New research proves pulses help prevent diseases and protect your health

    TORONTO, Feb. 5 /CNW/ - New clinical research released today shows that
eating pulses - beans, peas, lentils and chickpeas - can help combat chronic
diseases such as heart disease, obesity and diabetes and contribute to overall
good health.
    The results from six clinical trials were released today at the Pulse
Health & Food Symposium in Toronto, Ontario. Leading researchers from across
Canada as well as Purdue University and the University of Florida presented
their findings to more than 140 researchers, health professionals, academics,
food developers, government officials and industry representatives.
    "Chronic diseases and other health problems are on the rise," says Peter
Watts, Director of Market Innovation for Pulse Canada. "These research results
add to the body of evidence that shows beans, peas and lentils have enormous
potential to reduce cholesterol, fight cardiovascular disease, help with
insulin management and improve gut health."
    The clinical trial results show pulses can help manage weight-related
health problems, such as type II diabetes and heart disease. Regular
consumption of beans and other pulses can contribute to reduced serum
cholesterol and triglycerides, which are two major risk factors for
cardiovascular disease. The research also linked pulse consumption to improved
arterial health and lower blood pressure.
    Several studies showed regular consumption of pulses can be an important
tool in combating obesity as they help increase feelings of fullness and
contribute to weight loss. Diabetics can also benefit from pulses, which have
a low glycemic index and can help regulate insulin levels.
    "With growing rates of childhood obesity, an aging population and
increasing concerns about health issues, finding solutions to improve the
health of Canadians and people around the world is becoming increasingly
important," says Watts. "Pulses are a prescription for healthy living right
out of the grocery cart."
    The clinical trials were funded through the Pulse Innovation Project, a
Pulse Canada project which received a $3.2 million contribution from
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's (AAFC) Science and Innovation program. The
project's objective is to increase pulse utilization in North America to
provide health and nutrition benefits to all Canadians and increase demand for
Canadian pulses. The Pulse Food Symposium is a federal-provincial-territorial
initiative made possible through funding from AAFC's Agricultural Policy
Framework. Pulse Canada is the national association that represents growers,
processors and traders of Canadian pulse crops.

    Backgrounder - Clinical Trial Results

    1.  "The effect of whole pulses and their fractions on regulation of food
        intake, metabolic control, and components of the metabolic syndrome"

        Researcher: Dr. G. Harvey Anderson, University of Toronto
        Co-investigators: France Cho, Christina Wong, Rebecca Mollard, Bohdan
        Luhovyy, Anthony Hanley

        Research at the University of Toronto shows that blood sugar and
        hunger are reduced after eating pulses (lentils, chickpeas, navy
        beans and yellow peas) and that they continue to reduce blood sugar
        and hunger following subsequent meals. The research also showed that
        eating pulses for eight weeks improves blood sugar control, reduces
        the amount of food and calories eaten and decreases the waist line.
        Researchers concluded that regular consumption of pulses could lead
        to reduced risk of diseases related to excess body weight.

    2.  "Exploring the health benefits associated with daily pulse
        consumption in individuals with peripheral arterial disease"

        Researcher: Dr. Peter Zahradka, Canadian Centre for Agri-Food
        Research in Health and Medicine, University of Manitoba
        Co-investigators: Dr. Carla Taylor, Dr. Randy Guzman, Wendy Weighell

        Researchers from the University of Manitoba have found there are
        specific health benefits associated with daily pulse consumption in
        participants with peripheral arterial disease (PAD). PAD, a systemic
        cardiovascular disease, reduces blood flow to the limbs. The study
        supports the traditional view that pulses (dried beans, peas, lentils
        and chickpeas) are healthy. According to the study, regular pulse
        consumption increased the intake of dietary fibre, folate, Vitamin C,
        iron, zinc, potassium and protein. Eating half a cup of mixed pulses
        per day for eight weeks also significantly reduced circulating
        cholesterol levels and reduced the body mass index of study
        participants. Total cholesterol decreased by five per cent and LDL
        cholesterol was reduced by 8.75 per cent.

    3.  "Effect of daily pulse consumption on intestinal microbiota,
        gastrointestinal response and serum lipids in healthy adults"

        Researchers: Dr. Amanda Wright and Dr. Alison Duncan, University of
        Co-investigators: E Farnworth, J Boye, S Tosh

        Research at the University of Guelph has found that regular daily
        inclusion of pulses in the diets of healthy individuals is well
        tolerated and can improve gut health. The research shows promising
        effects on gastrointestinal bacterial populations, which have been
        linked with improved health. The observed changes in intestinal
        bacterial population and metabolic activity suggest that pulses have
        prebiotic activity in humans. Positive changes were also seen in
        fecal pH and enzyme activity.

    4.  "Effectiveness of Two Levels of Pulse Consumption on Caloric
        Restriction Adherence and Chronic Disease Risk"

        Researcher: Dr. Megan McCrory, Bastyr University (WA) / Purdue
        University (IN)

        Research at Bastyr University in Washington and Purdue University in
        Indiana found that consuming the recommended 0.5 cups a day of pulses
        improves weight loss success and helps to reduce chronic disease
        risk. Participants consuming the recommended amount of pulses (0.5
        cups a day) had the greatest weight loss success compared to the
        group consuming no pulses (less than 1 tbsp per day). Participants
        consuming a large serving of pulses daily for six weeks had a smaller
        waist size and lower diastolic blood pressure by the end of the
        study. These participants also had improved fasting insulin levels as
        compared to those consuming less or no pulses.

    5.  "The Prebiotic Effects of Chickpeas in Healthy Human Subjects"

        Researcher: Wendy Dahl, University of Saskatchewan (now at University
        of Florida)
        Co-investigators: U Fernando, A Van Kessel, G Zello, R Tyler

        Researchers from the University of Saskatchewan and the University of
        Florida have found that regular daily inclusion of pulses in the
        diets of healthy individuals may improve gut health. The research
        suggests that regular consumption of pulses may increase the levels
        of beneficial gut bacteria (Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria species)
        and reduce the levels of harmful bacteria (putrefactive and
        pathogenic bacteria).

    6.  "The effects of whole and fractionated yellow peas on indices of
        cardiovascular disease and diabetes"

        Researcher: Dr. Peter Jones, Richardson Centre for Functional Foods
        and Nutraceuticals, University of Manitoba
        Co-investigators: Christopher Marinangeli

        Researchers at the Richardson Centre for Functional Foods and
        Nutraceuticals at the University of Manitoba have found that the
        dietary fibre-rich content of peas is key to regulating insulin
        management in overweight hyper-cholesterolemic adults. Participants
        consuming muffins made with either whole pea flour or pea fibre had
        fasting insulin levels that were 15 per cent lower than participants
        consuming control muffins made with wheat flour. This research also
        indicates that consuming pea fibre significantly decreases insulin
        resistance by up to 18 per cent. Insulin resistance, a condition
        where the body no longer properly uses the insulin it produces,
        increases the risk of elevated blood glucose levels and the
        development of diabetes, which affects two million Canadians.

For further information:

For further information: Tracey Thompson, Director of Marketing &
Communications, Pulse Canada, Tel: (204) 925-3785, Cell: (204) 291-8730

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