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  • Writer's pictureTalia

A Secret Ingredient I Commonly Use For Weight Loss and Healthy Benefits

Hey y’all, there is a topic that is on my mind that I wanted to clarify for all of you. There is an ingredient that you will find me using in many of my recipes {even in the crusts of desserts and in muffins!} that most bakers don’t use in their recipes. This ingredient isn’t as beautiful as bright berries nor a decadent as chocolate. It’s not thought of as a glamorous food and it’s reputation is rather plain jane. So, here I am wanting to change it’s reputation!

The “it” is beans. Beans are a wonderful substitution for butter and/or oil, depending on the recipe, and you cannot taste them at all! They add a softer texture to muffins and breads and they can actually help make a recipe that much more scrumptious.

Behold an excerpt from my book, Love Your Body, which discusses why beans are such a powerfully health-promoting food,

“I will never get over how awesome beans are and how good they are for us. They are powerful weight-loss foods with striking health benefits. I’m sure you’re shaking your head with laughter or disbelief, but read on and I will prove it to you! Beans are so healthy, slimming, and delicious that you may soon find yourself obsessing over them as I do. Get ready for some heavy nutritional knowledge that will enlighten your brain yet never pack fat cells into your stomach or booty.

This recipe actually contains beans!! I bet you didn’t expect that!


The secret behind the magical, yet very real, fat-melting effects of beans is the unique fibers they possess called resistant starch. Scientists have known for eons that there are soluble and insoluble fibers that have beneficial health properties, but surprisingly almost no attention has been given to the absolutely fascinating resistant starches in beans. Resistant starch (RS) is the most sublime weight-loss tool, because it contains very few calories, and most of those calories do not raise glucose levels (this means RS is fabulous for peeps with diabetes). Some scientists consider RS the third type of fiber, but all can agree that it is absolutely amazing for maintaining ideal health and preventing diseases.

RS is given its name because it is resistant to stomach acid and digestive enzymes, so it is not digested in the small intestine, but rather passed to our bowels for fermentation by friendly bacteria. This means the bacteria that live in our bowels digest it. But because the RS has already traveled so far down, it “resists” digestion, and we don’t absorb the calories! Therefore, when we eat beans, we don’t actually absorb the total calorie amount listed. You will absorb fewer than two-thirds of the carbohydrate calories listed on the can! For example, as much as 20 grams in each cup of navy beans (4 calories per gram) is not absorbed as calories. So if the calories listed on a can are 220 per cup, you are actually absorbing far fewer calories and a greater percentage of protein and less carbohydrate than is listed on the can. More beans, please!

I say we get a bit more down and dirty with the science of resistant starch, and see why calorie counting is an unreliable measure of losing or maintaining our weight. When RS reaches the colon, it is used for fuel by the bacteria living there (yup, we’ve got a ton of bacteria in our guts, but no need to fret—most of them are swell little guys that help keep us healthy). In this process of RS digestion by bacteria, called fermentation, a type of fat called short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) is produced. These fatty acids are where most of the calories in the starch come from, but they are also the component that possesses whopping health benefits, benefits that will make that great pair of skinny jeans look even better on you!

RS is especially associated with one type of SCFA, called butyrate. The production of butyrate and other SCFAs comes with seriously awesome perks, including helping you feel full if you’re trying to lose weight. Impressively, these SCFAs enhance the absorption of beneficial minerals such as calcium and magnesium from our food. Not only does the consumption of SCFAs enhance nutrient absorption, but these awesome fatty acids have the opposite effect of processed foods, like white bread or sugar. In fact, the consumption of SCFAs improves diabetic glucose numbers as soon as the next day. That’s fast action! SCFAs act so quickly because they slow down glycolysis in the liver (delaying hunger) soon after consumption and increase the breakdown of body fat as a source of energy, which facilitates weight loss. Glycolysis is just a fancy term for the breakdown of carbohydrates into energy (aka ATP), and the slower this occurs, the longer we feel full.

Our bodies actually burn fat more efficiently when we eat RS. It has been scientifically proven that calorie counting on its own is an ineffective weight-loss tool. This is because some foods contain easily digested calories (like simple starches) that like to cling to us in the form of fat—while other calories (like those found in RS) aren’t digestible and effortlessly wash through us. I say forget calorie counting altogether! If we eat the right foods nature designed for us, our bodies will naturally morph into slimmer, healthier figures. When you eat a meal of natural foods that are low in calories but fill you up, like a hearty salad with beans, biochemical events occur that act as repair mechanisms. In essence, beans are perfect foods for weight loss, not only because they help you stay full, but because they also repair the biochemical defects that lead to common chronic health maladies, like diabetes.”

So there you have it. Beans are a perfect weight loss tool and they are even life-span enhancing. I am working on a healthy desserts cookbook now and you will find that quite a few of those delicious recipes will contain beans. I hope you begin to dig cooking and/or baking with beans as much as I do now!

Lots of love and healthy wishes {as always},


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