Archive for March, 2010

Fill up Faster with Beans

Remember the sing-song “beans, beans the magical fruit, the more you eat the more you…well you know the ending, but in some ways beans are a bit magical. They are a super and natural weight loss and weight maintenance tool. 

Unfortunately many weight loss websites and diet sources tell people to eat less carbohydrates and starchy vegetables. Beans are often described as starchy and carbohydrate dense; however, they deserve more respect given their rich source of protein, soluble fiber and forms of resistant starches.

How do these bean qualities weigh in for losing pounds? Protein is a very filling  macronutrient plus it offers protein without any of the saturated fats found in animal-based proteins. Soluble fiber is a type of carbohydrate that does not digestible efficiently or completely. This means that beans take longer to breakdown and to empty from the stomach. Because of this effect, you feel fuller for a longer period of time when you consume beans. This slower digestion process also helps control blood glucose levels.

Beans also include resistant starches which the body does not completely digest as carbohydrates. Instead, these resistant starches ferment in the colon and support the “friendly flora” bacteria which support your immune system and are linked to lower colon cancer risks and reduced cholesterol levels. This fermenting can cause “magical sounds”, but usually the more often you eat beans, the quieter the fermentation. Because resistant starches are not completely digested, your calorie intake for them is a bit lower than the calories from eating refined or low-fiber carbohydrates.

Eating resistant starches may not sound very appetizing, but you can CHILI_piceasily include them in your diet by eating freschef black bean turkey chili. You could also eat more beans by sprinkling them over salads or making bean dips. So whether you are interested in maintaining or losing weight, try including more of these magical fruits in your diet and get the healthful side benefits as well.  



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