Presented at the Experimental Biology conference, April 1-5 in San Francisco, the study found that adults who eat beans weigh 6.6 pounds less - yet eat 199 more daily calories - than adults who don't eat beans. Similar results were found for teenage bean eaters who consume 335 more daily calories but weigh 7.3 pounds less than non-bean-eating teens.
Data for the study came from the National Nutrition and Health Examination Survey (1999-2002). The results also show that:
- Adult bean eaters consume less total and saturated fat than non-bean eaters and have a 22 per cent lower risk of obesity.
- Adult and teen bean eaters have smaller waist sizes - three-quarter inch and one inch, respectively
- The fiber intake of adult and teen bean eaters is more than one-third higher than non-bean eaters
"Beans are an excellent source of fiber and previous studies have shown that high-fiber diets may help reduce body weight, so this makes sense," says Victor Fulgoni, PhD and author of the study. "As well, they are naturally low in fat and cholesterol-free. It's no wonder that beans have been called a 'superfood.'"
The federal government has recognized the many health benefits of beans:
- MyPyramid, the USDA's recommended eating plan for Americans, lists beans in two food groups. Beans are listed in the Vegetable Group because they are a plant-based food that provides vitamins and minerals. Beans also are listed in the Meat and Beans Group because they are a good source of protein.
- The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005 recommends that Americans triple their current intake of beans from one to three cups per week.
In addition, other research has shown that diets including beans may reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers.
The National Nutrition and Health Examination Survey (NHANES) is a continuous survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics with survey data released every two years. NHANES 1999-2000 and 2001-2002 contained data on the food and nutrient intake of 9,965 and 11,039 Americans respectively.
The study was featured in two Experimental Biology poster sessions ("Bean Consumption by Adults is Associated with a More Nutrient Dense Diet and a Reduced Risk of Obesity" and "Bean Consumption is Associated with Better Nutrient Intake and Lower Body Weights and Waist Circumferences in Children") and was sponsored by Bush Brothers & Company.
For delicious bean recipes and serving ideas, visit www.bushbeans.com.