Skip to main content Accessibility help

Pulse grain consumption and obesity: effects on energy expenditure, substrate oxidation, body composition, fat deposition and satiety

  • Christopher P. F. Marinangeli (a1) and Peter J. H. Jones (a2)


Pulses have been identified as important components of a healthy diet. Assessment of pulse grains' nutritional composition alongside data from available preclinical and clinical trials suggests that pulses can modulate biological processes that lead to obesity. Components of pulse grains, including pulse-derived fibre and resistant starch, have been shown to alter energy expenditure, substrate trafficking and fat oxidation as well as visceral adipose deposition. Although mechanistic studies are scarce, studies have indicated that fibres found in pulses can have an impact on the expression of genes that modulate metabolism. Arginine and glutamine may produce thermogenic effects as major components of pulse grain proteins. Finally, evidence suggests that pulse-derived fibres, trypsin inhibitors and lectins may reduce food intake by inducing satiety via facilitating and prolonging cholecystokinin secretion. Nonetheless, the aforementioned data remain controversial and associations between dietary pulse grains and energy intake require further study. Given the available evidence, it can be concluded that pulses could be useful as functional foods and food ingredients that combat obesity.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Pulse grain consumption and obesity: effects on energy expenditure, substrate oxidation, body composition, fat deposition and satiety
      Available formats

      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Pulse grain consumption and obesity: effects on energy expenditure, substrate oxidation, body composition, fat deposition and satiety
      Available formats

      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Pulse grain consumption and obesity: effects on energy expenditure, substrate oxidation, body composition, fat deposition and satiety
      Available formats


Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Dr P. J. H. Jones, fax +1 204 474 7552, email


