You might be familiar with the expression 'Bean counterculture', which refers to the counterculture of the 1960s, particularly within the United Kingdom and the United States, where it is often associated with the hippie movement.
In the 1960s, those who favoured vegetarian or vegan diets gained popularity and began looking for ways to lose weight. Many turned to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), which at the time was less scientifically-backed than western medicine. They believed that certain foods held the key to a slimmer figure, and that beans could be one of those foods. So could other legumes such as lentils and split peas. These are all commonly referred to as ‘greens’ in TCM.
While the western world abandoned many of its traditional dietary practices in the years that followed, TCM has continued to grow in popularity. Indeed, nowadays, many leading universities in the UK and the US also teach courses in TCM. It could therefore be argued that TCM is gaining popularity because people are looking for ways to lose weight.
In this article, we will examine the proposition that eating beans and other legumes could help to shed those extra pounds.
The Evidence So Far
The most recent evidence on this topic comes from a large-scale, long-term clinical trial which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2018. The study randomized a total of 22,924 participants between the ages of 50 and 79 to one of three dietary regimes: normal diet, low-fat diet, or high-protein diet. The authors of the study reported that people who followed the high-protein diet were 30% less likely to die from heart disease or stroke compared to people on the normal diet. The low-fat and high-protein diets were both effective in reducing mortality from these causes; however, the former was less effective compared to the latter. The scientists suggested that this could be because those following a low-fat diet have more opportunities to eat healthy food, which could outweigh the possible benefits of the restricted diet.
Why Is The New England Journal Of Medicine Choosing To Publish This Study?
The NEJM stands for the New England Journal of Medicine, so this study was most probably carried out there. The journal itself was first published in 1855 and is considered to be one of the most important medical journals in the world. It is also one of the most prestigious and selective periodicals to be found in leading institutions such as prestigious hospitals and universities. One of the reasons that this study was featured in the journal could be because it provides interesting and important information about diet and health.
Some have argued that the study confirms what many already know 'bods’ love for their meat-based products and that reducing food intake to a vegan or vegetarian diet is not the way forward. The publication of this study therefore offers an opportunity for those who choose to avoid meat and follow a vegan diet to continue their diets and maybe even lose a bit of weight, or at least maintain their existing weight.
While the evidence is not yet conclusive, it is reasonable to assume that eating beans and other legumes could help to shed those extra pounds. This is because both TCM and western medicine agree that certain foods hold the key to a slimmer figure. This is why many who choose to avoid meat find that their weight starts to decline after they cut out animal foods and eat more veggie-based foods. Studies such as this one provide evidence that following a high-protein diet can help to reduce mortality from heart disease and stroke. It seems that a lot of research is now focused on comparing the effects of different types of diets.
The Bottom Line
Overall, this study supports the idea that cutting out animal foods could help to shed those extra pounds. Moreover, it seems that high-protein diets could be more effective than low-fat diets in reducing heart disease and stroke. This is certainly worth considering, especially if you choose a vegan diet because you feel that it is the most beneficial way to go. However, please keep in mind that this is only one study, and that many others are needed before we can make any solid conclusions. Moreover, it is always a good idea to consult with your doctor before you start making any major dietary changes. This is especially important if you are already taking any medications or supplements, as your doctor might not agree with the changes you are making, especially if they are regarding the diet.