‘Pulse’ your way to weight loss: Importance of lentils in losing weight
Every day it seems a new diet fad comes our way which promises to make weight loss faster and easier than before. However, while following these diets might lead to short-term weight loss, most of them are difficult to follow, have weird rules and might also have negative health implications.
When it comes to losing weight there is no one rule that applies to all. It’s important to eat a well-balanced and nutritious meal which includes everything from eating whole grain cereals, pulses, lentils, vegetables, fruits and a good amount of healthy fat. As per some sources this not only guarantees long-lasting weight loss results, but also improves our overall health (3). While a lot has been documented and written about the high fiber content in whole-grain cereals promoting weight loss, lentils or pulses can also be a good healthy addition to a weight loss diet. Lentils are part of the legume family or vegetable seeds that grow in a pod. They contain numerous weight-loss and health benefits such as lentils are high in fiber, loaded with proteins, low in calories and fat and lastly are a rich source of essential vitamins and minerals (2).
Including ½ a cup of lentils in our diet can help meet 21%-38% of our daily fiber requirement (1). The high fiber content in lentils makes it longer to chew hence giving our body plenty of time to register that it is full, thereby decreasing overeating and less calorie intake. Secondly, fiber aids in lowering cholesterol and relieving digestive problems such as constipation (2).
Like most pulses, lentils are an excellent source of vegetarian protein. It’s important to understand that when trying to lose weight, it’s crucial to maintain or gain lean/muscle mass and lose fat mass. And in order to achieve this, inclusion of adequate amount of good quality protein is important. Hence, eating 1 cup of cooked lentils (8g of protein) along with a serving of whole grain cereals or beans will provide us with a complete profile of 20 essential amino acids required by our body (1). Also, one serving of lentils contains less than 1gm of fat, making it a perfect low fat healthy option in any weight loss diet (2).
Lastly, when trying to lose weight, calorie restrictions may also restrict our daily requirements of essential vitamins and minerals. Hence, eating one serving of lentils provides us with all the essential vitamins and minerals such as folate, manganese, iron and phosphorus (2).
The next time you think about following a fad diet, think about making lentils a part of your weight loss regime. They truly contain the magical power of helping you to lose weight and maintain good health.
Disclaimer: It is important for a consumer to check with their doctor or health practitioner before following this advice if suffering from gout, protein allergies, or kidney disorders to avoid worsening of these conditions. The information provided here is generic and available in public domain.
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A staple in the Indian diet, toor dal is used to prepare sambar, dal tadka, the maharashtrian varan and more.