“Eat beans and peas for weight loss” says the new trend in weight loss.
Pulses, defined generally as the edible dried “fruits” found in pods of the legume family of plants, are a staple part of the diet in many developing countries. The most well-known ones are beans, peas, chickpeas, and lentils, but the classification also include fava beans, anasazi beans, soy beans, and nuts.
Mainstream weight-loss knowledge has long said that whole grains and pulses are a big part of weight loss. Recently, along with the low-carb and paleo diet trends, the consumption of pulses has been touted as the key to effective weight loss.
The trend gained force when a Reuters reporter picked up a study published this year in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that reviews 21 studies on the effects of pulse consumption on weight loss (1, 2).
Even though integrating pulses into a healthy diet has been promoted for decades due to their high nutrient energy content and low saturated fat content, the relationship between eating pulses regularly and weight loss has been unclear.
What does the study say?
The analysis of the 21 trials found that diets that integrated pulses on a daily basis had significant weight loss over those who didn’t integrate pulse into their diets. This was true even when the diet wasn’t intended to restrict calories. The study concluded that integrating pulses into the diet could be beneficial for modest weight loss in the short term.
What are the limitations of the study?
Don´t think that this is the magic natural weight loss pill just yet. The study has some limitations that you need to take into account if you would like to try integrating more pulses into your diet. The study doesn’t show whether eating pulses regularly is effective for a long-term weight loss and maintenance. Sin the data only includes effects over a six-week period, it is unclear whether these effects would continue over several months or years.
Other things to Consider
There aren’t any completely magic 100%-effective, 100%-safe weight loss pills or foods. This is also true of eating beans, peas, garbanzos (chickpeas), or lentils. It is important to take some things into consideration before integrating more pulses into your diet.
- You need variety. While pulses are packed with nutrients, a healthy diet should never depend on just one food. Pulses may be effective for weight loss, but you also need a variety of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains to stay healthy.
- You can´t eat pulses and also whatever you want: Because pulses aren´t a magic weight-loss pill, you can´t assume that eating pulses while have an unhealthy lifestyle and eating fast food every day will be beneficial for your weight-loss goals. When you commit to losing weight, you have to look for lifestyle changes and commit to them as well.
- If you have gout or are at risk of gout, pulses should be banned from your diet. They contain high quantities of uric acid, which could aggravate your illness (Uric Acid, s.f.)
Lastly, before taking on any changed in diet regimen, especially if you are looking to lose weight, talk to your registered dietician or physician to take a look at your health status and the possible effects of making dietary changes on your health.