Study: For Better Health and Weight Control, Eat More Beans and Lentils


It’s no secret that eating fiber-rich foods extends a host of health benefits to individuals, ranging from improved heart health to a lowered diabetes risk. In fact, multiple studies from the Harvard School of Public Health show that high total dietary fiber intake is linked to a 40 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease and that eating low-fiber meals has the potential to more than double type 2 diabetes risk.(1)

Another finding, however, comes from researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital’s Clinical Nutrition and Risk Factor Modification Centre in Canada.

Eating Fiber-Rich Foods Great for Overall Health, Boosts Weight Loss

They discovered that consumption of pulses — beans, lentils, chickpeas and peas in particular — play a role in increasing fullness, a feeling believed to contribute to weight loss and weight management. The experts note that pulses have a low glycemic index which enables foods to break down at a slower pace. At the same time, the researchers point out that such foods are also an ideal choice for those who don’t wish to consume Trans fats or animal protein.(2)

Dr. John Sievenpiper and his team’s findings have been published in the journal, Obesity. The article, titled, “Dietary Pulses, Satiety, and Food Intake: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Acute Feeding Trials,” states that the study’s objective was “To assess the effect of dietary pulses (beans, peas, chickpeas, lentils) on acute satiety and second meal intake…”(3)

It states:

To our knowledge, ours is the first systematic review and metaanalysis to quantify the effect of dietary pulses on satiety or second meal food intake. Our analyses of 9 trials in 126 participants showed a 31% increase in satiety…following dietary pulse compared to control meals, without an effect on second meal food intake in generally healthy, younger participants.(3)

The Need for Healthier Meal Choices: More Fiber, Less McDonald’s

Unfortunately though, in today’s fast-paced world, it’s easier for many people to turn to carb-heavy, heavily-processed junk foods full of refined sugar and additives. Fast-food chains, because they rank high on the quick and convenience scale for many families, is one such example.

Who can forget Morgan Spurlock’s film, “Super Size Me,” based on his waning health experiences as he ate at McDonald’s on a daily basis?

And of course, there’s been the recent finding of a human tooth, a strip of vinyl and plastic bits turning up in various McDonald’s meals, further reinforcing that consuming fast food meals are not the way to go.(4)

That’s why I love healthy options that still take into today’s on-the-go society into consideration. Is it possible to prepare a meal in no time flat that’s also filled with fiber and void of artificial nonsense?

Of course it is!

Healthy, Fiber-Rich Options Worth Considering

After losing 70 pounds several years ago, I’m all about making healthy choices that keep my weight in check. As such, I’m always on a mission to discover to foods and recipes that continue to fuel my zest for all things tasty and good for my body.

I came across Modern Table meals, a company that offers a variety of fiber-filled meals in which the pasta is actually bean-based. So, all that aforementioned health goodness regarding lentils and beans? Their meals are jam-packed with them. Bonus: they’re ready to eat in under 15 minutes, a huge plus for health-conscious people in a hurry.

For example, their “Southwest Red Lentil Rotini” (my personal favorite) boasts 6 grams of fiber per serving, has zero trans-fats and is gluten-free. In fact, all of their bean-based meals have no Trans fats and the majority of them are gluten-free. Even better, Modern Table meals, which also includes the tasty “Mediterranean Green Lentil Rotini” are non-GMO and void of artificial preservatives and colors.

I’m also a fan of the many healthy bean-based recipes found on the site, MindBodyGreen. They’ve got a handful of fiber-rich ideas, ranging from their “Vegan Chickpea Spread” to a “Glorious Vegan White Bean Salad,” both of which I’ve made and enjoyed immensely.

Fiber-rich recipes abound.

Several are also found on SELF magazine’s web site, which I’m eager to try. Right now, I’ve got my eye on the one for “Shirred Eggs With Black-Eyed Peas Salsa and Collard Greens.”

Additional dietary fiber benefits, how much everyone needs daily

According to the Mayo Clinic, dietary fiber like what is found in peas and beans, helps control blood sugar levels, regulate bowel movements and — in line with the recent study — aid in weight loss goals.(5)

They recommend that women under the age of 50 obtain 25 grams of fiber daily, while men in that same age group should consume 38 grams daily. Women over the age of 51 should strive for 21 grams per day and men who fall into that age category should eat 30 grams daily.(5)

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