RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—An important solution for staying at a healthy weight might be residing in your pantry: beans and other legumes. As described in a recent article in the medical journal Advances in Nutrition, Purdue University scientists looked at available research on legume consumption, satiety (feeling of fullness after eating), and weight management. They concluded that people should increase consumption of beans, peas, chickpeas, and lentils, since all these legumes have a beneficial effect on satiety and on weight loss.
Low-fat, inexpensive beans and legumes come with many essential nutrients, including protein, fiber, resistant starch (another type of fiber), and minerals, which all may aid in satiety, according to lead study author, Megan McCrory, PhD, assistant professor in the Foods and Nutrition department at Purdue. “There are several mechanisms behind this,” says McCrory. “One is that protein and fiber help delay the rate of digestion by slowing the progression of nutrients from the stomach to the small intestine. When the digestion rate is slowed, that slows the entry of digested carbohydrate (glucose) into the blood stream, which in turn delays the return of hunger.”
“Thus, as long as you keep away from snacking when you're not hungry, you’ll likely eat less during the day,” continues McCrory. “Also, fiber and resistant starch are broken down in the large intestine by bacteria that live there. This breakdown process creates by-products called short-chain fatty acids that we can use for energy, which also helps stave off hunger.”
All of which points to legumes as a tasty ally in the fight against weight gain—including that insidious and annoying “creeping” gain that can occur as we age. Ready to fight back? The Rodale Recipe Finder is full of options for cooking beans and legumes. For you non-vegetarians and non-bean-lovers out there, here are some great meat and bean dishes that will fill you up, not out. (Continue Reading)
Aside: Loved this tidbit from Wikipedia: Psychologist Paul Rozin suggests that eating chilis is an example of a "constrained risk" like riding a roller coaster, in which extreme sensations like pain and fear can be enjoyed because individuals know that these sensations are not actually harmful. This method lets people experience extreme feelings without any risk of bodily harm.