Edamame & Weight Loss

by Erin Coleman, R.D., L.D., Demand Media
    Soybeans provide numerous health benefits.

    Soybeans provide numerous health benefits.

    Edamame, or soybeans, are loaded with nutrients -- some of which can help you shed pounds when consumed as part of a reduced-calorie diet. However, don’t overdo it when it comes to eating soy protein. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine reports that soybeans contain isoflavones, compounds that are similar to estrogen.

    Increased Satiety

    Since edamame is rich in protein and fiber, it’s an excellent choice when you want to successfully shed pounds. Protein – present in high amounts in edamame -- increases satiety, report researchers who conducted a study published in 2009 in the “Journal of Nutrition.” Fiber also helps boost satiety, which means you’ll feel fuller for longer periods of time. For this reason, fiber helps lower your obesity risk and enhances weight loss, according to a review published in 2009 in “Nutrition Reviews.”

    Higher Energy Expenditure

    The protein in edamame provides other weight-loss benefits. The researchers who conducted the 2009 study in the “Journal of Nutrition” report that boosting your protein intake actually helps your body burn extra calories. Edamame contains about 8.5 grams of protein in each one-half-cup portion, notes the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Nutrient Data Laboratory -- which can drastically boost your protein intake. The recommended dietary allowance, or RDA, for women is 46 grams of protein daily.

    Calorie Content

    Edamame isn’t necessarily a low-calorie food, but can be used in any reduced-calorie weight-loss plan. According to the USDA’s Nutrient Data Laboratory, one-half cup of prepared edamame contains about 95 calories. To effectively shed pounds, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute suggests active women and those weighing more than 164 pounds need 1,200 to 1,600 calories daily, while inactive women weighing in at 164 pounds or less should aim for 1,000 to 1,200 calories daily to effectively drop weight.

    Concerns

    Although edamame and other soy-based foods are likely safe for many women, since soy proteins contain estrogen-like compounds don’t overdo it. MayoClinic.com reports that soy is often discouraged in women with ovarian, breast and uterine cancers – and endometriosis. MayoClinic.com also notes that it’s possible that too much soy may increase your risk for blood clots. Therefore, don’t go overboard when eating edamame to shed pounds, and ask your doctor before choosing soy if you have a hormone-sensitive health condition.

    About the Author

    Erin Coleman is a registered and licensed dietitian. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in dietetics and has extensive experience working as a health writer and health educator. Her articles are published on various health, nutrition and fitness websites.

    Photo Credits

    • Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images