Legumes such as beans and peas make people feel fuller after a meal than meat, a small study shows.
The study included 43 men who were served three different protein-rich meals in which patties made of beans and peas or veal and pork were a centerpiece.
Not only were the vegetable patties more filling than the meat, the men ate 12 percent fewer calories at their next meal. That suggests that beans/peas patties may help with weight control, according to the researchers at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.
“The protein-rich meal composed of legumes contained significantly more fiber than the protein-rich meal of pork and veal, which probably contributed to the increased feeling of satiety,” lead researcher Anne Raben said in a university news release.
The findings are “somewhat contrary to the widespread belief that one ought to consume a large amount of protein because it increases satiety more. Now, something suggests that one can eat a fiber-rich meal, with less protein, and achieve the same sensation of fullness,” said Raben, a professor in the Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports.
“While more studies are needed for a definitive proof, it appears as if vegetable-based meals — particularly those based on beans and peas — both can serve as a long term basis for weight loss and as a sustainable eating habit,” she concluded.
The study was published recently in the journal Food & Nutrition.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture outlines protein foods for vegetarians.