Clinical studies indicate that eating common bean, Phaseolus vulgaris L., plays a role in body weight regulation but mechanisms have yet to be elucidated. Here, we investigated the anti-obesogenic activity of white kidney bean in a mouse model of dietary-induced obesity. Bean consumption reduced the accumulation of adipose tissue in male and female C57BL6 mice. The anti-obesogenic effect of white kidney bean was not due to alterations in energy intake, energy excreted in the feces, or feed efficiency ratio. While bean consumption increased the mass of the intestine, no marked differences were consistently observed in crypt height, mucin content of goblet cells, proliferation index or zone of proliferation. However, significantly higher concentrations of total bacteria and of Akkermansia muciniphila were detected in cecal content of bean-fed mice, and the ratio of Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes was reduced. Bile acid content was higher in the ileum of bean-fed mice, but transcript levels of farnesoid X receptor were not significantly affected. Whether changes in bile-acid-mediated cell signaling play a role in bean-related differences in fat accumulation and/or overall metabolic health requires further investigation.
Keywords: Akkermansia muciniphila; Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes ratio; Phaseolus vulgaris; adiposity; bile acids; farnesoid X receptor; gut health; obesity; white kidney bean.