A manuscript of the research, titled “The Effect of Dietary Pulses on Established Therapeutic Lipid Targets of Cardiovascular Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials” was published in the April 7, 2014 edition of the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
The findings of this meta-analysis are consistent with those of another review commissioned last year by Pulse Canada on high quality studies specific to beans and cholesterol lowering. The study, funded by the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP), critically evaluated a total of eight studies that met Health Canada’s criteria for health claims. Of these studies, 83% saw a beneficial effect on total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol levels. The minimum effective dose of beans in these studies was 130 grams per day which is equal to ¾ cup or one serving according to Canada’s Food Guide.
“The power of pulses is remarkable. They are a low fat and low saturated fat source of protein, and contain high amounts of complex carbohydrates like fibre and resistant starch. As an added bonus, they have several vitamins and minerals that are important for body processes like iron, potassium, folate and other B vitamins,” says Dr. Curran.
Research & Health Benets
Cholesterol & Heart Disease
Older adults (age 50+) given two servings of pulses daily for two months lowered total
cholesterol by 8.3% and LDL by 7.9%, compared with those on their regular diet. Choosing more
plant proteins (like pulses) over meat is also shown to lower the risk of heart disease.
Circulation. 2010 Aug 31 (Bernstein AM et al.). British Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2012, (Abeyeskara S et al.)
Metabolic Syndrome & Blood Sugar
Eating 5 cups of pulses per week for 8 weeks was just as eective (sometimes more so) than
cutting 500 calories per day for reducing risk for metabolic syndrome (through improved blood sugar regulation, waist circumference). Eating 1 cup of pulses per day is also associated with lower fasting blood glucose and insulin. British Journal of Nutrition. 2012 Aug (Mollard RC et al.) Diabetologia. 2009 June (Sievenpiper JL et al.)
Women who ate pulses at least twice a week were 24% less likely to develop breast cancer than women who ate pulses less than once per month. Recent research supports the link between pulses (and other foods with resistant starch) and a decreased breast cancer risk.
International Journal of Cancer. 2005 Apr 20, (Adebamowo CA et al.) Asian Pacic Journal of Cancer Prevention. 2015
Healthy Aging & DNA
Healthy diets that contain pulses, including the Mediterranean diet, are associated with longer telomere length, a good indicator of healthy DNA and aging. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Epub: 2015 Apr 15. (Lee JY et al.). British Medical Journal. 2014 Dec 2 (Crous-Bou M et al.)
Satiety and Weight Control
Pulses are linked with increased satiety, lower body weights, and even weight loss due to their protein, ber, nondigestible carbohydrates, and many essential nutrients. Obesity Reviews. 2014 May (Rebello CJ et al.). Advances in Nutrition. 2010 (McCrory MA et al.)
Indirect health care cost reductions and productivity savings:
As an excellent, low-fat source of dietary fiber, protein and starch, pulse crops can play a tremendous role in a healthy diet. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can significantly help to improve quality of life and reduce health care costs. It also leads to greater worker productivity by reducing medical leave.
The Pulse Health Initiative–Increasing Awareness
Following are APA’s recommendations to help raise awareness of pulse crops and their
beneficial attributes in the areas of health and nutrition, sustainability and functionality/end-use:
•Educate members of the food industry through short courses and training programs on
the utilization of pulse crops and pulse ingredients in food products, as well as how pulse
crops can lower costs within the retail and commercial food industry.
•Educate policy makers as to the health, sustainability and economic benefits – both
domestic and international production and markets for pulse crops
Educate end-users (school systems, chefs, consumers, etc.) through training sessions on
the health benefits of pulse crops and pulses in food products and meal choices.
•Develop a website to educate and provide updated information on pulse crops to key
audiences including growers, processors, food and restaurant industries, teachers and
•Conduct outreach to key targets in the media (print, radio and broadcast) and within
scientific/non-scientific organizations that focus on food, nutrition and technology, to promote the utilization of pulse crops as food and ingredients.
Legumes — a class of vegetables that includes beans, peas and lentils — are among the most versatile and nutritious foods available. Legumes are typically low in fat, contain no cholesterol, and are high in folate, potassium, iron and magnesium. They also contain beneficial fats and soluble and insoluble fiber. A good source of protein, legumes can be a healthy substitute for meat, which has more fat and cholesterol.