New Study: Eating pulses may reduce the risk of heart disease and obesity

Two new, systematic reviews and meta-analyses of more than 3,000 scientific papers demonstrate the health benefits of eating one serving per day or more of beans, peas, chickpeas or lentils. 

The one study, in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, suggests that eating a handful of pulses every day (circa 130g), as part of your diet, can reduce ‘bad’ or LDL cholesterol by five percent thereby lowering the risk of heart disease.

Lead author, Dr John Sievenpiper of the University of Toronto and St Michael’s Hospital’s, said: ‘We hope that the public and clinicians treating patients will recognise dietary pulses as a potentially important way of lowering bad cholesterol and improving cardiovascular risk’.

The other systematic review and meta-analysis, in the leading academic journal Obesity, found that people who ate around 160 grams of pulses every day felt 31% fuller than those who did not. In the long term, this may result in weight loss, as feeling satiated after eating may help you avoid snacking between meals.

Sievenpiper said ‘Most diets fail due to an inability to sustain reductions in food intake. By making dietary pulses – beans, peas, chickpeas and lentils – part of your daily diet, you will benefit from their low glycaemic index which may keep one feeling fuller for longer.’ He continued: ‘Regarding the satiety benefits, these findings support longer-term trials that have shown a weight loss benefit of dietary pulses. People have a lot of room in their diets for increasing their pulse intake.’

Pulses are the edible seeds of plants in the legume family, and include dried beans, chickpeas, peas, lentils, and faba beans. As a high fibre, low fat source of protein that contains important vitamins and minerals, pulses can reduce the risk of some chronic disease and improve human health.  One of the reasons the 68th United Nations General Assembly declared 2016 the International Year of Pulses (IYP) is that pulses are a vital source of plant-based proteins and amino acids for people and animals around the globe. They can help improve human health and well-being, including diabetes prevention and control, reductions in heart disease and cholesterol, and anemia prevention. Pulses are also often used in weight management and weight-loss programs.

‘Pulses have great potential to tackle many chronic health conditions, such as obesity and diabetes,’ said Huseyin Arslan, President of the Global Pulse Confederation (GPC). ‘We congratulate the UN on its focus on pulses and their importance to global food security and nutrition.’

Hakan Bahceci, who is Chairman of GPC’s IYP Committee, said: ‘There is a global epidemic in non-communicable diseases, like heart disease, which are harming individuals and creating a high social and economic cost for countries. This new study is further evidence of the potential of pulses to make a real difference to health and wellbeing.’

The Global Pulse Confederation and its partners recently launched a new website pulses.org that includes hundreds of recipes and tips to cook them. This demonstrates the versatility of pulses and showcases their prominence in many significant national dishes from Japan to Colombia. Pulses.org is the first global website that brings together pulse recipes from around the world. Campaigns on social media, using the @LovePulses handle and #LovePulses hashtag, are encouraging people to share and promote pulses in many different countries.

Notes to editors

1.For more information on Pulse Feast, recipes, nutrition and health information please visit: www.pulses.org or follow #LovePulses on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube.

2.The Global Pulse Confederation (GPC) is the global not for profit trade organization for the

whole global pulses industry value chain. As the sole international confederation for the industry it enjoys membership from 18 national associations (federations) and over 600 private sector members. GPC is headquartered in Dubai. www.iyp2016.org/about-us/global-pulse-confederation-cicils-iptic

3.UN Assembly Resolution on the 2016 International Year of the Pulses: http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/68/231&Lang=E

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