Hide All
1Leterme, P (2002) Recommendations by health organizations for pulse consumption. Br J Nutr 88, Suppl. 3, S239S242.
2Jenkins, DJ, Wolever, TM, Jenkins, AL, et al. (1983) The glycaemic index of foods tested in diabetic patients: a new basis for carbohydrate exchange favouring the use of legumes. Diabetologia 24, 257264.
3Tovar, J, Granfeldt, Y & Bjorck, I (1992) Effect of processing on blood glucose and insulin responses to starch in legumes. J Agric Food Chem 40, 18461851.
4Anderson, JW & Major, AW (2002) Pulses and lipaemia, short- and long-term effect: potential in the prevention of cardiovascular disease. Br J Nutr 88, Suppl. 3, S263S271.
5Venn, BJ & Mann, JI (2004) Cereal grains, legumes and diabetes. Eur J Clin Nutr 58, 14431461.
6Aluko, RE (2008) Determination of nutritional and bioactive properties of peptides in enzymatic pea, chickpea, and mung bean protein hydrolysates. J AOAC Int 91, 947956.
7Tseng, YH, Cypess, AM & Kahn, CR (2010) Cellular bioenergetics as a target for obesity therapy. Nat Rev Drug Discov 9, 465481.
8Stark, AH & Madar, Z (1993) In vitro production of short-chain fatty acids by bacterial fermentation of dietary fiber compared with effects of those fibers on hepatic sterol synthesis in rats. J Nutr 123, 21662173.
9Hernandez-Salazar, M, Osorio-Diaz, P, Loarca-Pina, G, et al. (2010) In vitro fermentability and antioxidant capacity of the indigestible fraction of cooked black beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.), lentils (Lens culinaris L.) and chickpeas (Cicer arietinum L.). J Sci Food Agric 90, 14171422.
10Han, KH, Fukushima, M, Shimizu, K, et al. (2003) Resistant starches of beans reduce the serum cholesterol concentration in rats. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo) 49, 281286.
11Gao, Z, Yin, J, Zhang, J, et al. (2009) Butyrate improves insulin sensitivity and increases energy expenditure in mice. Diabetes 58, 15091517.
12Anderson, JW & Bridges, SR (1984) Short-chain fatty acid fermentation products of plant fiber affect glucose metabolism of isolated rat hepatocytes. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med 177, 372376.
13Beauvieux, MC, Roumes, H, Robert, N, et al. (2008) Butyrate ingestion improves hepatic glycogen storage in the re-fed rat. BMC Physiol 8, 19.
14Robertson, MD, Bickerton, AS, Dennis, AL, et al. (2005) Insulin-sensitizing effects of dietary resistant starch and effects on skeletal muscle and adipose tissue metabolism. Am J Clin Nutr 82, 559567.
15Weickert, MO, Mohlig, M, Koebnick, C, et al. (2005) Impact of cereal fibre on glucose-regulating factors. Diabetologia 48, 23432353.
16Chibbar, RN, Ambigaipalan, P & Hoover, R (2010) Molecular diversity in pulse seed starch and complex carbohydrates and its role in human nutrition and health. Cereal Chem 87, 342352.
17Mahadevamma, S, Shamala, TR & Tharanathan, RN (2004) Resistant starch derived from processed legumes: in vitro and in vivo fermentation characteristics. Int J Food Sci Nutr 55, 399405.
18Higgins, JA, Higbee, DR, Donahoo, WT, et al. (2004) Resistant starch consumption promotes lipid oxidation. Nutr Metab (Lond) 1, 8.
19Robinson, SM, Jaccard, C, Persaud, C, et al. (1990) Protein turnover and thermogenesis in response to high-protein and high-carbohydrate feeding in men. Am J Clin Nutr 52, 7280.
20Westerterp, KR, Wilson, SA & Rolland, V (1999) Diet induced thermogenesis measured over 24 h in a respiration chamber: effect of diet composition. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 23, 287292.
21Krebs, M, Brehm, A, Krssak, M, et al. (2003) Direct and indirect effects of amino acids on hepatic glucose metabolism in humans. Diabetologia 46, 917925.
22Abete, I, Parra, D & Martinez, JA (2009) Legume-, fish-, or high-protein-based hypocaloric diets: effects on weight loss and mitochondrial oxidation in obese men. J Med Food 12, 100108.
23Pownall, TL, Udenigwe, CC & Aluko, RE (2010) Amino acid composition and antioxidant properties of pea seed (Pisum sativum L.) enzymatic protein hydrolysate fractions. J Agric Food Chem 58, 47124718.
24McKnight, JR, Satterfield, MC, Jobgen, WS, et al. (2010) Beneficial effects of l-arginine on reducing obesity: potential mechanisms and important implications for human health. Amino Acids 39, 349357.
25Bhatty, RS & Christison, GI (1984) Composition and nutritional quality of pea (Pisum sativum L.), faba bean (Vicia faba L. spp. minor) and lentil (Lens culinaris Medik.) meals, protein concentrates and isolates. Plant Foods Hum Nutr 34, 4151.
26Iwashita, S, Mikus, C, Baier, S, et al. (2006) Glutamine supplementation increases postprandial energy expenditure and fat oxidation in humans. JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr 30, 7680.
27Carey, DG, Jenkins, AB, Campbell, LV, et al. (1996) Abdominal fat and insulin resistance in normal and overweight women: direct measurements reveal a strong relationship in subjects at both low and high risk of NIDDM. Diabetes 45, 633638.
28Tanko, LB & Christiansen, C (2006) Adipose tissue, insulin resistance and low-grade inflammation: implications for atherogenesis and the cardiovascular harm of estrogen plus progestogen therapy. Climacteric 9, 169180.
29Yang, Y, Zhou, L, Gu, Y, et al. (2007) Dietary chickpeas reverse visceral adiposity, dyslipidaemia and insulin resistance in rats induced by a chronic high-fat diet. Br J Nutr 98, 720726.
30Morris, KL & Zemel, MB (2005) Effect of dietary carbohydrate source on the development of obesity in agouti transgenic mice. Obes Res 13, 2135.
