The effect of increasing consumption of pulses and wholegrains in obese people: a randomized controlled trial

J Am Coll Nutr. 2010 Aug;29(4):365-72. doi: 10.1080/07315724.2010.10719853.


Background: Wholegrain intake is inversely related to weight gain over time, but little information is available on the role of pulses in weight control.

Objective: To compare weight loss, metabolic outcomes, and nutrient intakes in obese people assigned to a diet rich in pulses and wholegrains or a control diet.

Methods: Randomized controlled study of 18 months with 113 volunteers (body mass index [BMI] ≥ 28 kg/m(2)). Diets were based on guidelines published by the National Heart Foundation of New Zealand. The intervention group was advised to consume 2 serves of pulses and 4 serves of wholegrain foods per day as substitutions for more refined carbohydrates.

Results: Fiber intakes were higher, intakes of several vitamins and minerals were better maintained, and dietary glycemic index was lower in the intervention compared with the control group. Mean (standard error [SE]) weight loss at 6 months was 6.0 (0.7) kg and 6.3 (0.6) kg in the control and intervention groups, respectively, and was not different between groups (p > 0.05). Blood pressure, triglycerides, and glycemic load were lowered in both groups compared with baseline. Waist circumference was decreased at 18 months in the intervention compared with the control group (-2.8 cm; 95% confidence interval [CI]: -0.4, -5.1).

Conclusions: Incorporation of pulses and wholegrain foods into a weight loss program resulted in a greater reduction in waist circumference compared with the group consuming a control diet, although no difference in weight loss was noted between groups. Retention of several nutrients was better with the pulse and wholegrain diet.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Pressure
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / pharmacology*
  • Dietary Fiber / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Fiber / pharmacology*
  • Edible Grain / chemistry*
  • Fabaceae / chemistry*
  • Female
  • Glycemic Index
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Micronutrients / administration & dosage
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / blood
  • Obesity / diet therapy*
  • Plant Preparations / pharmacology
  • Seeds / chemistry
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • Waist Circumference
  • Weight Loss* / drug effects


  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Micronutrients
  • Plant Preparations
  • Triglycerides