Next time someone asserts that a meatless dinner doesn't "feel like a real meal," feel free to point them toward this recent study that found beans and beef can be equally satisfying.
Researchers from the University of Minnesota served study participants two lunches on two separate days. The first lunch was beef-based meatloaf, and the second was a bean-based meatloaf. Both meatloaves were equivalent in calories, total fat and weight, though the beef meal contained 26 grams of protein and three grams of fiber per serving, while the bean meal provided 17 grams of protein and 12 grams of fiber.
Three hours after consuming each of the lunches, participants reported the same amount of fullness. They also ate the same amount of calories for their next meal, indicating they really were equally satiated by both dishes.
While the participant group of 28 people was small, the results could contribute to debunking the common myth that vegetarians don't get enough protein. In truth, vegetarians can eat well and feel good.
Protein is touted for its ability to keep people fuller for longer periods of time; it's often highlighted as the prime nutrient for losing or maintaining a healthy weight. But fiber, which is found naturally in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes, can offer the same benefits and then some.
Previous research has found some serious advantages to erring on the side of plant-based nourishment. Eating mostly vegetarian can improve heart health, digestion and even cut a person's risk for certain cancers.
You don't have to cut meat out of your diet cold turkey (heh). Simply adding more greens to your meals and going meatless a few times a week -- you can easily join the Meatless Monday brigade -- is a great place to start.
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