Why beans? Beans are a nutrient-rich food containing high amounts of fiber and protein and recent research indicates that white kidney beans, (Phaseolus vulgaris) contain a compound that acts as amylase blocker to inhibit the digestion of carbohydrates. The body readily stores carbs as unwanted fat all over the body. Since white beans contain large amounts of dietary fiber they also slow the digestion of high-glycemic carbohydrates found in breads, pasta and sugars to promote weight loss.
Recent reports from the National Institutes of Health show that 25% of Americans over the age of 20 have abnormally high blood glucose levels. This pre-diabetic state affects nearly 60 million adults and the statistics make it clear that excess carbohydrates can cause damage to your metabolic state and hinder weight loss efforts.
Complex Carbohydrates and Enzyme Inhibitors
White beans block the enzyme known as alpha-amylase, which is naturally produced by the pancreas. Amylase breaks down complex starch molecules in the body and reduces them to simple sugars to improve absorption in the small intestine. By blocking this enzyme, the metabolism of starches are slowed and the absorption of sugars are also reduced. Since they operate on multiple pathways, research has shown that white beans may also provide a dramatic reduction in fat accumulation without the loss of muscle mass. Another benefit of these great beans is that they act as an appetite suppressant and can help you feel fuller, longer. Studies have shown that due to the content of a hormone called cholecystokinin (CCK), white beans offer a sensation of satiety after meals and can help reduce the urge to continue eating.
A Natural Weight Loss Aid?
A recent study at the UCLA School of Medicine investigated the effects of a supplement derived from white kidney beans. This eight-week study of 50 obese adults provided participants 1,500 mg of a natural starch-neutralizing supplement made from white bean extract twice a day. Participants also followed a low-fat diet and results showed that those who took the supplement lost an average of 3.8 pounds, when compared to the placebo group who only lost an average of 1.65 pounds. The research suggests that extracts from the white bean allows complex carbohydrates to pass through the gastrointestinal tract undigested resulting in less body fat storage due to starches and sugars.(2)
Want to get more white kidney beans in your diet? Try this delicious Spicy Chili with Fire-Roasted Tomatoes slow cooker recipe, or make a sweet side with this SkinnyMs. Barbecue Beans recipe and just substitute ½ the baked beans with white kidney beans.
- Barrett ML, Udani JK. A proprietary alpha-amylase inhibitor from white bean (Phaseolus vulgaris): A review of clinical studies on weight loss and glycemic control. Nutr J. 2011 Mar 17;10(1):24. http://www.nutritionj.com/content/10/1/24.