Last week, I was talking with a diabetic friend. During her latest weight-loss effort (and there have been many), she gave up beans. But she was still eating whole-grain bread and pasta. She reasoned that “beans are too high in carbs,” believing they would worsen her diabetes and waistline woes.
When I told her I eat beans (dark red kidney beans or chickpeas) just about every day, her jaw dropped. “But you’ve never been leaner or more fit,” she said. Exactly! Beans are a great low-glycemic carbohydrate that helps keep blood sugar in balance and your appetite in check.
The Benefits of Eating Beans
A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition proved just how much better beans are than popular wheat-based products for keeping blood sugar levels stable.
At each meal, healthy participants were given 50 grams of carbohydrate – either from chickpeas, wheat-based foods, or white bread. Researchers found that plasma glucose levels of those eating chickpeas was substantially lower 30 minutes and one hour after each meal than levels of the participants eating the other carbohydrates.
What makes beans so effective at stabilizing blood sugar? Fiber and protein. This powerful combo helps slow digestion and blunt the spike associated with eating other carbohydrate-rich foods. Plus, you’ll stay full longer and eat less, which is the key to losing weight… and keeping it off.[Ed. Note: Kelley Herring is the founder and CEO of Healing Gourmet (www.healinggourmet.com), and is editor-in-chief of the Healing Gourmet book series.]