical and we should all be eating them every day. Glorious news.