The study from Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital was actually a meta-analysis covering 21 clinical trials with a combined 940 participants. Data from those studies suggests that the above foods, known collectively as pulses, helped patients lose an average of 0.75 pounds over six weeks, simply by adding one serving of those foods to their diets. This serving constitutes about three-fourths of pulses, and including the foods into one’s diet does not require them to reduce their consumption of other food types.
Aside from helping facilitate weight loss, pulses could also prevent patients from gaining the weight back. This is due to the food’s high protein content and low glycemic index, as well as their ability to help people reduce their consumption of unhealthy foods. By eating these foods, people are somehow less inclined to consume foods with high animal protein or trans-fat content.
“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 of St. Michael’s Hospital.
De Souza added that beans, lentils, and other types of pulses are also capable of providing a feeling of fullness. His team’s research shows that it could make people feel 31 percent more full, aside from reducing bad cholesterol levels by 5 percent. As 90 percent of weight loss interventions do not work out as planned due to hunger and cravings for unhealthy food, de Souza believes that that all-important feeling of fullness could be a key factor in controlling weight.
“Despite their known health benefits, only 13 percent of Canadians eat pulses on any given day and most do not eat the full serving,” he added. “So there is room for most of us to incorporate dietary pulses in our diet and realize potential weight management benefits.”