New research claims that diets rich in beans can make you slimmer if you add them to your diet.
Eating just a 130g serving - or three-quarters of a cup - of beans, peas, chickpeas or lentils each day can help you stay trim without making any other dietary changes, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Lead researcher Dr Russell de Souza, from St Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, Canada, and his team believe that eating beans helps keep us slim because it makes us feel fuller, stopping us taking in further snacks.
The team analysed the results of 21 clinical trials involving 940 men and women.
They found that adding a single serving of pulses to the diet led participants to lose an average 0.34 kg (0.75 pounds) over six weeks.
De Souza said: "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."
Previous work by scientists at the hospital had shown that meals containing pulses increased the feeling of ‘fullness’ by 31 per cent.
Pulses are also said to be good for the heart, since they are belueved to significantly reduce levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol.
Beans, lentils and similar foods have a low glycaemic index, which means they are digested slowly and do not cause potentially harmful ‘spikes’ of the hormone insulin.
Sharp surges of insulin, caused by high glycaemic sugary foods, are linked to diabetes and weight gain
The study comes as the United Nations and its sister arm the Food and Agriculture Organization have designated 2016 as the International Year of Pulses.