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Weight Loss With With Beans!
Beth M. Ley, Ph.D.

Beans! Beans! Beans! For Weight Loss! Most people forget about beans when trying to lose weight, but they truly are an excellent weight loss food! They are high in nutrients like protein, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber and complex carbohydrates! They make a low calorie, low fat, high protein food. One cup of beans contains a little over 200 calories but 10-15 grams of protein. Beans are also a very affordable source of protein.

Are you a bean eater? Research from a 2006 study in Medical News Today has proven that bean eaters actually weigh less than people who don't eat beans on a regular basis. Bean eaters also eat approximately 200 calories a day more than non-bean people. Researchers are still trying to decipher the reason behind the lower weight of bean eaters. Personally, I believe that the fiber found in beans actually prevent fat (and excess calories) from being absorbed by your body. Other studies have also shown that a high fiber diet actually "allows" you to eat more calories without gaining weight! Fiber is a very important aspect of weight loss. Women should consume at least 25 grams of fiber every day. However, the average daily intake is a pitiful 11 grams. This results in constipation, fatigue, and makes it much more difficult to lose weight. Consuming adequate fiber is essential for any weight loss plan for two reasons. Fiber makes you feel full and satisfied for longer. This stabilizes your blood sugar levels and reduces your appetite, both vital factors for losing weight. In addition, beans are high in soluble fiber, which help reduce bad cholesterol levels. Beans also provide a quality heart-healthy protein without the saturated fat of animal protein. High protein diets featuring animal protein can be helpful for weight loss, but because of the lack of fiber, so these dieters end up constipated and with elevated cholesterol. The fat content in animal protein can easily end up being stored by your body, whereas excess vegetable protein is simply carried out by the fiber it also contains and is eliminated by your body as waste. Lean cuts of animal meat and low-fat dairy can certainly be a part of a healthy weight loss plan, but substituting beans for meat at a few meals will be great for your health. Cooking beans is easy, although you can use canned. Look for low sodium brands and rinse the beans well. And for those of you concerned about beans causing any embarrassment I have a couple of suggestions. First, CHEW your beans. Digestion begins in the mouth and the more you chew your beans the less work the rest of the digestive system has to do. Second, increase your intake of beans gradually to give your digestive system a little time to adjust to your new higher fiber intake.

Here's a link to one of my favorite bean recipes:

Roasted Garlic Hummus