31Marinangeli, CP & Jones, PJ (2011) Whole and fractionated yellow pea flours reduce fasting insulin and insulin resistance in hypercholesterolaemic and overweight human subjects. Br J Nutr 105, 110117.
32Tosh, SM & Yada, S (2010) Dietary fibres in pulse seeds and fractions: characterization, functional attributes, and applications. Food Res Int 43, 450460.
33Reichert, RD (1981) Quantitative isolation and estimation of cell-wall material from dehulled pea (Pisum sativum) flours and concentrates. Cereal Chem 58, 266270.
34Isken, F, Klaus, S, Osterhoff, M, et al. (2010) Effects of long-term soluble vs. insoluble dietary fiber intake on high-fat diet-induced obesity in C57BL/6J mice. J Nutr Biochem 21, 278284.
35Steneberg, R, Rubins, N, Bartoov-Shifman, R, et al. (2005) The FFA receptor GPR40 links hyperinsulinemia, hepatic steatosis, and impaired glucose homeostasis in mouse. Cell Metab 1, 245258.
36Horn-Ross, PL (1995) Phytoestrogens, body composition, and breast cancer. Cancer Causes Control 6, 567573.
37Pallottini, V, Bulzomi, P, Galluzzo, P, et al. (2008) Estrogen regulation of adipose tissue functions: involvement of estrogen receptor isoforms. Infect Disord Drug Targets 8, 5260.
38Morito, K, Hirose, T, Kinjo, J, et al. (2001) Interaction of phytoestrogens with estrogen receptors alpha and beta. Biol Pharm Bull 24, 351356.
39Sites, CK, Cooper, BC, Toth, MJ, et al. (2007) Effect of a daily supplement of soy protein on body composition and insulin secretion in postmenopausal women. Fertil Steril 88, 16091617.
40Penttinen, P, Jaehrling, J, Damdimopoulos, AE, et al. (2007) Diet-derived polyphenol metabolite enterolactone is a tissue-specific estrogen receptor activator. Endocrinology 148, 48754886.
41Richelsen, B (1986) Increased alpha 2 −  but similar beta-adrenergic receptor activities in subcutaneous gluteal adipocytes from females compared with males. Eur J Clin Invest 16, 302309.
42Rodriguez-Cuenca, S, Monjo, M, Proenza, AM, et al. (2005) Depot differences in steroid receptor expression in adipose tissue: possible role of the local steroid milieu. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 288, E200E207.
43Pedersen, SB, Kristensen, K, Hermann, PA, et al. (2004) Estrogen controls lipolysis by up-regulating alpha2A-adrenergic receptors directly in human adipose tissue through the estrogen receptor alpha. Implications for the female fat distribution. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 89, 18691878.
44Morisset, AS, Lemieux, S, Veilleux, A, et al. (2009) Impact of a lignan-rich diet on adiposity and insulin sensitivity in post-menopausal women. Br J Nutr 102, 195200.
45Mazur, W (1998) Phytoestrogen content in foods. Baillieres Clin Endocrinol Metab 12, 729742.
46Pittaway, JK, Ahuja, KD, Robertson, IK, et al. (2007) Effects of a controlled diet supplemented with chickpeas on serum lipids, glucose tolerance, satiety and bowel function. J Am Coll Nutr 26, 334340.
47Murty, CM, Pittaway, JK & Ball, MJ (2010) Chickpea supplementation in an Australian diet affects food choice, satiety and bowel health. Appetite 54, 282288.
48Wong, CL, Mollard, RC, Zafar, TA, et al. (2009) Food intake and satiety following a serving of pulses in young men: effect of processing, recipe, and pulse variety. J Am Coll Nutr 28, 543552.
49Johnson, SK, Thomas, SJ & Hall, RS (2005) Palatability and glucose, insulin and satiety responses of chickpea flour and extruded chickpea flour bread eaten as part of a breakfast. Eur J Clin Nutr 59, 169176.
50de Graaf, C, Blom, WA, Smeets, PA, et al. (2004) Biomarkers of satiation and satiety. Am J Clin Nutr 79, 946961.
51Moran, TH, Baldessarini, AR, Salorio, CF, et al. (1997) Vagal afferent and efferent contributions to the inhibition of food intake by cholecystokinin. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 272, R1245R1251.
52Degen, L, Matzinger, D, Drewe, J, et al. (2001) The effect of cholecystokinin in controlling appetite and food intake in humans. Peptides 22, 12651269.
53Santangelo, A, Peracchi, M, Conte, D, et al. (1998) Physical state of meal affects gastric emptying, cholecystokinin release and satiety. Br J Nutr 80, 521527.
54Leathwood, P & Pollet, P (1988) Effects of slow release carbohydrates in the form of bean flakes on the evolution of hunger and satiety in man. Appetite 10, 111.
55Bourdon, I, Olson, B, Backus, R, et al. (2001) Beans, as a source of dietary fiber, increase cholecystokinin and apolipoprotein b48 response to test meals in men. J Nutr 131, 14851490.
56Lu, LJW, Anderson, KE, Gomez, G, et al. (1995) Decreased plasma levels of cholecystokinin in healthy males after chronic ingestion of a heat-treated soya product. Cancer Lett 90, 149155.
57Grant, G, Alonso, R, Edwards, JE, et al. (2000) Dietary soya beans and kidney beans stimulate secretion of cholecystokinin and pancreatic digestive enzymes in 400-day-old Hooded-Lister rats but only soya beans induce growth of the pancreas. Pancreas 20, 305312.
58Champ, MM (2002) Non-nutrient bioactive substances of pulses. Br J Nutr 88, Suppl. 3, S307S319.
59Herzig, KH, Bardocz, S, Grant, G, et al. (1997) Red kidney bean lectin is a potent cholecystokinin releasing stimulus in the rat inducing pancreatic growth. Gut 41, 333338.


Pulse grain consumption and obesity: effects on energy expenditure, substrate oxidation, body composition, fat deposition and satiety

  • Christopher P. F. Marinangeli (a1) and Peter J. H. Jones (a2)


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed