Background: Obesity is a risk factor for developing several diseases, and although dietary pulses (nonoil seeds of legumes such as beans, lentils, chickpeas, and dry peas) are well positioned to aid in weight control, the effects of dietary pulses on weight loss are unclear.
Objective: We summarized and quantified the effects of dietary pulse consumption on body weight, waist circumference, and body fat by conducting a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.
Design: We searched the databases MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL, and the Cochrane Library through 11 May 2015 for randomized controlled trials of ≥3 wk of duration that compared the effects of diets containing whole dietary pulses with those of comparator diets without a dietary pulse intervention. Study quality was assessed by means of the Heyland Methodologic Quality Score, and risk of bias was assessed with the Cochrane Risk of Bias tool. Data were pooled with the use of generic inverse-variance random-effects models.
Results: Findings from 21 trials (n = 940 participants) were included in the meta-analysis. The pooled analysis showed an overall significant weight reduction of -0.34 kg (95% CI: -0.63, -0.04 kg; P = 0.03) in diets containing dietary pulses (median intake of 132 g/d or ∼1 serving/d) compared with diets without a dietary pulse intervention over a median duration of 6 wk. Significant weight loss was observed in matched negative-energy-balance (weight loss) diets (P = 0.02) and in neutral-energy-balance (weight-maintaining) diets (P = 0.03), and there was low evidence of between-study heterogeneity. Findings from 6 included trials also suggested that dietary pulse consumption may reduce body fat percentage.
Conclusions: The inclusion of dietary pulses in a diet may be a beneficial weight-loss strategy because it leads to a modest weight-loss effect even when diets are not intended to be calorically restricted. Future studies are needed to determine the effects of dietary pulses on long-term weight-loss sustainability. This protocol was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT01594567.
Keywords: beans; body fat; body weight; dietary pulses; legumes; meta-analysis; waist circumference; weight loss.
© 2016 American Society for Nutrition.