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Nutrition » Diets » Bean Diet: Can This Oft-Overlooked Source Of Protein Shift Your Weight Loss Into High Gear?

Bean Diet: Can This Oft-Overlooked Source Of Protein Shift Your Weight Loss Into High Gear?

bean diet

What is the bean diet?

What is the bean diet, and how does it affect your weight loss? Find out how incorporating more legumes into your everyday meals can impact your weight loss goal and overall health.

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The bean diet is not a diet per se but rather a suggested way of eating. Unlike traditional diets like Paleo, Mediterranean, Veganism, or Vegetarianism, this plan of eating does not restrict your foods to what you can or cannot eat. Instead, the bean diet requires you to have some beans in one or two of your meals every day.

What are some benefits of the bean diet?

Including legumes in your diet is not only cost-effective, but it is also quite beneficial to your health in multiple ways. They include (16):

1. Increased muscle mass. Most people who frequently work out at home or from the gym could  notice that their gains are coming in faster when they start eating more beans. Legumes provide you with high amounts of protein, which, when consumed, help with muscle repair and growth (2).

2. Reduce calorie intake. Legumes are classified as complex carbs. Unlike simple carbs that digest faster, complex carbs take longer to pass through your system; thus they prevent snacking, which leads to increased calorie intake.

3. Folate. This is especially important for pregnant women, since folate plays a crucial role in the development of a healthy fetus.

4. Full of antioxidants. They fight against free radicals that can cause cell damage resulting in various diseases.

5. Reduce the risk of heart disease. They are high in fiber and may help lower cholesterol levels.

6. May reduce the risk of cancer.

7. May help stabilize glucose levels in the body and improve gut health.

7 day bean diet
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What to eat on the bean diet

While the only guideline for this eating plan is to make sure that you consume beans every day in your diet, it is also good to ensure that you are eating the right healthy foods. Examples of these include (6):

  1. More fruit.
  2. More vegetables, especially dark leafy greens such as kale, lettuce, cabbage, spinach, and more.
  3. Whole grains such as whole-wheat flour, bulgur, oatmeal, quinoa, whole cornmeal, and brown rice.
  4. Lean cuts of meat, eggs, chicken and turkey breast.
  5. Fatty/oily fish like trout, salmon, sardines, eels, mackerel, herring, and tuna.

7 day bean diet for weight loss

Please note that this is not a crash diet. The below recipes are just a guideline to help you incorporate more legumes into your everyday life. This eating plan is suitable for anyone on a 1200 calorie deficit. Be sure to adjust the amount of food, servings of healthy snacks to meet your calorie goal for the day.

Day One

avocado toast
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Breakfast Avocado toast

1 slice whole-grain bread, 1/2 avocado, salt and pepper to taste, sprinkle of chili flakes (optional)

Calories: 212. Fats: 12 g. Protein: 5 g. Carbs: 23 g

Snack – Medium hard-boiled egg

Calories: 68. Fats: 4.7 g. Protein: 5.5 g. Carbs: 0.5 g

Lunch – Brown rice and beans

1.2 cups brown rice, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 small onion, 1 medium bell pepper, 3 garlic cloves, 450 g vegetable broth, 425 g canned tomatoes, 1 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp chili powder, 2 cups kidney beans

This recipe makes 3 servings. 1 serving = 1.5 cups

Calories: 495. Fats: 6 g. Protein: 17 g. Carbs: 95 g

Snack – Yogurt bowl

1 cup Greek yogurt, 1 cup strawberries, 1 square dark chocolate

Calories: 141. Fats: 3 g. Protein: 9 g. Carbs: 20 g

Dinner – Spicy chilli and broccoli

For the chilli – 1/2 tbsp olive oil, 1/2 onion, 2 garlic cloves, 1 tbsp tomato puree, 1/2 tbsp chilli powder, 200 g canned tomatoes, 250 ml low sodium vegetable stock, 200 g canned beans, 1 bell pepper, 1 lime

This makes 2 servings

Blanched broccoli – 1 cup broccoli, 2 garlic cloves, 1/2 tsp olive oil,

Calories: 223. Fats: 8 g. Protein: 11 g. Carbs: 25 g

Snack – Zero % yogurt

Calories: 81. Fats: 0.5 g. Protein: 14 g. Carbs: 5.7 g

Total Intake for the Day: Calories: 1217. Fats: 34.2 g. Protein: 61.5 g. Carbs: 169.2 g

