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Beans May Help Control Blood Glucose in Diabetics

Beans are staple foods in a multitude of cultures worldwide. Hearty, healthy and delicious, this simple meal can be prepared cheaply and easily in almost any environment.

Now a study from researchers at the Center for Research on Occupational and Environmental Toxicology Health and Science University, in Oregon, Arizona State University, and the University of Colorado have shown that adding beans to rice may help reduce glucose levels versus a meal of rice alone in people with type-2 diabetes. Their findings were published on April 11, 2012, in Nutrition Journal.

Seventeen men and women between the ages of 35 and 70—14 of whom who were using the drug metformin and 3 of whom were using diet and exercise to control their type-2 diabetes—were assigned either a control of white long grain rice, pinto beans and rice, black beans and rice, or kidney beans and rice. The participants consumed the food at breakfast after a 12 hour fast.

The researchers took measurements of capillary blood glucose concentrations before administering the interventions and then every 30 minutes for 180 minutes.

They found that blood glucose levels were lower for the beans and rice interventions at 90, 120, and 150 minutes than the rice alone. The pinto beans and black beans showed even more significant effects than the kidney beans.

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 preventing breast cancer.

Beans can easily be added to your diet either in combination with rice, as was done here, or in hearty soups, fresh salads or even on their own.

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