Another Study Finds Benefit In Eating Beans: Decreased Appetite, Decreased Intake, Lower Inflammation


Eat beans.

I haven’t had a bean post in a while. Here’s a new study:

α-Galacto-oligosaccharides Dose-Dependently Reduce Appetite and Decrease Inflammation in Overweight Adults, The Journal of Nutrition, September 2015

I really like when the title says it all. No link bait. Just the facts. The moral of this story? Eat beans.

What are alpha-galacto-oligosaccharides (α-GOSs)? Well, if you take the monosaccharide glucose and you link thousands of them together, you end up with starch, a carbohydrate. GOSs are similar except they use the monosaccharide galactose instead of glucose, and they are much smaller. They are more difficult to digest than glucose-based starches so they end up passing through our small intestine and feeding the bacteria in our colon.

By the way, products like Beano reduce gas because they contain alpha-galactosidase, the corresponding enzyme to alpha-galacto-oligosaccharides (GOSs). Beano breaks down these GOS carbohydrates so we can digest their sugars before they reach our bacteria. That reduces gas, but it also reduces some of the benefit of eating beans in the first place – feeding our bacteria! Taking Beano and eating beans is still better than not eating beans.

Here’s what they did:

Methods: In 2 single-center, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trials, 88 overweight adults [50% men and 50% women; 18–60 y old; body mass index (in kg/m2): 25–28] were supplemented for 14 days with tea that contained α-GOSs with different α-GOS dosages (6, 12, or 18 g α-GOSs/day), formulas (12 g α-GOSs/d with >80% of molecules with a degree of polymerization of 2, 3, or 4), or a control substance (glucose syrup).

After 2 weeks, people drinking the oolong tea spiked with soluble fiber from legumes reported decreased appetite. The more GOSs they consumed:

  • The more full they felt.
  • The fewer calories they consumed in a day. (That is, involuntarily, without trying.)
  • The lower their bodily inflammation. (Markers of inflammation, lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and C-reactive protein (CRP), were both lower.)

One thing the long-lived people who lived in Blue Zones had in common? They ate beans. Often. Here’s Dan Buettner, the author of Blue Zones:

The cornerstone of every longevity diet in the world was the humble bean. One five-country study showed that beans were the only food that predicted a longer life — for each 20-gram serving (about two tablespoons) eaten a day, the chance of dying dropped by 8%. Fava beans in Sardinia, black beans in Costa Rica, lentils in Ikaria, soybeans in Okinawa.

In the McDougall starch diet, which I think is a great diet, beans fall under the category of starch, something to be eaten every day.

8 thoughts on “Another Study Finds Benefit In Eating Beans: Decreased Appetite, Decreased Intake, Lower Inflammation

  1. Bix Post author

    I love reading recipes! I love putting foods together in my head.

    Maybe with the cooler weather coming (one of these days), bean soups will be more appealing. This summer I tried to keep bean things in the fridge already made up that we could grab, like hummus and bean salad (recipe below). It seems the older I get the less time I have to cook. Or maybe I have the same time but I’m slower, who knows. Thus the canned beans:

    Bean Salad (A Constant Work In Progress)

    1 can white beans (I use navy because they’re soft and small), rinsed
    1 can adzuki beans (again, they’re soft and small), rinsed
    A tablespoon or two of minced parsley (and cilantro if you like)
    Couple tablespoons minced onion
    Couple tablespoons sweet bell pepper (I like red and green mixed)
    About a third to a half cup minced fresh tomatoes
    Couple tablespoons jarred salsa
    Juice from half a lemon (or all of it if you like it tart)
    Juice from a whole lime
    Lots of spices (I go overboard here, using about a quarter to a half teaspoon each of just about everything in my spice cabinet!)*

    *Cumin, coriander, thyme, oregano, powdered garlic, powdered onion, minced onion, salt, black pepper, crushed red pepper (cayenne) flakes, chipotle, smoked paprika and regular paprika, something called Cajun seasoning that I’m trying to use up that has fennel in it, and a touch of turmeric for color.

    It takes a while to mix it up but it keeps in the fridge for about 4 days. It’s actually better after it marinates for a day. Great on toast.

    I love to read about how people make a meal from scratch, from simple ingredients, when time is short. That’s where I got my idea for this. Some people put corn in it, frozen corn that defrosts as it marinates. I may try that. I’ve also seen hotter peppers like jalapeño and garlic.


  2. Marj

    Your recipe is similar to one I like to throw together and I DO add corn, but hadn’t thought of salsa! What a great idea and will try it. One of my favorites is garbanzos and have been experimenting with adding roasted red peppers, onion, garlic, but haven’t got it right yet. Chickpeas and peppers are a great combo I think. Agree with you on the spices, fun to try, love cumin, smoked paprika, Greek seasonings. As you say, bean salads improve with time, good to have on hand. And am looking forward to soup season, that’s the best.


    1. Bix Post author

      Sorry for not replying sooner, Marj. I wanted to say … because of your comment here I decided to chop up some roasted red peppers and put them in a bean salad I just made. They are jarred, good to have on hand but they often go bad before I use them up. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this … it took you saying it.

      So, tell me about your salad. It’s garbanzo beans (whole?), roasted red peppers, onion, garlic. And? I’d like to try it.


  3. Marj

    I saw a recipe for a Spanish salad (or maybe part of a tapas bar) with those ingredients. Don’t remember where it was, some internet site though. Anyway, the one I tried used canned garbanzos (I think home cooked would be better), THEN sautéing the beans in a small amount of olive oil until golden. Cool.Then add the chopped roasted red pepper, Chopped parsley and/or mint, spices. It specified sumac and/or za’tar, but I used some Greek seasoning. Then add 2 tb;s lemon juice (or red wine), 1 or 2 cloves garlic, 4 tb;s olive oil (I used less oil), salt and black pepper. That was the recipe online. But I also added chopped onion and when I mentioned it on your site I was trying to think of other things to add. It’s pretty darn good this way though. BTW, I got tired of having jarred roasted red peppers get moldy, so have been adding a somewhat thin layer of olive oil to what’s left in jar, then refrigerate and it keeps them quite well.

    Just noticed your fall scene, I too love the overcast sky and the sense of winter approaching – my favorite time of year.


    1. Bix Post author

      It kind of sounds like the hummus I make except I don’t cook the beans in oil, and I puree them to a pulp! I think I’m going to try doing something in between, like smashed chick peas, roasted red pepper, parsley, lemon, garlic, vinegar, spices. That’s the ticket. And … olive oil on jarred peppers, what a great idea. It’s like a seal.

      I like this fall scene so much I now have it as my desktop background. I’m happy to hear I’m not the only one who likes it overcast.


  4. Marj

    Have been looking again at the fall scene, may have to have it as desktop background too. It brings a sense of nostalgia to me, don’t know why, and can imagine a fine misty rain as part of it too. Really nice. Quite awhile back, I think it was Woody Allen who said he liked cloudy days and that “he was happy when everybody else was miserable.” This is not a verbatim quote, I’m sure, but it was something similar, Made sense to me.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s