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Do Peas and Beans Help You with Weight Loss?

In 21 studies, people who ate more peas and beans lost a little bit more weight than those whose diets did not contain legumes.
Do Peas and Beans Help You with Weight Loss?
Stack of kidney beans on white background close up.

Beans are said to be good for the heart, but could legumes also help people control their weight?

A new analysis of data from 21 clinical trials suggests that even when the diet is not designed for weight loss, people eating pulses like lentils, peas and beans lost a bit more weight than those on the control non-bean diets. The difference was very small, only about ¾ of a pound, so it is not likely that beans will star in the next fad diet.

Other Benefits of Peas and Beans:

Still, legumes are low in glycemic index and help people control their blood sugar. Diets containing beans are also associated with lower cholesterol levels. In one recent case, a 60-year-old man was able to reverse his symptoms of chest pain (angina) without medications or procedures by adopting a whole-foods diet rich in beans and other legumes (Case Reports in Cardiology, online Feb. 10, 2015).

The researchers who conducted the meta-analysis point out that the studies they evaluated only lasted from four to twelve weeks, and urged that long-term effects of legumes in the diet be studied. Since peas and beans have been part of healthful human diets for centuries if not millennia, the question is not whether they are safe. Rather, it is whether they can actually increase satiety and help promote weight control.

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, online March 30, 2016 

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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