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Study: beans, chickpeas might help with weight loss

Beans, chickpeas, peas, lentils may help lose weight, says a research report by Canadian scientists.

A new examination of data from 21 clinical trials on these foods - together known as "pulses" reveals that they can help dieters feel full, and lose unwanted weight.

Study lead author Russell de Souza, a researcher at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, 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."

The Canadian team also found that pulses have a "low glycemic index" meaning that they are digested slowly in the digestive tract.

As per de Souza's team, previous research has shown that eating bean, lentils and other pulses makes people feel fuller. He said, "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." These foods also seem to help reduce blood levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol, he added.

Antonella Apicella, an outpatient dietitian at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said that the study "supports the notion that foods such as beans, lentils, chickpeas and dry peas may reduce body fat and may contribute to weight loss, even if calories were not restricted."

The findings featured in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.