Beans Are Good for You

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In terms of carbohydrates, an overall reduction of processed, simple carbohydrates in the diet is the best approach for weight loss while maintaining satiety.  Specifically, the carbohydrate reduction in the diet should focus on consuming more protein and less bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, and corn.  Along with that list, a natural reduction of sugars and corn syrup should follow.

Beef, poultry, and fish are all excellent sources of protein, but protein can also be obtained from non-animal sources.  Vegetarians can also reap the benefits with a carbohydrate reduction diet plan by increasing their their diet with protein from a variety of non-meat sources.  Protein is available in dairy products and eggs. Protein is also found in plants, such as fruits and vegetables, but not in as large amounts as beans, nuts, and seeds.  Beans, a part of the legume family, are especially loaded with protein and an excellent source of fiber.

Although beans do have carbohydrates, the benefits of fiber outweigh the amount of carbohydrates.  In our low carbohydrate approach, the key here is that the reduction of carbohydrates comes from simple and processed carbohydrates.  On the other hand, complex carbohydrates (such as beans) that are loaded with fiber, can be included in the diet.  When examining the ‘net carbs’ in some cases, the fiber reduces the total amount of carbohydrate grams.  Fiber isn’t absorbed in the small intestine and so it is not broken down into glucose and absorbed in the blood stream.  Besides being a good source of protein and fiber, beans are also rich in vitamins and minerals.

Find ways to incorporate beans into your meal.  Rather than having just a side of baked beans, mix up the types of legume, by using lentils or peas.  Toss peas into a salad, lentils in soup, or try a mixed veggie combo with beans.  Tonight’s dinner just got healthier!

Patrick Nemechek, D.O.

Patrick Nemechek, D.O.

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