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About the bean diet for weight loss

There are claims that just adding beans to your diet will make you lose weight. Of course, other things should remain the same, eg. your diet shouldn't change otherwise. Just add the beans! Will it work for a fit runner? Let's figure out!

I got interested and inspired after reading the following book: How Beans Can Change Your Life: A Revolutionary Method for Health, Weight and Blood Sugar Management Kindle Edition by Lars-Erik Litsfedt and Patrik Olsson.

The idea goes as follows: eating beans will introduce resistant starch, which changes the dietary ingestion so that no blood sugar rises (or peaks) with diabetics. So this is like having a low carb diet but instead, you can just eat pretty much what you want - just remember to add beans!

A fit runner?

adios shoes
Adizero adios 4 shoes
The concept of a 'fit runner' isn't exact. Thus, let's define the fit runner this way:
Runs 10K (km):
- in less than 40 minutes
Runs half marathon:
- in less than 1h 30min
Weight/height/age before the change in diet:
- 63 kg
- 170 cm
- 42 years

Mainly 3 pairs of shoes are used for running. Adizero Adios shoes are used in fast-pace runs. Adizero Boston shoes are used for distance and slower pace runs. Asics Gel-Pulse 9 GTX shoes are used in rainy weather. Gore-tex keeps it warm and dry!

So here we see a fit runner (me) who could drop 5-8kg in order to get a good boost for the running pace. 5 kg would mean 25 seconds x 5 for 10km, that's a total of 2 minutes and 5 seconds. Double that for the half marathon: 4 minutes and 10 seconds, a bit more actually. This is a good motivation for the potential weight loss.

Techniques for measuring the weight loss efficacy

Just measuring the weight with the same scale a few times a week is the technique. The morning weight right after waking up & after visiting the bathroom is always the reference. Secondary results are from the fast paced runs.

adizero boston shoes
Adizero boston shoes

Details of the beans used

Only packaged, ready-to-use beans were used; similar to Jack's Organic Beans. I really don't have the time to cook beans for ten hours or so. Canned beans is another alternative.

Kidney beans, black beans and pinto beans were used. 70% of the time Kidney beans were eaten, 25% black beans and perhaps 5% of pinto beans.

A word of warning. The canned / packaged beans might contain quite a bit of sodium. Always check the sodium levels and perhaps avoid the ones with high (> 0.3g / 100g, or > 400 mg / serving) rates. Personally I've put less sodium to my morning porridge in order to compensate the extra from the beans. There's low sodium beans in the marget, having less than 100 mg per serving (130 g, or half a cup).

Details of the bean intake

Just one package of beans was consumed along with the lunch and the dinner. 90% of the time, kidney beans were taken. One package (380g / 230g) weights 380g, but the beans 230g without the water. So one dose is 115g.

Details of the raw oat rolls

Once my morning porridge has cooled down, I add raw oat rolls on the top. It amounts just one tablespoon at most. That should provide more resistant starch in the daily diet. I quit taking the raw oats after the 1st week.

Bean eating Diary

First week

The bean diet started on September the 2nd, 2019. September the 9th marked the end of first week. Initial weight is 62.5 kg.

Floorball season that started also in September contains high intensity inteval training, which has had the effect of adding some weight every year in the fall.

No observable weight loss. Perhaps even slight weight gain.

asics GTX shoes
Asics Gel-Pulse 9 gtx shoes

Second week

The weight has gone up into record levels! This usually happens early fall, which coincides with the start of the floorball season. Also it feels like I'm losing my top speed. On mondays I have had from 4 to 6 km of running at the speed of 4.0 min / km, included in a 10+ km run. Now that was impossible. I could only do at 4:30!

Weight gain is near 1.5 kg from the start.

Third week

23rd September. Looks like the weight has diven back to near where I started off. Top speed is back as well! I think I more substituted the beans for some other food rather than added.

Weight gain from the start is around 200 grams.

Final week

30th September, 2019. Weight hasn't changed much. The final weight after four weeks of eating a lot of beans resulted in a weight gain of 200 g. Initially the weight was at 62.5 kg, now it's at 62.8 kg.

For the last two weeks, I substituted other food with beans rather than just adding them.

Fifth week

Just a note: my weight is not what it was when starting the bean diet. I weight 62.5 kg now, exactly the same when I started the diet. Only leftover beans were eaten every now and then.

Final toughts

I had expectations that the bean diet would result in a slight weight loss. That didn't happen. I expect the start of the high-interval training in form of floorball increased my weight. Data from earlier years supports this fact.

I'm starting to think that the equation "insulin increase -> fat is generated" by the low carb fans isn't quite correct. I'd rather say: eat less, and the weight goes down.

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