Effects of a brown beans evening meal on metabolic risk markers and appetite regulating hormones at a subsequent standardized breakfast: a randomized cross-over study

PLoS One. 2013;8(4):e59985. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0059985. Epub 2013 Apr 5.


Background: Dietary prevention strategies are increasingly recognized as essential to combat the current epidemic of obesity and related metabolic disorders. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the potential prebiotic effects of indigestible carbohydrates in Swedish brown beans (Phaseolus vulgaris var. nanus) in relation to cardiometabolic risk markers and appetite regulating hormones.

Methods: Brown beans, or white wheat bread (WWB, reference product) were provided as evening meals to 16 healthy young adults in a randomised crossover design. Glucose, insulin, appetite regulatory hormones, GLP-1, GLP-2, appetite sensations, and markers of inflammation were measured at a following standardised breakfast, that is at 11 to 14 h post the evening meals. Additionally, colonic fermentation activity was estimated from measurement of plasma short chain fatty acids (SCFA, including also branched chain fatty acids) and breath hydrogen (H2) excretion.

Results: An evening meal of brown beans, in comparison with WWB, lowered blood glucose (-15%, p<0.01)- and insulin (-16%, p<0.05) responses, increased satiety hormones (PYY 51%, p<0.001), suppressed hunger hormones (ghrelin -14%, p<0.05), and hunger sensations (-15%, p = 0.05), increased GLP-2 concentrations (8.4%, p<0.05) and suppressed inflammatory markers (IL-6 -35%, and IL-18 -8.3%, p<0.05) at a subsequent standardised breakfast. Breath H2 (141%, p<0.01), propionate (16%, p<0.05), and isobutyrate (18%, P<0.001) were significantly increased after brown beans compared to after WWB, indicating a higher colonic fermentative activity after brown beans.

Conclusions: An evening meal with brown beans beneficially affected important measures of cardiometabolic risk and appetite regulatory hormones, within a time frame of 11-14 h, in comparison to a WWB evening meal. Concentrations of plasma SCFA and H2 were increased, indicating involvement of colonic fermentation. Indigestible colonic substrates from brown beans may provide a preventive tool in relation to obesity and the metabolic syndrome.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01706042.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Appetite / drug effects
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Breakfast*
  • Breath Tests
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Diet*
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / pharmacology
  • Fasting / blood
  • Fasting / physiology
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / blood
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / chemistry
  • Female
  • Ghrelin / blood*
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen / metabolism
  • Inflammation / blood
  • Insulin / blood
  • Male
  • Phaseolus* / chemistry
  • Postprandial Period / drug effects
  • Postprandial Period / physiology
  • Prebiotics
  • Risk
  • Satiety Response / drug effects
  • Solubility
  • Triticum / chemistry
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers
  • Blood Glucose
  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified
  • Ghrelin
  • Insulin
  • Prebiotics
  • Hydrogen

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01706042

Grant support

This study was supported by the Antidiabetic Food Centre, a VINNOVA VINN Excellence Center at Lund University. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.