Legumes Are More Filling and Healthy than Meat – A Study Finds


Legumes Are More Filling and Healthy than Meat

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We don’t really need a scientific study to tell us how certain things make us feel. But whoever ate legumes like beans, lentils, chickpeas, peanuts or peas, can attest to this fact here. Anyway, researchers at the University of Copenhagen have performed one such study. And besides the tremendous health benefits, a legume-based diet can provide at the detriment of a meat-based one, shifting your habits this way is also more sustainable for the environment since they require fewer resources to grow.

This is something to consider especially now with Christmas right around the corner. This is the time of year people start eating meat like there’s no tomorrow in all sorts of different-styled dishes. This sort of diet, especially in winter, made sense in the past when refrigeration didn’t exist, and a constant food source for the winter months came in the form of animal-based products. But for most of us, this is no longer the case. And what’s more, those people of old, had a lot more physical labour to perform than we have today.

To be fair, though, animal protein is more easily assimilated by our bodies than plant based ones. But this can be compensated by eating a wider variety of vegetables, nuts, fruits and legumes. Lowering one’s consumption of meat, especially red meat, will lead to a lowered risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity, problems a lot of people are suffering from, especially in the already developed parts of te world. And even though some may argue, even a strict vegetarian diet when properly balanced, will undoubtedly provide the body with everything it needs. What’s more, the whole meat industry is far more energy, water and land intensive than plants.

So, what’s the deal with legumes?

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According to this study, it turns out that protein-rich legumes are more filling than protein-rich meats like pork or veal. A total of 43 participants of healthy, normal weight to moderately overweight males between the ages of 18 to 40 were used. They were all served three different meals heavy on patties consisting of either beans/peas or veal/pork. However, the participants who were given beans and peas ended up consuming 12% fewer calories at their next meal than those who were given the meat alternatives.

“The protein-rich meal composed of legumes contained significantly more fibre than the protein-rich meal of pork and veal, which probably contributed to the increased feeling of satiety,” said head researcher Professor Anne Raben of the University of Copenhagen’s Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports.

What’s more, all participants reported an equal sense of satiety and pleasure from both styles of food.

“It is somewhat contrary to the widespread belief that one ought to consume a large amount of protein because it increases satiety more,” she added.

“Now, something suggests that one can eat a fiber-rich meal, with less protein, and achieve the same sensation of fullness. While more studies are needed for a definitive proof, it appears as if vegetable-based meals — particularly those based on beans and peas — both can serve as a long-term basis for weight loss and as a sustainable eating habit.”

The full paper “Meals based on vegetable protein sources (beans and peas) are more satiating than meals based on animal protein sources (veal and pork) – a randomised cross-over meal test study” has been published in the journal Food and Nutrition Research.