Impact of a daily legume-based meal on blood and anthropometric parameters in a group of omnivorous adults: a pilot study

Helena Ferreira, Marta Vasconcelos, Ana M. Gil, Joana Silveira, Paulo Alves, Sandra Martins, Marco Assunção, João Tiago Guimarães, Elisabete Pinto*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

This pilot study aimed to assess the impact of substituting a traditional lunch for a vegetarian legume-based meal on blood and anthropometric parameters in a group of omnivorous adults. A one-group comparison, quasi-experimental dietary intervention was designed. A vegetarian legume-based meal was offered for 8 consecutive weeks (weekdays) to non-vegetarian individuals (n = 26), (28 years [P25 = 20.0, P75 = 35.5]; 21.9 kg/m2 [P25 = 21.3, P75 = 24.8]). Sociodemographic data, health status and lifestyle-related information were recorded. Three-day food records were used to collect food intake at baseline and at the end of the intervention. Anthropometric parameters were recorded and fasting blood analyses were performed following standard procedures. Wilcoxon signed-rank test was used for statistical comparisons. A p-value <0.05 was considered statistically significant. Participants showed a median intake of 79.8 g of cooked legumes per meal, meaning 13 (50.0%) subjects met the Portuguese daily legume intake recommendations during the intervention days. There were no statistically significant differences in anthropometric parameters. Transferrin concentration increased after 8 weeks (+12.5 mg/dL; p = 0.001). Total cholesterol concentration reduced after 8 weeks (−6 mg/dL; p = 0.041), as well as low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (−7 mg/dL; p = 0.003). Triglycerides (+9 mg/dL; p = 0.046), fasting glucose (+2 mg/dL; p = 0.037) and HbA1c (+0.1 mg/dL; p = 0.010) concentration increased after the 2-month legume-based trial. Results suggest a cholesterol-lowering potential of legume-rich diets. However, unfavourable results regarding the impact on glucose metabolism-related biomarkers and triglyceride levels were observed. The study's limitations in design and sample size emphasise the importance of conducting further research with larger cohorts to attain more conclusive findings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-246
Number of pages12
JournalNutrition Bulletin
Volume49
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2024

Keywords

  • Blood biomarkers
  • Body composition
  • Legumes
  • Plant-based
  • Vegetarian

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