New Study Shows Eating Beans and Chickpeas Is Linked to Better Diet Quality and Healthier Body Weights

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Data on nutrient and diet quality outcomes when additional beans are consumed as part of the typical American dietary pattern are scarce. The purpose of this study was to assess the effect of increased bean consumption, in the typical American dietary pattern, on the intake of shortfall nutrients and overall diet quality.


Using data from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2001–2018, the current analyses modeled the addition of one and two servings of canned and dried beans in all adults (N = 44,574; ≥19 y), younger adults (N = 23,554; 19–50 y) and older adults (N = 21,020; ≥51 y). The beans considered were kidney beans, black beans, chickpeas, and pinto beans.


The modeling of beans to the typical American dietary pattern resulted in significant increases in the intake of several shortfall nutrients, including dietary fiber, potassium, magnesium, iron, folate, and choline (p's < 0.0001). Modeling 1 and 2 servings of beans daily to the US typical dietary pattern significantly increased overall diet quality in all adult age groups considered. Total diet quality, as measured by Healthy Eating Index-2015 scores, was 15–16 % greater with an additional serving of beans and 19–20 % higher with 2 servings of beans relative to the US typical dietary pattern (p values<0.0001).


Dietary patterns that are rich in beans are associated with significantly higher diet quality scores and greater intake of shortfall nutrients, including nutrients of public health concern. Dietary guidance should consider the health benefits associated with the promotion of increased consumption of canned and dry beans in dietary patterns as benefits seen in younger adults continue to older adulthood.

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