The Storecupboard Staple That Aids Weight Loss

They may have a reputation as the ‘musical fruit’, but if you’re looking to shed lbs, it’s time to incorporate beans back into your diet. A recent study has shown that just one serving a day – 3/4 cup – of beans, peas, lentils or chickpeas can aid weight loss.

The study, lead by Dr. Russell de Souza, a researcher with the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institude of St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, Canada, showed pulses to increase satiety and reduce ‘bad cholesterol’ levels by 5%, lowering the risk of heart disease. The results also suggested that unlike other weight loss plans, you don’t have to cut down on other foods to reap the benefits of including pulses in your diet.

Dr. de Souza said that 90% of weight loss efforts fail, resulting in regaining the weight due to hunger and food cravings

“This new study fits well with our previous work, which found that pulses increased the feeling of fullness by 31 per cent, which may indeed result in less food intake,” he 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.”

Upping your intake of fibre is a well-touted way to lose weight, but some fruit and veg can help more than others. We’ve all heard that ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’, but new research has shown that it can also help with weight loss.

In a study of 124,086 US men and women over 24 years, consumption of certain fruits and vegetables corresponded with weight loss or maintenance. Just a handful of berries every day for 4 years was shown to help participants shed over 2lbs – the amount a woman typically gains over that period of time.

These statistics are believed to be a result of the effects of flavonoids – the plant compound found in apples, pears and even tea. Worried about the effects of fructose on your diet? The antioxidant effects of flavonoids can prevent cell damage and even reduce the amount of sugar absorbed from the food. 

Here’s a list of the foods to stock up on:

  • Raspberries
  • Blueberries
  • Blackberries
  • Strawberries
  • Blackcurrants
  • Cherries
  • Grapes
  • Plums
  • Radishes
  • Tea
  • Cocoa
  • Pears
  • Apples
  • Citrus fruits
  • Onions
  • Peppers
  • Aubergines 

However, the scientists behind the study caution against drawing conclusions about this association. It is highly likely that individuals regularly consuming these foods also have other lifestyle habits that prevent them gaining weight. Naveed Sattar, professor of metabolic medicine at the University of
Glasgow, says: In
truth, individuals who eat more high-flavonoid foods have other habits
which lead them to put on less weight – or other effects of
high-flavonoid foods may be responsible, such as fibre content in fruits
and vegetables. Hence, one must be very careful about recommending
high-flavonoid foods as beneficial to health.”

Nevertheless, there are innumerable benefits of increasing your consumption of fruit and veg, so aim for 5 portions every day. And enjoy your morning cuppa – read about the additional health benefits of herbal teas.

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