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pancakes
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Day Two

Breakfast – Protein pancakes

2 eggs, 2 scoops whey protein powder, 1 tsp baking powder, 85 g almond milk

This recipe makes 8 pancakes. 1 serving = 4 pancakes

Calories: 305. Fats: 12 g. Protein: 32 g. Carbs: 16 g

Snack – Cheese and berries

1/2 cup cottage cheese and 100 g blueberries

Calories: 137. Fats: 2 g. Protein: 13 g. Carbs: 20 g

Lunch – 3 bean salad

425 g canned black beans, 425 g canned kidney beans, 425 g cannellini beans, 2 bell peppers (red and green), 1 red onion, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup wine vinegar, 2 tbsp lime juice, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 2 tbsp white sugar, 1 garlic clove, a handful of cilantro, 1/2 tbsp ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, salt, and pepper to taste

Calories: 334. Fats: 14.8 g. Protein: 11.2 g. Carbs: 41.7 g

Dinner – Shrimp stir fry and cauliflower rice

1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 garlic clove, 3/4 tbsp brown sugar, 1/4 tsp sesame oil, 113 g deveined shrimp, 1/4 bell pepper, 31 g shredded carrots, 45 g low sodium chicken broth, 1/4 tsp cornstarch, 1/2 cup broccoli florets, 1/4 cup sugar snap peas, 200 g cauliflower rice

Calories: 294. Fats: 6.9 g. Protein: 30.7 g. Carbs: 23.7 g

Snack – Hummus and cucumber

3 tbsp hummus and 1 large cucumber

Calories: 139. Fats: 8 g. Protein: 5 g. Carbs: 12 g

Total Intake for the Day: Calories: 1209. Fats: 43.7 g. Protein: 91.9 g. Carbs: 113.4 g

smoothie
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Day Three

Breakfast – Green Smoothie

1 cup baby spinach,2 tbsp mint leaves, 1 chopped celery stalk, 1/2 cup brewed green tea, 1/2 large grapefruit, 1 cup frozen pineapple chunks, 1/4 large avocado

Calories: 218. Fats: 8.4 g. Protein: 4.5 g. Carbs: 37.5 g

Snack – Greek yogurt parfait

1 cup Greek yogurt, 1 serving of almonds, 150 g mixed berries

Calories: 290. Fats: 15 g. Protein: 15 g. Carbs: 20 g

Lunch – Egg and bean salad

2 hard-boiled eggs, 100 g beans, 1/2 cup lettuce, 1/2 small carrot, 1/4 yellow bell pepper, 1/2 small cucumber, 60 g green beans, 4 cherry tomatoes, 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar, 1/2 tbsp olive oil

Calories: 317. Fats: 20 g. Protein: 27 g. Carbs: 25 g

Snack – Protein bar

Calories: 188. Fats: 6.6 g. Protein: 20 g. Carbs: 10 g

Dinner – Steamed bass and cabbage

2 sea bass, 1 red chilli, 1 tsp ginger, 300 g finely shredded green cabbage, 2 tsp sunflower oil, 1 tsp sesame oil, 2 thinly sliced garlic cloves, 2 tsp low sodium soy sauce

Calories: 188. Fats: 8 g. Protein: 23 g. Carbs: 8 g

Total Intake for the Day: Calories: 1201. Fats: 8 g. Protein: 89.5 g. Carbs: 100.5 g

7 day bean diet
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Day Four

Breakfast – Oat pancakes

1/2 cup rolled oats, 1/2 cup almond milk, 1 large egg, 1 tsp sugar, 1 tbsp baking powder, 158 g all-purpose flour.

This recipe makes two servings. 1 serving = 3 pancakes each.

Calories: 274. Fats: 5.5 g. Protein: 10 g. Carbs: 46 g

Lunch – Zucchini and pea pasta (9)

1 garlic clove, 1 large zucchini, 1 tsp olive oil, 125 g strips of lasagne sheets, 80 g frozen peas, 7.5 g mint leaves, 25 g Parmesan cheese

The above ingredients make 2 servings.

