British Journal of Nutrition

Research Article

The effect of daily baked bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) consumption on the plasma lipid levels of young, normo-cholesterolaemic men

Susan M. Shutlera1a3 p1, Gemma M. Birchera2, Jacki A. Tredgera2, Linda M. Morgana2, Ann F. Walkera3 and A. G. LOWa1

a1 Pig Department, AFRC Institute for Grassland and Animal Production, Shinfield, Reading, RG2 9AQ Berks.

a2 Department of Biochemistry, University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey GU2 5XH

a3 Department of Food Science and Technology, University of Reading, Whiteknights, Reading, RG6 2AP Berks.


1. Thirteen normo-cholesterolaemic male students consumed one 450 g can of baked beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) in tomato sauce, daily, for 14 d as part of their normal diet. After a 14 d washout period, eleven of the students went on to consume one 440 g can of spaghetti in tomato sauce, daily, for 14 d.

2. Fasting blood samples were taken frequently for measurement of plasma cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol, triacylglycerols, glucose, insulin and C-peptide. Diet diaries (3 d) were completed by the subjects during each period.

3. Consumption of beans and spaghetti led to a significant reduction in the amount of fat eaten daily (P < 0.05). Bean consumption also resulted in significant increases in protein, fibre and sugar intakes (P < 0.02, P < 0.001 and P < 0.05 respectively).

4. During the bean-eating period the mean total plasma cholesterol level of the students fell significantly from 5.1 to 4.5 mmol/l (P < 0.02). No reduction in plasma cholesterol occurred during the spaghetti-eating period.

5. HDL-cholesterol levels fell significantly during both periods (P < 0.001), but HDL:total cholesterol ratio was significantly reduced only during the spaghetti-eating period (P < 0.001). Neither beans nor spaghetti affected triacylglycerol, insulin or C-peptide levels.

6. The benefits of a legume-rich diet are discussed.

(Received April 07 1988)

(Accepted November 09 1988)


p1 Susan M. Kingman, Dunn Clinical Nutrition Centre, 100 Tennis Court Road, Cambridge CB2 IQL.