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Researchers have discovered the “hunger hormone” and it is called ghrelin. The key to losing weight and fighting hunger cravings, say some researchers, is to block ghrelin, as less ghrelin means a smaller appetite and fewer cravings. Studies have linked folks with weight management issues to having higher levels of ghrelin. (2)
To date, short of gastric bypass surgery which – for some unknown reasons – reduces ghrelin levels, there are few methods to help lower levels of ghrelin. Surprisingly, researchers have found that the Italian Borlotto Lamon variety of the white kidney bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) actually reduces ghrelin levels. (1, 2)
This special bean has been shown to reduce cravings and appetite, increase a feeling of fullness, reduce the desire to overeat, and modulate appetite hormones like ghrelin. (1, 2)
In addition, the Borlotto bean, like most beans, inhibits the alpha-amylase enzyme – which converts carbohydrates in the intestines into sugars. (2) Any excess sugar in the blood will quickly raise insulin levels, which will convert it into fat. Sadly, the fat around the belly and organs is 4 times as sensitive to insulin as is the fat, say, on your forearm. (3)
At a time when even moderate increases in blood sugar levels are being flagged as a health concern, this benefit scores big points for the modest Barlotto bean – all beans for that matter!
The active constituent in the Borlotto bean is called phyto-agglutinins. This is the key component that inhibits the hunger hormone and stimulates the release of other hormones that are responsible for the “I am full” message. (1,2)
Big Points for Beans – Cook Some!
Healthy blood sugar levels – which should probably be our number one health concern – are well supported by all beans. Their high fiber content, along with the many minerals and nutrients they offer, should make beans of all kinds a staple in your diet.
Consider getting a crock-pot and start some beans each morning. By lunch or dinner time, you’ll have a high-fiber, protein and nutrient-rich meal to come home to. Bon appétit!