Fill up on beans

A study has looked into what makes you fuller, a meal of high protein meat vs high protein vegetables vs low protein vegetables and found the high protein vegetables led to the fullest stomachs.

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The study took 48 healthy men, they ate a standardised meal prior to 8 pm the night before the test and the next morning they were fed one of 3 meals based on oven baked pastries with a filling of:

  • High protein meat which came with a side of potatoes
  • High protein beans which came with a side of split peas
  • or Low protein legumes with a side of potatoes and split peas.

The meals were matched for weight and came with equal quantities of water, with both the high protein meals being matched for energy, protein and fat content.  The participants then evaluated how hungry they were for the next 3 hours and were then allowed to eat a meal of pasta bolognese and told to keep eating until they were comfortably full.

The study was organised so that participants came back to try all 3 different meals, 5 participants dropped out: 2 did so due to gastrointestinal upset and 3 because of a lack of time, leaving 43 people in the study.

High protein legume meal was less palatable but more filling

Interestingly the high protein legume meal was felt to be much less palatable than the low protein legume and high protein meat meals which were felt to be equally as satisfying.

Those who ate the high protein bean meal ended up having a lower appetite and ate less at the next meal compared with the meat (400 kJ less which was 12% less) and lower protein legume meal (440 kJ less which was 13% less).  Despite the high protein meals having a similar energy and protein content the beans led to people feeling fuller.

The study authors question weather the fibre within the meals effected the results.   The high protein legume meal had 25 grams of fibre per 100g, with the lower protein vegetable meal having 10g and the high protein meat meal having just 6 g, this could have led to participants feeling fuller due to the increased fibre content.

They do however highlight strengths of the study, such as having used real foods which can be easily replicated while other studies have compared meals made of unnatural products and supplements.  The use of natural foods is the reason the study authors had issues matching the fibre content of the meals.

The study was part of a project called: ‘optimal well-being, development and health for Danish children through a healthy New Nordic Diet’ and was funded by the Nordea Foundation (which awards donations to those who promote good living in Denmark) and from The Danish Agriculture & Food Council.  Furthermore one of the authors acts as a consultant for a number of companies including the Global Dairy Platform, McCain Food, McDonald’s and Weight Watchers.


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