According to Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., in his book "The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth," lentils are among the healthiest foods you can eat. Lentils, pea-sized, disk-shaped legumes, can be brown, reddish-orange or green in color. No foods, including lentils, can make you lose weight or burn fat. Nevertheless, lentils are a diet-friendly food that can be a part of your weight loss eating plan.
No Foods Cause Weight Loss
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, no foods can actually burn fat and make you lose weight, and lentils are no exception. The McKinley Health Institute explains that some foods or drinks contain caffeine that increases your heart rate and metabolism temporarily, but not enough to make a sizable impact on weight loss. Spicy foods that raise your body temperature also impact your metabolic rate temporarily. Weight loss occurs by creating a calorie deficit, which means you burn more calories than you consume on a daily basis. The healthiest way to lose weight is to eat low-calorie foods instead of high-calorie foods.
Lentils as Diet Food
Since weight loss is a product of a calorie deficit created by replacing high-calorie foods with low-calorie foods, lentils could make a filling replacement for foods that make you gain weight. A single cup of lentils contains about 230 calories, with only 1 g coming from dietary fat. Lentils have 18 g of protein per cup, which helps maintain lean mass while you lose weight. Although lentils are high in carbohydrates, only about 10 percent of the calories come from simple sugars.
Lentils Combat High Blood Sugar
Lentils are not known to raise insulin levels, which cause your body to store fat. Boiled lentils have a low glycemic index ranking of 29. Although canned lentils have a higher ranking at 52 because of processing, they are still considered a low glycemic food. Lentils also contain 18 g of fiber per cup. High fiber foods slow down the digestion of other foods and glucose, which keeps your blood sugar levels more stable. Although fiber cannot be digested, it gives you a full, satisfying feeling, which helps you eat less calories.
Types of Lentils
Mayo Clinic nutritionist Katherine Zeratsky explains how to cook and use lentils. Brown lentils, the least expensive among lentil varieties, get mushy when cooked and can be used to make soup. Green lentils, sometimes called French lentils, have a nutty flavor and stay firm when cooked. Green lentils are usually used for salads. Red lentils cook the quickest of the three, turn a golden color when cooked and taste mild and sweet. Red lentils can be used to make purees and Indian dals. Unlike beans, lentils do not require pre-soaking and cook in about 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the variety. Lentils can be seasoned with turmeric or ginger and eaten plain alongside a low-calorie meal.