Beans on toast may do wonders for your waistline, a study suggests.

Slimmers on a diet containing 40g a day of resistant starch lost about 6lbs in eight weeks.

Some shredded even more, Chinese researchers found.  

Resistant starch is plentiful in oats, green bananas and beans — including the type canned by Heinz.

Slimmers on a diet containing 40g a day of resistant starch lost about 6lbs in eight weeks

Slimmers on a diet containing 40g a day of resistant starch lost about 6lbs in eight weeks

It’s also found in wholegrains, implying that beans on toast — providing it’s served with brown bread — could be an easy weight loss hack. 

The study itself, by academics at the Shanghai Clinical Center for Diabetes, did not look at beans, nor toast.

Thirty-seven overweight volunteers were instead given three pre-made meals to eat every day for 16 weeks in total.

Participants were also asked to consume a starch powder mixed in 300ml of water twice a day. 

In the first arm of the study, this contained 40g of resistant corn starch. While the second branch saw volunteers given a less beneficial type.

Results published in the journal Nature Metabolism revealed ‘no significant change’ in weight of the standard starch group, in contrast to those who had resistant starch who lost weight. 

The researchers concluded: ‘We demonstrate that resistant starch can facilitate weight loss.

‘The benefits are associated with changes in gut microbiota composition.’

Unlike normal starch, which is easily digested in the small intestine, resistant starch survives this process. 

It instead passes directly through to the large intestine, where it ferments and provides fuel for the trillions of bugs living inside, essentially feeding the bacteria rather than the person. 

It is this reaction that the Chinese researchers theorise is behind the slimming results. 

Studies have long shown resistant starch can make people feel fuller, just like fibre. 

The amount of resistant starch in foods varies depending on how it is manufactured, prepared and cooked – as well as if it’s reheated.

Legumes are one of the ‘best sources’ of resistant starch, according to one Harvard dietitian. Even when cooked, they still contain some. 

Other sources of resistant starch include wholegrain bread, beetroot, hazelnuts and artichokes. 

Award-winning nutritionist Rob Hobson, author of Unprocess Your Life, said beans could, in theory, help people slim.

However, slathering your toast in butter would ‘negate any effects’. 

He told MailOnline: ‘Of course lots of this is not going to happen from eating one serving.

‘But if you ate it every day it might impact, depending on what the rest of your diet looked like.’

Mr Hobson added: ‘You can include resistant starches in your diet by eating foods like beans, lentils, starchy vegetables, seeds.’

The Chinese researchers who published the recent study acknowledged a limitation was the small number of participants which might limit the impact of results to the general population. 

WHAT SHOULD A BALANCED DIET LOOK LIKE?

Meals should be based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally wholegrain, according to the NHS

Meals should be based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally wholegrain, according to the NHS

• Eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day. All fresh, frozen, dried and canned fruit and vegetables count

• Base meals on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally wholegrain

• 30 grams of fibre a day: This is the same as eating all of the following: 5 portions of fruit and vegetables, 2 whole-wheat cereal biscuits, 2 thick slices of wholemeal bread and large baked potato with the skin on

• Have some dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soya drinks) choosing lower fat and lower sugar options

• Eat some beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins (including 2 portions of fish every week, one of which should be oily)

• Choose unsaturated oils and spreads and consuming in small amounts

• Drink 6-8 cups/glasses of water a day

• Adults should have less than 6g of salt and 20g of saturated fat for women or 30g for men a day

Source: NHS Eatwell Guide 

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