Pulses — which include peas, beans, lentils and chickpeas — help people lose weight without dieting, multiple studies find.
Adding a single daily serving of foods like these helps people lose weight without making changes to lifestyle or restricting diet.
A serving is three-quarters of a cup.
People in the studies lost weight without counting calories, keeping food diaries or exercising more.
However, adding these standard approaches can improve weight loss further.
Eating pulses is effective for weight loss because it improves feelings of fullness by 31 percent.
This is because the body takes longer to break pulses down (they have a low glycaemic index).
Other pulses include:
- Broad beans,
- runner beans,
- kidney beans,
- black-eyed peas,
- and butter beans.
Dr Russell de Souza, who led the Canadian study, said:
“Despite their known health benefits, only 13 per cent of Canadians eat pulses on any given day and most do not eat the full serving.
So there is room for most of us to incorporate dietary pulses in our diet and realize potential weight management benefits.”
The conclusions come from an analysis of 21 separate clinical trials.
The studies tested the effects of both adding pulses alone as well as restricting calories plus adding pulses.
Naturally, people lost more weight when they restricted their diet and ate more pulses, but pulses on their own were also effective.
On average, people lost around 0.5 pound in six weeks without dieting.
Dr de Souza 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.”
Pulses also help lower levels of bad cholesterol and the risk of cardiovascular disease.
The study was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Kim et al., 2016).