Not only are pulses good for you, these edible plant seeds might also be good for your waistline. Recent research suggests that a daily serving of beans, peas, chickpeas, or lentils may contribute to modest weight loss.
The study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition examined 21 trials that involved 940 adults, who lost an average of 0.75 pounds over six weeks with the addition of a single serving of pulses to their diets. For the purpose of these trials, a "single serving" of pulses amounted to about 3/4 cup. It's worth noting that all of these participants did not make any special effort to reduce any foods while being involved in these experiments.
"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 lead author Russell de Souza, ScD, in a press release.
Experts think pulses may be beneficial for weight management because they are low-glycemic foods, which means that they break down slowly. Because pulses also contain plant-based protein, they can be used to replace or reduce animal protein in meals. In some cases, they might even be used as a replacement for "bad" fats in recipes.
"This new study fits well with our previous work, which found that pulses increased the feeling of fullness by 31 percent, which may indeed result in less food intake," added Dr. de Souza.
Many experts have long suspected that hunger and food cravings may be part of the reason why so many weight-loss attempts fail. So if foods like beans, peas, chickpeas, or lentils can help people feel less hungry while trying to shed pounds — that's awesome news.
Of course, it's worth remembering that just adding one beneficial ingredient to your meals isn't going to grant you a total weight-loss transformation overnight. However, as part of a healthy diet, a small amount of pulses may help make a big difference in the long run.