Calories: 262. Fats: 11 g. Protein: 13.7 g. Carbs: 27.3 g

Snack – Chocolate Peanut butter cups (1)

1/2 cup peanut butter, 1 cup melted chocolate, 3 tbsp coconut oil, 1/4 maple syrup.

These measurements make about 12 cups. 1 serving = 1 cup

Calories: 208. Fats: 15 g. Protein: 4 g. Carbs: 20 g

Dinner – Pinto bean Buddha bowl

3/4 cup rinsed canned pinto beans, 2/3 cup cooked quinoa, 1/4 cup hummus, 1 tbsp lime juice, 1/4 medium avocado, 3 tbsp salsa, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Calories: 523. Fats: 19 g. Protein: 20 g. Carbs: 69 g

Total Intake for the Day: Calories: 1267. Fats: 50.5 g. Protein: 47.7 g. Carbs: 162.3 g

7 day bean diet
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Day Five

Breakfast – Beans on toast

5 tbsp olive oil, 1 small onion, 2 cups cherry tomatoes, 3 garlic cloves, 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar, 1 tbsp honey, 130 g white beans, 2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese, 1 tbsp chopped thyme, 4 slices protein bread

This recipe makes 4 servings.

Calories: 325. Fats: 19.3 g. Protein: 11 g. Carbs: 28.8 g

Lunch – Stuffed peppers (8)

2 large red bell peppers, 2 tbsp olive oil, 226 g ground chicken, 2 tbsp Italian seasoning, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, 198 g diced tomatoes, 1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice, 1 cup shredded Mozzarella, 1/2 cup Parmesan, 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil.

This recipe makes 2 servings.

Calories: 437. Fats: 22 g. Protein: 34 g. Carbs: 27 g

Dinner – Moroccan chicken (4)

2 small chicken breasts, 1/2 tbsp olive oil, 2 cups bite sized cauliflower pieces, 1 large carrot, 1/2 cup onion, 1 1/2 tsp minced ginger, 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp paprika, 1/8 tsp ground allspice, 3/4 cup orange juice, 1/2 cup crushed tomatoes, 2 dates, 1/2 minced cilantro, 2 tbsp roasted pistachios, 1/2 a small cucumber.

This makes 2 servings.

Calories: 427. Fats: 12.1 g. Protein: 44 g. Carbs: 39.6 g

Total Intake for the Day: Calories: 1189. Fats: 53.4 g. Protein: 89 g. Carbs: 95.4 g

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7 day bean diet
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Day Six

Breakfast – Oat pancakes

1/2 cup rolled oats, 1/2 cup almond milk, 1 large egg, 1 tsp sugar, 1 tbsp baking powder, 158 g all purpose flour.

This recipe makes two servings. 1 serving = 3 pancakes each.

Calories: 274. Fats: 5.5 g. Protein: 10 g. Carbs: 46 g

Lunch – Steamed bass, cabbage and cauliflower rice

2 sea bass, 1 red chilli, 1 tsp ginger, 300 g finely shredded green cabbage, 2 tsp sunflower oil, 1 tsp sesame oil, 2 thinly sliced garlic cloves, 2 tsp low sodium soy sauce, 200 g cauliflower rice

Calories: 290. Fats: 11.9 g. Protein: 27.7 g. Carbs: 16.7 g

Snack – Smoothie

1 cup Greek yogurt, 1/4 cup strawberries, 1/4 cup raspberries, 1/4 cup blueberries, 1 medium banana, 2 tbsp oats,

Calories: 222. Fats: 1 g. Protein: 11 g. Carbs: 46 g

Dinner – Pan Fried sesame beef (14) and brown rice

453 g beef, 2 tsp freshly grated ginger, 2 minced garlic cloves, 2 tbsp fish sauce, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, 1/2 cup sesame seeds, salt and pepper to taste. 100 g cooked brown rice

Calories: 410. Fats: 16.9 g. Protein: 36.6 g. Carbs: 27 g

Total Intake for the Day: Calories: 1196. Fats: 35.3 g. Protein: 85.3 g. Carbs: 135.7 g

bean diet for weight loss
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Day Seven

Breakfast – Beans on toast

5 tbsp olive oil, 1 small onion, 2 cups cherry tomatoes, 3 garlic cloves, 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar, 1 tbsp honey, 130 g white beans, 2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese, 1 tbsp chopped thyme, 4 slices protein bread

This recipe makes 4 servings.

