One of the hottest trends on the internet is equal parts yummy and slimming: decadent dips, creamy pasta dinners and especially mouthwatering desserts — all made by secretly swapping beans or peas for traditional fattening ingredients. “No one can even believe beans are in there,” insists a famous food blogger, who has millions going crazy for her hidden-chickpea cookie dough. Indeed, fans confirm the dough tastes exactly like Grandma’s. But can it really trigger weight loss? Yes! Women on a variety of diets say ‘sneaky beans’ help them shed easy pounds each week. So, if eating delicious desserts while slimming sounds up your alley, keeping reading to discover why chickpea cookie dough is the treat that can make all the difference.
What makes chickpeas so powerful
As everyday foods go, beans like chickpeas are the richest source of resistant starch. The fiber-like carbohydrate “resists” digestion as it travels through the GI tract. Instead, it ferments during digestion, creating potent compounds that turbocharge metabolism. What’s more, resistant starch feeds fat-fighting bacteria in our GI tract, even fueling special strains “that don’t respond to probiotic supplements,” explains Metabolism Reset Diet author Alan Christianson, NMD. (Click through to learn about Dr. Christianson’s adrenal diet.)
Raphael Kellman, MD, author of The Microbiome Diet, adds, “Most of the resistant starch we eat becomes nourishment for good bacteria. And those bacteria boost metabolism, reduce inflammation, regulate how many calories we absorb and more. If you have stubborn weight, resistant starch is key.” So, when we whip up a batch of chickpea cookie dough to enjoy as a treat throughout the week, the whole body benefits.
How chickpea cookie dough boosts weight loss
Resistant starch is truly a boon for weight loss. Indeed, studies show one dose of resistant starch increases fat burn by 25% for 24 hours. It also stabilizes blood sugar for days, a trick that kills cravings and slashes levels of belly-fattening insulin.
And a University of Toronto study that found that folks asked to add options like lentils and black beans at each sitting — while making zero other changes to what they eat — shed just as many pounds as a group put on a beanless low-calorie diet. Indeed, chickpeas, black beans, peas and others load us with compounds so powerful, “studies show just one spoonful a day can make a difference,” reveals Dr. Christianson. “And if you use beans to replace junk food, the impact can be huge.”
What’s more, when well-known scientist Tim Ferriss, bestselling author of The 4-Hour Body, conducted experiments to find the best diet, he hit on a bean-based approach. He says beans at every sitting make it possible for him and his followers to “lose 20 pounds in 30 days without measuring portions, counting calories or even exercising.” Additionally, social media’s boon of new hidden-bean recipes (scroll down for tasty options) mean eating the slimming super-carb will never get boring!
Though, if you’re worried beans will make you gassy, Dr. Christianson has a suggestion: “Eat ⅛ cup of beans per day for two weeks,” he says. “That’s all it takes to develop gut bacteria that digest beans without gas.”
Chickpea cookie dough before and after: Dee Mulranen, 55
After a severe sleep apnea diagnosis, “my doctor told me I could be dead in six months,” recalls Dee Mulranen, who got a CPAP and was urged to lose weight. Shaken, she rejoined Weight Watchers. However, her first tiny portions of pasta left her hungry and in tears. But she soon learned to lean on ‘zero points’ foods, especially beans. “You eat as much as you want, feel really full and the scale goes down!” The New Jersey mom, 55, got creative in the kitchen. Her speciality: twists on chickpea-based cookie dough, including brownie batter and strawberry shortcake varieties. “They’re so easy to make, and that makes them great. Because if something’s hard to do, you’re not gonna do it.” Down 8 sizes, her sleep apnea gone, Dee started her Dish with Dee YouTube channel to encourage other women as they try to get healthy.
Chickpea cookie dough success story: Suzanne Angell, 67
When Suzanne Angell found out she had prediabetes, she panicked. “My mother needed insulin shots, and I didn’t want that,” recalls the New York retiree, 67. Her doctor said weight loss could reverse the condition and suggested Weight Watchers. “I was skeptical because I’d been on every diet, including a supervised 500-calorie diet. I’d even had gastric bypass and regained nearly 100 pounds,” admits Suzanne, who struggled to control portions and carb cravings. “But I had to try.”
Later, Suzanne ended up on a version of Weight Watchers that allows unlimited beans. “I love pink kidney beans on salads, all sorts of beans in soup. I eat beans and greens drizzled with balsamic,” she shares. In due time, she used them to satisfy her urge for big portions and starchy food, and she found new favorites. “I have four amazing chili recipes.” After discovering the Dish with Dee YouTube channel, she started making cookie dough and dessert dips, including a favorite that tastes like carrot cake. “I bring it to parties and everyone loves it. They have no idea it’s good for them!”
With a boost from beans, Suzanne’s waist shrunk and her health transformed. “I lost all the weight I regained and then some.” Overall down 142 pounds and maintaining for 16 months, “I went for my pre-Medicare screening. They said, ‘Your blood work is great and you’re on no meds. You’re as healthy as a 50-year-old.’ It’s never too late to try again. And you might as well have fun and make healthy cookie dough! You’d be surprised how one small step like that makes all the difference.”
How to make chickpea cookie dough + more bean recipes
Experts say any amount of beans you add to your diet helps boost health and weight loss — so simply include recipes like the examples below or check out the internet for a zillion more exciting ideas. As always, get your doctor’s okay to try any new weight-loss strategy. (Click through to learn about chickpea flour, another way to get a dose of resistant starch.)
Chickpea Cookie Dough
There are no eggs in this tasty treat, so it’s safe to chow down without baking!
- 15 oz. can chickpeas, drained and well-rinsed
- ¼ cup nut butter
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3 Tbs. almond flour
- 3 Tbs. maple syrup or zero-cal sweetener to taste
- ¼ tsp. salt
- Pinch baking soda
- ⅓ cup chocolate chips, regular or sugar-free
- Blitz all ingredients except chips in food processor.
- Stir in chips, chill and enjoy with a spoon. Serves 12
Dee’s Pink Party Dip
In blender or food processor, blitz 1 can drained/rinsed chickpeas, 2 tsp. minced garlic, 5 beets (roasted or canned), 1 Tbs. olive oil and ½ cup nonfat Greek yogurt. Add salt and pepper. Enjoy with veggies or pita. Serves 12
Easy Hummus Pasta
Mix 1 lb. cooked bean-based pasta, 1 cup hummus, 1 cup tomato, 2 cups torn spinach, 2 Tbs. jarred pesto, 2 Tbs. lemon juice and warm water/broth as needed for creamy consistency. Season to taste. Serves 6
Black Bean Brownies
Blitz 1 can rinsed black beans, 2 bananas, ½ cup nut butter, ½ cup cocoa, ¼ cup oil and 3 drops liquid stevia or 2 Tbs. maple syrup. Bake in greased 8″ square pan at 350ºF until firm, 30 min. Serves 9
Check out these stories for more on the health benefits of resistant starch:
This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.