Beans, beans, good for your heart, says FDA

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved use of a health claim stating: “Diets including beans may reduce your risk of heart disease and certain cancers.”

Based on its read of the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the American Dry Bean Board (ADBB) petitioned FDA to allow bean producers and processors to use the claim. Having received a green light, ADBB now trumpets this message on its website:

What food is high in protein, virtually fat free and has more fiber than many whole grain foods? It’s beans … and now a new U.S. dietary guidance message says that “diets including beans may reduce your risk of heart disease and certain cancers.”

Dietary guidance messages are part of an effort by the FDA’s Consumer Health Information for Better Nutrition Initiative (CHIBNI) to encourage good nutrition among consumers in multiple ways, including promoting and enhancing dietary guidance messages on food labels. Dietary guidance messages are an opportunity to communicate with consumers and remind them about important health and nutrition information.

The new dietary guidance message about beans comes on the heels of the 2005 USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which recommend Americans eat more than three times the amount they currently consume - three cups per week.

Beans, such as Kidney, Pinto, Navy and Black, are naturally low in total fat, contain no saturated fat or cholesterol, and provide important nutrients such as fiber, protein, calcium, iron, folic acid and potassium. Their health benefits are consistent with many existing FDA-approved health claims, specifically those related to heart disease and cancer. In addition to health benefits related to heart disease and cancer, studies also suggest eating beans as part of a healthy diet may help to manage diabetes and help cut the risk of high blood pressure and stroke.
For recipes, fact sheets and nutrition information on beans, visit the ADBB website.

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