Calories: 325. Fats: 19.3 g. Protein: 11 g. Carbs: 28.8 g

Lunch – 3 bean salad

425 g canned black beans, 425 g canned kidney beans, 425 g cannellini beans, 2 bell peppers (red and green), 1 red onion, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup wine vinegar, 2 tbsp lime juice, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 2 tbsp white sugar, 1 garlic clove, handful of cilantro, 1/2 tbsp ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, salt and pepper to taste

Calories: 334. Fats: 14.8 g. Protein: 11.2 g. Carbs: 41.7 g

Dinner – Thai Chicken Buddha bowl (12)

1 cup farro, 1/4 cup chicken stock, 1 1/2 tbsp ground fresh chile paste, 1 tbsp brown sugar, 1 tbsp lime juice, 453 g chicken breast, 1 tbsp cornstarch, 1 tbsp fish sauce, 1 tbsp olive oil, 2 minced garlic cloves, 1 shallot, 1 tbsp grated ginger,

2 cups shredded kale, 1 1/2 cups shredded purple cabbage, 1 cup bean sprouts, 2 grated carrots, 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, 1/4 cup roasted peanuts

For the sauce – 3 tbsp creamy peanut butter, 2 tbsp lime juice, 1 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce, 2 tbsp dark brown sugar, 2 tbsp ground fresh chile paste

This makes 4 servings

Calories: 503. Fats: 18 g. Protein: 28 g. Carbs: 61 g

Total Intake for the Day: Calories: 1162. Fats: 52.1 g. Protein: 50.2 g. Carbs: 131.8 g

bean diet for weight loss
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How to make bean soup for diet

Another way to enjoy this bean diet is to make soup with  these legumes. The bean soup is packed full of low in calories and packed with incredible nutrients. Here is a simple recipe that you can easily make at home (15)

Ingredients – 181 g chicken broth, 141 g vegetable broth, 159 g diced tomatoes, 1 small onion, 2 garlic cloves, 45 g sliced mushrooms, 1 small carrot, 1 medium-sized zucchini, 1 yellow squash, 100 grams green beans, 79 grams kidney beans, 200 g shredded cabbage, salt, and pepper to taste

Method

  1. In a large frying pan sprayed with cooking spray, sauté garlic, onions, carrots, and mushrooms for about 5 minutes.
  2. In a large crockpot, combine sautéed garlic and vegetables with the remaining ingredients.
  3. Cook on high for 2-3 hours, or until the vegetables are fork-tender.

PS: If you are not willing to wait 2 to 3 hours for your soup to be ready, opt for canned beans as they take a much shorter time to cook.

This recipe makes four servings. Store the rest of the soup in an airtight container or ziplock bags and keep in your fridge/freezer for later use.

Calories per Serving: 57. Fats: 1 g. Proteins: 4 g. Carbohydrates: 11 g.

rice and bean diet
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Should you follow the rice and bean diet?

The rice and bean diet could be effective for someone who wants to eat better but still save money. However, how does this diet work? This eating plan is exactly what it sounds like. You consume rice and beans to try and lose weight in a healthy and cost-effective manner.

A point to note is that not all rice is made the same. Irrespective of your preferred brand, it is advisable to always choose brown or wild rice over white rice. Unlike the white version, brown and wild rice are whole grains and complex carbohydrates.They are full of fiber, vitamins, and nutrients, which are often stripped from white rice.

Due to all the nutritional components found in brown and wild rice, they can  help control blood sugar, thus, be healthy for people with diabetes, keep you fuller for longer, can help lower the risk of heart disease, and may help increase the level of antioxidants in your blood (3).

The types of bean that you choose to consume on this diet variation do not matter. All legumes are also considered to be healthy carbs that take longer to digest, unlike simple carbs. They also control your blood cholesterol levels and promote regularity in your bowel movements.

While these two foods are great on their own, when combined, they make an even better meal as they provide you with B complex vitamins, vitamins A and C, folate, fiber, and amino acids, which are usually incomplete  in legumes (10).

