Preventing Prediabetes by Eating More

Preventing Prediabetes by Eating More
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A head-to-head test of adding beans vs. portion control for metabolic syndrome.

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Studies like this show that those who eat the most legumes appear to have only a fraction of the risk for a type of prediabetes known as metabolic syndrome. Those that ate three or more servings of beans a week only had about a quarter of the odds of the disease, compared to those who had one serving or less.

Yes, “[b]ean consumption [is] associated with lower body weight,” a slimmer waist, less “obesity and …blood pressure in [population] studies,” but “[w]hether the association of bean consumption…with healthier body weight and risk factors [for metabolic syndrome] is due to physiological effects of [the beans themselves] or simply an indicator of a healthy lifestyle [was] uncertain.” Anyone smart enough to eat beans may be smart enough to eat all sorts of other healthy food, so maybe bean consumption is just a marker for a healthy diet. So, researchers put it to the test.

Reducing belly fat may be the best way to treat metabolic syndrome and reduce the risk of prediabetes turning into full-blown diabetes. “Energy restriction [has been] the cornerstone of most weight-loss strategies…; however, evidence suggests that the majority of individuals who lose weight [by calorie-cutting] regain it during [the] subsequent months or years…” Starving ourselves almost never works long-term. “Thus, it is important to identify foods that can be easily incorporated into the diet and spontaneously lead to the attainment and maintenance of a healthy body weight and improved metabolic control.”

So, for the first time ever, they did a head-to-head test. Beans vs. caloric restriction. The bean group was asked to eat five cups a week of lentils, chickpeas, split peas, or navy beans. So, the bean group was asked to eat more food, and the cutting-calories group was asked to eat less food. And, the more food group won!

Not only was regular bean consumption as effective as portion control in reducing prediabetes risk factors, like slimming waistlines and better blood sugar control, but the bean diet led to additional benefits beyond just calorie reduction—”perhaps due to some functional properties of pulses,” which are beans and peas. “In conclusion, [five cups a week of beans, chickpeas, split peas and lentils] in an ad libitum diet [meaning they weren’t told to change their diet in any other way] reduced risk factors of [metabolic syndrome] and these effects were equivalent, and in some instances stronger, than [telling people to cut 500 calories from their daily diet].”

“These results are encouraging news for individuals with or at risk for [type 2 diabetes] since they indicate that simple diet changes, such as the inclusion of beans, can have a positive impact on [blood sugar] control.”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to tomcensani, Rob Russell, and 427 via flickr

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Studies like this show that those who eat the most legumes appear to have only a fraction of the risk for a type of prediabetes known as metabolic syndrome. Those that ate three or more servings of beans a week only had about a quarter of the odds of the disease, compared to those who had one serving or less.

Yes, “[b]ean consumption [is] associated with lower body weight,” a slimmer waist, less “obesity and …blood pressure in [population] studies,” but “[w]hether the association of bean consumption…with healthier body weight and risk factors [for metabolic syndrome] is due to physiological effects of [the beans themselves] or simply an indicator of a healthy lifestyle [was] uncertain.” Anyone smart enough to eat beans may be smart enough to eat all sorts of other healthy food, so maybe bean consumption is just a marker for a healthy diet. So, researchers put it to the test.

Reducing belly fat may be the best way to treat metabolic syndrome and reduce the risk of prediabetes turning into full-blown diabetes. “Energy restriction [has been] the cornerstone of most weight-loss strategies…; however, evidence suggests that the majority of individuals who lose weight [by calorie-cutting] regain it during [the] subsequent months or years…” Starving ourselves almost never works long-term. “Thus, it is important to identify foods that can be easily incorporated into the diet and spontaneously lead to the attainment and maintenance of a healthy body weight and improved metabolic control.”

So, for the first time ever, they did a head-to-head test. Beans vs. caloric restriction. The bean group was asked to eat five cups a week of lentils, chickpeas, split peas, or navy beans. So, the bean group was asked to eat more food, and the cutting-calories group was asked to eat less food. And, the more food group won!

Not only was regular bean consumption as effective as portion control in reducing prediabetes risk factors, like slimming waistlines and better blood sugar control, but the bean diet led to additional benefits beyond just calorie reduction—”perhaps due to some functional properties of pulses,” which are beans and peas. “In conclusion, [five cups a week of beans, chickpeas, split peas and lentils] in an ad libitum diet [meaning they weren’t told to change their diet in any other way] reduced risk factors of [metabolic syndrome] and these effects were equivalent, and in some instances stronger, than [telling people to cut 500 calories from their daily diet].”

“These results are encouraging news for individuals with or at risk for [type 2 diabetes] since they indicate that simple diet changes, such as the inclusion of beans, can have a positive impact on [blood sugar] control.”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to tomcensani, Rob Russell, and 427 via flickr

Doctor's Note

What is metabolic syndrome? See Metabolic Syndrome and Plant-Based Diets.

More on plants vs. calorie restriction:

More on magic beans:

What about treating full-blown diabetes with beans? All in my next video, Diabetics Should Take their Pulses.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

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