If you need one more reason to eat less meat and more beans, look no further. A recent study published in Clinical Nutrition looked at data from the PREDIMED study, research of over 3,000 subjects with elevated risk for heart disease, but without type 2 diabetes. The study found that after 4 years, participants with the highest intake of legumes had a 35% reduction in risk for diabetes.
The study was led by Jordi Salas-Salvadó from Rovira i Virgili University, University Hospital of Sant Joan de Reus, and Institute of Health Carlos III in Spain. The author maintains that substituting legumes, especially lentils, for other high-carbohydrate or high-fiber foods was linked with the reduction in risk, though more research is needed to support these conclusions. Salas-Salvadó and his research team reviewed diet histories of his subjects at the outset of the study and annually for four years. Incidence of type 2 diabetes was evaluated based on dietary intake. Compared to lowest intake of legumes (about 1 ½ servings per week), participants with the highest consumption (approximately 3 1/3 servings), had a 35% lower risk of getting type 2 diabetes.
The researchers compared types of legumes consumed and found that lentils in particular were linked with a 33% reduction in diabetes risk. This was observed with just one serving of lentils per week versus less than ½ serving. Chickpea consumption showed a smaller effect in lowering the risk of diabetes, while other dried beans and peas showed no significant link. Substituting half a serving of legumes daily for half a serving of grains or high-protein foods like eggs or meat may aid in reducing risk for diabetes.
By Lisa Andrews, MEd, RD, LD
Nerea Becerra-Tomás, Andrés Díaz-López, Núria Rosique-Esteban, Emilio Ros, Pilar Buil-Cosiales, Dolores Corella, Ramon Estruch, Montserrat Fitó, Lluís Serra-Majem, Fernando Arós, Rosa Maria Lamuela-Raventós, Miquel Fiol, José Manuel Santos-Lozano, Javier Diez-Espino, Olga Portoles, Jordi Salas-SalvadóCorrespondence information about the author Jordi Salas-SalvadóEmail the author Jordi Salas-Salvadó. “Legume consumption is inversely associated with type 2 diabetes incidence in adults: a prospective assessment from the PREDIMED study”. Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2017. 03.015
PDF Handout: Defeat Diabetes with Legumes Handout
Stephanie Ronco has been editing for Food and Health Communications since 2011. She graduated from Colorado College magna cum laude with distinction in Comparative Literature. She was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 2008.