Legumes, such as black beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) and chickpeas (Cicer arietinum L.), have a low glycemic index, and may reduce the glycemic load of meals in which they are included. Although the low glycemic response of beans consumed alone has been documented, few studies have examined the glycemic response to traditional food combinations such as black beans and rice or chickpeas and rice. This randomized cross-over study examined the glycemic and insulinemic impact of 50 grams of available carbohydrate from three test meals: plain white rice (control), black beans with rice, and chickpeas with rice among healthy adult women (n = 12, 18-65 years). Treatments were consumed on different mornings, a minimum of 7 days apart. Blood samples were collected at time 0 (fasting), and at 30, 60, 90, and 120 min postprandial, and were subsequently analyzed for glucose and insulin concentrations. Glucose response based on the incremental area under the curve showed a significant difference by treatment (p = 0.027). Changes in blood glucose concentrations were significantly different for the black bean meal and the chickpea meal in comparison to rice alone at 60 min (p = 0.026 and p = 0.024), 90 min (p = 0.001 and p = 0.012) and 120 min post prandial (p = 0.024; black bean meal). Findings indicate that combinations of black beans and chickpeas with white rice improve glycemic response, providing evidence that has promising implications for dietary guidance to reduce postprandial glucose and related health risks through traditional food patterns.
Keywords: beans; blood glucose; glycemic response; insulin; insulin response; legumes; post-prandial; pulses.