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Bean Extract May Improve Risk Factors for Diabetes

High blood sugar levels, insulin resistance and obesity are all growing health issues for Americans. A recent study suggest that taking a supplement of bean extracts could improve glucose and insulin levels as well as suppress levels of ghrelin, the hormone that allows us to feel hunger.

The study included 12 healthy individuals between the age of 20 and 26 with BMIs between 19.7 and 23.5 kg/m2. Half of the group took a 100 mg bean extract supplement and the other half took a placebo immediately before eating a test meal. The test meal consisted of 60% carbohydrates, 25% lipids and 15% protein.

The researchers found that the bean group had lower increases in glucose and insulin 30 minutes after a meal - 15.4% compared to 26.1%. They also found that, after two hours, levels of ghrelin returned at a higher level in the placebo group but not the bean extract group.

Additionally, participants in the bean extract group had a lower desire to eat three hours after the meal compared to participants in the placebo group.

The study was conducted by researchers at the Universita degli Studi di Milano and Indena S.p.A. Their findings were published online ahead of print on October 9, 2012, in the British Journal of Nutrition.

Previous studies have shown beans to be effective at lowering cholesterol and potentially helping with weight loss. Additionally, beans are packed full of fiber, which has been linked with lowering cholesterol and potentially reducing the risk of breast cancer.

Adding more beans to your diet can be as simple as substituting them for meat in a couple of meals per week.

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