Defeat Diabetes with Legumes

 
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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

Reference:

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

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