Please note that eating just rice and bean every day can lead to some nutrient deficiencies. To avoid this, be sure to eat more vegetables, especially dark leafy greens, and change your protein source to oily fish, which have the amino acids that are severely lacking in legumes (7).

bean diet for weight loss
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How does the bean diet for weight loss work?

Legumes and lentils have long been known to be appetite suppressants (11). Due to their high fibre content, they help create a feeling of fullness and satisfaction after they are consumed. This means when you constantly consume legumes, you are less likely to snack, thus reducing your calorie intake, which leads to weight loss.

Why is a bean diet anti-aging?

This diet claims to be potentially  anti-aging due to its antioxidant effects. These antioxidants from beans fight off the damage caused by free radicals, which helps protect your organs and tissues from long-term problems caused by metabolism and unhealthy foods as you age (13).

When on a bean diet how much weight can you lose?

The first thing to remember is that weight loss is not dependent on diet alone. For effective weight loss, you must eat the right foods, keep within your calorie intake, and exercise. In 2016, 940 men and women participated in a research where they were required to consume legumes, peas and chickpeas every day. They lost on average 0.34 kgs in six weeks (5).

A point to note is that participants did not make any changes to their food intake nor were they required to work out. This shows that a bean diet could  help you lose weight, but you need to do more to boost these results. Start by going on a 500-calorie deficit a day and working out for at least 30 minutes every day.

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The Bottom Line: Does the bean diet for weight loss work?

Yes, it could work. But only if you eat within your recommended energy  deficit. Remember that even calories from healthy food options count. As long as you eat within your calorie intake and exercise, you should lose weight while on the bean diet.

However, while eating legumes does not cause adverse side effects (other than bloating and passing gas), you should still make sure to consult a doctor and dietitian before attempting this diet to avoid nutrient deficiencies.

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DISCLAIMER:

This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any medical conditions. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!

SOURCES:

  1. 5-Ingredient Healthier Peanut Butter Cups (2019, eatingbirdfood.com)
  2. 8 Muscle-Building Diet Essentials! (2018, bodybuilding.com)
  3. Brown vs White Rice – Which Is Better For Your Health? (2016, healthline.com)
  4. EASY MOROCCAN CHICKEN RECIPE (2016, foodfaithfitness.com)
  5. Eating beans, peas, chickpeas or lentils may help lose weight and keep it off (2016, sciencedaily.com)
  6. Healthy Eating for a Healthy Weight (2020, cdc.gov)
  7. Is Eating Beans and Brown Rice Everyday Bad for You? (2019, livestrong.com)
  8. Italian Stuffed Peppers (2020, wellplated.com)
  9. Jamie Oliver’s courgette and pea pasta (n.d, amummytoo.co.uk)
  10. Rice & Bean Diet (n.d, livestrong.com)
  11. Ten natural ways to suppress appetite (2018, medicalnewstoday.com)
  12. THAI CHICKEN BUDDHA BOWLS (2018, damndelicious.net)
  13. The Anti-Aging Benefits of Beans (2020, verywellfit.com)
  14. VIETNAMESE PAN-GRILLED SESAME BEEF (2016, theironyou.com)
  15. Weight Loss Magic Soup (2020, favfamilyrecipes.com)
  16. What are the health benefits of beans? (2020, medicalnewstoday.com)
Clare Kamau

Clare Kamau

Clare is an excellent and experienced writer who has a great interest in nutrition, weight loss, and working out. She believes that everyone should take an interest in health and fitness, as not only do they improve your way of life, but they can also have a significant impact on your health.
As a writer, her goal is to educate her readers about the ways they can reprogram themselves to enjoy exercise, as well as break free from bad eating habits. In her articles, Clare tries to give advice which is backed by scientific research and is also easy to follow on a day-to-day basis. She believes that everyone, no matter their age, gender, or fitness level, can always learn something new that can benefit their health.

Soraya Ziou

Soraya Ziou

Hi everyone! I am a Canadian Registered Dietitian (RD) who graduated from the University of Ottawa, Canada. I worked at the Montreal Pediatric University Hospital and the Ottawa Heart Institute before joining the International Clinic of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. With a strong interest in community nutrition, I worked in Haiti and in Syrian refugee camps affected by the scourge of malnutrition. I am passionate about food and its science!

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