Eating one serving a day of pulses such as beans, peas, chickpeas or lentils could help people lose weight, a new study has found. Consuming about 130 grammes each day of pulses can lead to a weight loss of 0.34 kilogrammes, researchers said.
Despite their known health benefits, not many people eat pulses on any given day and most do not eat the full serving, they said.
“So there is room for most of us to incorporate dietary pulses in our diet and realise potential weight management benefits,” said Russell de Souza from St Michael’s Hospital in Canada.
The meta-analysis looked at 21 clinical trials involving 940 adult men and women, who lost an average of 0.34 kilogrammes over six weeks with the addition of a single serving of pulses to the diet – and without making a particular effort to reduce other foods.
Pulses have a low glycemic index (meaning that they are foods that break down slowly) and can be used to reduce or displace animal protein as well as “bad” fats such as trans-fat in a dish or meal, researchers said.
Around 90 per cent of weight loss interventions fail, resulting in weight regain, which may be due in part to hunger and food cravings, de Souza said.
“This new study fits well with our previous work, which found that pulses increased the feeling of fullness by 31 per cent, which may indeed result in less food intake,” he said.
A recent study had found that eating on average one serving a day of beans, peas, chickpeas or lentils can also reduce “bad cholesterol” by five per cent and therefore lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, researchers said.
Knowing which foods make people feel fuller longer may help them lose weight and keep it off, they said.
“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 de Souza. The findings were published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.