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.


Is a very high fat, low carbohydrate diet good for you?

As the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition publishes an article highlighting the beneficial aspects of a high fat diet, is such an indulgent diet really good for you?sundayexpress

The article in question is:

Visceral adiposity and metabolic syndrome after very high-fat and low fat isocaloric diets: a randomized controlled trial.  It was performed by researchers at the University of Bergen in Norway.

So what did the study authors do? Well they recruited 46 men between the ages of 30-50, who responded to a advert in a local newspaper, they had to have a raised body mass index and waist circumference.  They needed to have no food allergies or regular medications and no severe disease diagnosis.

They were assigned to eat a specific diet for 12 weeks, either a very high fat, low carbohydrate diet, where they would get 73 percent of their energy from fat.  Or a low fat, high carbohydrate diet where 53 % of their energy would come from carbohydrates.

The participants were given a recipe book to help them with choosing meals that reflected their respective diet.  All particpants took a vitamin tablet and companies supplied some additional ingredients such as butter, coconut oil, a sugar substitute and plant based carbohydrate alternative.

Avoid hydrogenated fats, specific plant oils, sugar and highly processed foods

It’s worth noting that both diets emphasised low processed and low glycaemic food.  Both diets emphasised homemade meals.  Both groups were told to avoid hydrogenated vegetable fat, specific plant oils, sugar and highly processed foods.  They were also told to eat 500 grams of vegetables and fruits every day and to eat vegetables with every meal.  The high carbohydrate diet were also told to try and incorporate fruit juice.

2 men withdrew before the experiment started and a further 4 dropped out early on and 2 men were excluded because they hadn’t complied with the diet, leaving 38 in the final numbers, 18 eating the high carbohydrate diet and 20 in the very high fat diet.

Overall both diets led to the participants having smaller waists, less fat on their abdomen and a reduction in weight and overall there were less fats circulating in their bodies.  But we should take these results with a pinch of salt, firstly there really aren’t that many people in the trial, they’re also all men, all fairly young in age (30-50 years) and carrying no significant medical diagnoses.

The study is not really comparing like with like, to do that you would need a group of men eating their standard diet.  What we have here is men who were told to eat one of two diets which both promoted whole foods and emphasised an intake of fruit and vegetables.  Both diets used the same foods, but in varying quantities, so it can be argued that the benefits reflect eating whole foods over processed food.

The study ends with the following words, “Our study cautions against extrapolating short-term (1–2 mo) metabolic responses to longer-term effects of macronutrients on cardiometabolic risk.” i.e. just because we did this for 12 weeks, it doesn’t mean you will see benefits in the long term.