Eating More Beans Leads to Healthier Diets and Weight Loss

Jenn Hoskins
22nd March, 2024

Eating More Beans Leads to Healthier Diets and Weight Loss

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • In the U.S., diets including beans lead to higher quality nutrition and more essential nutrients
  • Bean eaters generally have a healthier weight and smaller waistlines
  • Experts suggest eating more beans for a better diet and to help prevent chronic diseases
Understanding the impact of dietary choices on health is a critical component of preventing chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease (CVD). A recent study by Nutrition Research & Regulatory Affairs has shed light on the role of beans in American diets and their potential to improve nutrient intake and diet quality[1]. This investigation aligns with previous studies that have emphasized the importance of diet in managing the risk of CVD and other health outcomes[2][3][4]. Beans, including kidney beans, black beans, chickpeas, and pinto beans, are often lauded for their nutritional benefits, but their specific impact within the context of American dietary patterns has not been well-defined until now. The study utilized data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey spanning from 2001 to 2018 to identify common dietary patterns among adults, particularly focusing on the inclusion or exclusion of beans. Through cluster analysis, researchers identified five distinct dietary patterns, four of which included varying levels of bean consumption, while one pattern completely lacked beans. The study then evaluated diet quality using the USDA's Healthy Eating Index-2015 and assessed nutrient intake levels. Results indicated that adults who incorporated beans into their diets had significantly higher diet quality scores compared to those who did not consume beans. Moreover, bean consumers had a greater intake of several nutrients that are often lacking in typical American diets, such as choline, alpha-linolenic acid, folate, iron, magnesium, and vitamin E. These findings resonate with the need for improved dietary choices, as highlighted by the Carbohydrate Food Quality Scoring System, which advocates for nutrient-dense and fiber-rich foods[3]. Interestingly, the study also found that higher bean consumption was associated with better weight-related outcomes, such as lower body mass index (BMI), reduced body weight, and improved waist circumference. This suggests that beans can play a role in weight management, which is a crucial factor in reducing the risk of CVD and other chronic diseases. The significance of these findings is underscored by earlier research demonstrating that dietary risk factors account for a considerable proportion of CVD mortality and disability-adjusted life years (DALYs)[2]. High sodium intake and low whole grain and legume intake were identified as the top dietary risks. The current study's emphasis on beans, which are a type of legume, supports the conclusion that increasing legume intake should be a priority in dietary interventions aimed at reducing CVD burdens. Furthermore, the association between legume consumption and health outcomes has been previously examined, with evidence suggesting that higher legume intake is linked to reduced mortality from all causes and stroke, although the evidence for CVD-specific mortality remains inconsistent[4]. The present findings contribute to this body of knowledge by highlighting the positive attributes of beans within the broader category of legumes. In conclusion, the study by Nutrition Research & Regulatory Affairs provides compelling evidence that bean-inclusive dietary patterns contribute to higher diet quality and better nutrient intake in American adults. It supports the notion that dietary guidance should promote increased consumption of canned and dry beans as part of a healthy diet. These findings align with previous research advocating for the reduction of dietary risk factors for CVD and the importance of nutrient-dense food choices[2][3][4]. As dietary habits continue to evolve, this research underscores the value of incorporating beans into daily meals as a strategy for improving overall health and preventing chronic diseases.



Main Study

1) Adult dietary patterns with increased bean consumption are associated with greater overall shortfall nutrient intakes, lower added sugar, improved weight-related outcomes and better diet quality.

Published 20th March, 2024

Related Studies

2) Global Burden of Cardiovascular Disease from 1990 to 2019 Attributable to Dietary Factors.

3) Application of a New Carbohydrate Food Quality Scoring System: An Expert Panel Report.

4) Legume Consumption and Risk of All-Cause and Cause-Specific Mortality: A Systematic Review and Dose-Response Meta-Analysis of Prospective Studies.

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