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Anyone who’s tried to get rid of excess body fat knows those extra pounds can be extremely stubborn. Even worse, once you finally lose the weight, it can be an uphill battle to keep it off.
So I think it’s safe to say, in the fight against fat, most of us will take all the help we can get. Fortunately, there are a lot of simple dietary “tricks” that can keep our bodies lean and healthy. One such “trick” involves eating more of a certain tasty and versatile pantry-staple — pulses.
For those who are unfamiliar with this culinary category, pulses are a member of the legume family. Examples include beans, chickpeas, lentils, soybeans and dried peas.
A recent study conducted by St. Michael’s Hospital in Canada and published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that eating about ¾ cup of pulses per day helped participants lose more than a half pound over the course of six weeks. While less than one pound might not sound like much, participants lost the weight without making any other changes to their diet or lifestyle — meaning they didn’t exercise more or cut out sugar or carbs. So, when combined with additional healthy lifestyle changes, pulses have the potential to really pack a weight loss punch.
The idea that regular pulse consumption can put you on the path to moderate weight loss is not entirely surprising. Previous research conducted by St. Michael’s Hospital even supports it.
“This new study fits well with our previous work, which found that pulses increased the feeling of fullness by 31 percent, which may indeed result in less food intake,” said Dr. Russell de Souza, a St. Michael’s Hospital researcher and lead author of the published study.
This ability to keep you full longer, Dr. de Souza adds, makes pulses especially useful for keeping fat off after you lose it — something that 90 percent of those who have lost weight fail at.
“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,” Dr. de Souza said.
But besides weight loss, there are plenty of other health benefits to be had from eating pulses. Another recent study found that one serving of pulses per day can significantly reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.
Pulses are also prime sources of protein, fiber, iron, zinc, folate, and magnesium… not to mention the fact that pulses are an antioxidant powerhouse with proven anti-cancer properties or that their low glycemic index makes them a great choice for those with diabetes. I can’t think of a single reason not to make them a daily ritual.
For more on how to attain your best health ever — without extreme diets, dangerous pills or brutal workouts, check out Dr. Cutler’s new guide, The Part-Time Health Nut. It’s chock-full of sensible health and weight loss tips, including the five superfoods for weight loss everyone should be eating!