Beans Peas and Lentils - Detail - ©

Fats, Fruits, Pulses Okay; Veggie Diet Bad?

Hope you had a great long weekend – in those climes where Labour Day is celebrated, that is. Time to get back to work and, for me, that means surveying he latest scientific studies baring on food issues. According to two new learned reports, cutting Fat or going exclusively Veggie may be a bad idea…

Beans Peas and Lentils - © Beans, Peas and Lentils: Even moderate intake can be beneficial for heart health.

First, a new study from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, shows that moderate intake of Fruits and Vegetables and avoidance of high Carbohydrate intake is associated with lower risk of death. The findings seem conclusive, having taken into account the health and habits of more than 135,000 people across five continents, aged 35 to 70 years.

The Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology (PURE) study was presented at the ESC Congress and published in the British medical journal, the Lancet.

The study results also, surprisingly, show that higher fat consumption is associated with lower mortality. This was seen for all major types of fats (saturated fats, polyunsaturated fats and mono unsaturated fats), with saturated fats being associated with lower stroke risk.

Mahshid Dehghan, the lead author for the study, says, “A decrease in fat intake automatically led to an increase in carbohydrate consumption and our findings may explain why certain populations such as South Asians, who do not consume much fat but consume a lot of carbohydrates, have higher mortality rates.”

Another McMaster Study concurs…

Additional analysis of the PURE statistics has revealed that even relatively moderate intake of legumes such as beans and lentils may lower a person’s risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and death.

A paper by McMaster investigator Dr Andrew Mente asserts that legume intake (Peas and Beans) is just as beneficial as Fruit and Veggie consumption in reducing the risk of death, overall, and the risk of CVDs in particular.

Mente says his analysis of study statistics indicates that as little as 3 to 4 servings of fruits and Legumes a day can yield beneficital results.

Curiously, Mente’s survey showed that Vegetable intake was not a factor in reduced risk of death. Only Fruits and Legumes produced benefits. On the other hand, Mente says folks who consume more raw Vegetables tend to live longer and suffer fewer CVD events.

In conclusion, Mente says the results of the study are, “…are robust, globally applicable and provide evidence to inform nutrition policies. Many people in the world don’t consume an optimal amount of fruit, vegetables and legumes.”


There you have it! What may be the biggest, most comprehensive study of global dietary habits yet clearly shows that neither cutting fats altogether nor going veggie exclusively are good ideas. The message is ‘moderation in all things and variety’. And one big lesson North Americans who don’t normally eat a lot of Peas and Beans can take away is, just a serving or two a day can be beneficial.

It’s not difficult and it can be delicious!

~ Maggie J.