A new trick to lose weight: add one serving of pulses daily, says a new study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Eating 130g of pulses on a daily basis will help one to lose weight — this is what the researchers found when they followed participants who consumed this amount of pulses everyday for a period of 6 weeks.
Pulses are known to be protein- and fiber-rich foods, with high concentrations of iron, zinc, phosphorus, folate, vitamins and minerals, and low levels of fats. They are specially beneficial to those who do not eat meat, fish, and dairy products. The new study, led by Dr. Russell de Souza from the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, Canada, suggests its benefits might extend to combating weight gain and obesity.
The researchers compared the diets including dietary pulses with those that did not include the food, with respect to their weight-loss effects. They did a meta-analysis of 21 clinical trials with a total of 940 participants; the trials lasted for 6 weeks on average.
The results show that those consuming 3/4 cup of pulses (an equivalent of 130g) of pulses per day had an average weight loss amounting to 0.34kg — a change that was not seen in those individuals not eating pulses on a daily basis. This effect is attributed to the dietary pulses because these individuals did not make any other major change in their meals.
Pulses might be enhancing the feeling of fullness, which would lead to less food intake, thereby eventually accounting for the weight loss, says Dr de Souza who mentions that previous studies have shown that the consumption of pulses can increase fullness by 31%. Pulses are able to do so because the body breaks them down slowly and gradually such that the person feels full for a longer time.
Furthermore, this effect might apply even after losing the weight: according to the lead author, the daily intake of pulses will also prevent weight gain after having lost it, which is amazingly good news for anyone who knows how difficult it is to not gain lost weight!
In spite of the fact that the weight loss effect was small, Dr de Souza says that incorporating pulses in one’s diet can assist one in losing weight.