RSSWhat happens when you swap meat for legumes?

Posted on Tue, 14 Jul 15

What happens when you swap meat for legumes?

Replacing red meat with legumes results in rapid improvements in blood sugar and cardiovascular health in overweight, type 2 diabetics.

Legumes are a great source of fiber, phytonutrients, magnesium and other nutrients with cardiovascular health benefits, while on the other hand red meat may raise disease risk.

To see if simple advice to swap red meat with legumes could change cardiometabolic risk factors in type 2 diabetics, an 8-week study of a Therapeutic Lifestyle Change (TLC) diet with, or without, legumes was conducted.

Participants had dietary education around a healthy diet with (Legume-TLC) or without (Legume-Free) for 8-weeks. The Legume-TLC was the same as the control diet, but the group was advised to replace two servings of red meat with legumes 3 days per week.

Half a cup of cooked legumes was considered as one serving of red meat. And different types of cooked legumes such as lentils, chickpeas, peas and beans were recommended, but not soy as it was not a traditional food for this population.

Compared with the Legume-Free diet, the Legume-TLC diet significantly decreased fasting blood glucose, fasting insulin, triglyceride concentrations and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol.

Legume-TLC diet also significantly increased intakes of total fiber (31.4 vs 26.9 g per day) and magnesium (450 vs 408 mg per day) compared with the legume-Free diet.

Regularly swapping red meat for legumes appears to be a great way to increase your nutrient intake and enhance your health.


Hosseinpour-Niazi S, Mirmiran P, Hedayati M, Azizi F. Substitution of red meat with legumes in the therapeutic lifestyle change diet based on dietary advice improves cardiometabolic risk factors in overweight type 2 diabetes patients: a cross-over randomized clinical trial. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2015 May;69(5):592-7.

Tags: Red Meat, Legumes, Diabetes, Heart Disease, Lifestyle Medicine

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