There are lots of reasons to put beans on your shopping list. Beans are an excellent source of fiber, and any food that’s high in fiber will be filling, says Christine Gerbstadt, MD, RD, author of Doctor’s Detox Diet: The Ultimate Weight Loss Prescription. A ½-cup serving of black beans has 8.6 g of fiber, or 31 percent of your daily value (DV), according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) nutrition database; ½ cup of red kidney beans has 6.9 g of fiber, or 25 percent of your DV, per the USDA; and ½ cup of garbanzo beans has 8 g of fiber, or 29 percent of your DV, notes the USDA.
Plus, fiber helps to fill you up without adding any calories to food (since our bodies can’t digest fiber), explains Kelly Kennedy, RD, staff nutritionist for Everyday Health. Fiber also takes longer to digest and adds bulk to food, she adds. A small study found that a high-fiber, bean-rich diet increased satiation and reduced hunger.
Beans also stimulate the production of the gut hormone cholecystokinin (CCK), which slows gastric emptying and can help to suppress appetite, research has shown. All of these benefits may lead to weight loss. One study showed that a high-fiber, bean-rich diet was as effective as a low-carbohydrate diet for losing weight.
Meal Prep Inspiration A veggie chili or a bean-based stew will fill you up without weighing you down, suggests Kennedy. She also loves the convenience of canned beans, which can be rinsed (to reduce the sodium content) and added to a rice dish or on top of a salad for more protein and fiber.