Benefits Of Lentils For Weight Loss 

What are lentils?

Lentils are the dried seeds of the lentil plant, a legume (beans). It is well known for its lens-shaped edible seed, which has the most significant dietary compositions, containing macro- and micro-nutrients. Lentils exist as a spectrum of colors, which includes yellow, orange, red, green, brown, or black.

Types of lentils 

  • Brown Lentils
  • Green Lentils
  • Red and Yellow Lentils
  • Black Beluga Lentils
  • Puy Lentils (French Lentils)

Do lentils help you lose weight?

Benefits of lentils for weight loss

Randomized controlled experiments have typically shown that eating pulses can help you lose weight when coupled with a reduce your caloric intake. But there hasn’t been many randomised trials, and  most of them were brief (3-8 weeks for whole pulses and 4-12 weeks for pulse extracts. 

Overall, there is some evidence that pulses have a positive impact on short-term satiety and weight loss during intentional energy restriction. Yet, additional research is required in this area. Especially longer term (>1 year) studies that examine the ideal amount of pulses to consume for weight control, and incorporate behavioural components to help overcome barriers to pulse consumption.1

According to other studies, including dietary pulses in a diet may be a good way to lose weight because it produces small weight reduction even when a diet is not meant to be calorically restricted. Future research is required to ascertain how dietary pulses affect the sustainability of long-term weight loss.2

Other health benefits of lentils

  • Prevents gut-associated diseases
  • Best dietary food for patients with obesity and CVD
  • Lentil in the diet prevents iron deficiency anemia
  • Reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke
  • Stabilize blood sugar and help reduce blood cholesterol

Nutritional facts

One cup of cooked lentils provides approximately:  

  • 230 calories
  • 18 grammes of protein
  • 1 gramme of fat
  • 16 grammes of fibre 

It is well known that lentils are a rich source of protein, giving the human body both needed, and unessential amino acids. Lentils provide the second-highest starch percentage (47.1%),  amongst the 23 pulses (beans, peas, and lentils), as well as a higher proportion of insoluble dietary fibres. Both soluble and insoluble fibre can be found in abundance in lentils. Foods rich in soluble fibre can lower blood cholesterol and assist to balance blood sugar. As a result, the risk of heart diseases and strokes are decreased. Similarly, insoluble fiber-rich foods are beneficial for digestion and can help prevent constipation and other digestive problems.

Lentils are well-known for being an excellent source of prebiotics and contain significant amounts of prebiotic carbohydrates (12.3–14.1 g/100 g of dry lentils). This supports the maintenance of the gut microbiome and guards against gut linked diseases. Additionally, lentils have a high potassium level while being relatively low in fat and sodium (1:30 ratio of sodium and potassium). This makes it the ideal nutritional choice for people with obesity and cardiovascular disease. 

Lentil seeds are a great source of iron. Studies have indicated that including cooked lentils in your diet will help avoid iron deficiency anaemia. Iron is a vital mineral that you need every day, especially if you are a teen or pregnant. It is commonly known that lentils contain several vitamins and minerals, including thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, folate, and tocopherols, as well as zinc, copper, manganese, molybdenum, selenium, and boron. One cup of cooked lentils contains 90% of the daily requirement for folate. 

Vitamin B has been demonstrated to aid in the prevention of some cancers. This is crucial for pregnant women as it aids in the body's ability to create new cells. Furthermore, according to the United States Department of Agriculture, lentils have an average amount of vitamin K of 5 g/100 g (USDA). However, adults only need about 80 g of this vitamin every day. Lentils are considered safe for CVD patients receiving anticoagulant treatment due to their low vitamin K levels. Overall, lentils are regarded as one of the best food sources with health-improving properties against a variety of ailments.3

Side effects and other concerns

Lentils are a generally healthful addition to a balanced diet. Though, it is important to keep in mind that lentils and other legumes both include naturally occurring substances referred to as "anti-nutrients." One of these is phytic acid, which binds to minerals like iron and zinc and makes them more difficult for us to absorb. In contrast to corn, wheat, and soybeans, lentils have a reduced phytic acid level. Furthermore, soaking and boiling might lessen these anti-nutrients.

There have been reports of lentil allergies in some parts of Europe, most notably in Spain, where they are reportedly more widespread than peanut allergies. This is assumed to be connected to the fact that in Spain, lentils are frequently used for weaning. In addition, you may be more susceptible to developing a lentil allergy if you already have an allergy to other legumes like chickpeas and peas.

If you are concerned, please consult your GP or registered dietitian for guidance.


Lentils come in many different varieties  and are eaten all over the world. Iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and B vitamins are all abundant in lentils. They are also a fantastic source of fibre and plant-based protein. By promoting weight loss, decreasing homocysteine buildup in the body, and enhancing cholesterol and blood pressure levels, lentils may help protect your heart. Split lentils can be prepared in 5–10 minutes, whereas other varieties take 20–30 minutes to prepare. Lentils are quick to cook. In addition, lentils don't require pre-soaking like many other legumes.


  1. Kim SJ, de Souza RJ, Choo VL, Ha V, Cozma AI, Chiavaroli L, Mirrahimi A, Blanco Mejia S, Di Buono M, Bernstein AM, Leiter LA, Kris-Etherton PM, Vuksan V, Beyene J, Kendall CW, Jenkins DJ, Sievenpiper JL. Effects of dietary pulse consumption on body weight: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Am J Clin Nutr. 2016 May;103(5):1213-23. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.115.124677. Epub 2016 Mar 30. PMID: 27030531.
  2. McCrory MA, Hamaker BR, Lovejoy JC, Eichelsdoerfer PE. Pulse consumption, satiety, and weight management. Adv Nutr. 2010 Nov;1(1):17-30. doi: 10.3945/an.110.1006. Epub 2010 Nov 16. PMID: 22043448; PMCID: PMC3042778.
  3. Ganesan K, Xu B. Polyphenol-Rich Lentils and Their Health Promoting Effects. Int J Mol Sci. 2017 Nov 10;18(11):2390. doi: 10.3390/ijms18112390. PMID: 29125587; PMCID: PMC5713359.
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Misha Siddiqui

Master's degree, Integrated immunology, University of Oxford, England

2nd year PhD candidate at institute of cancer research and AstraZeneca applying deep learning to understanding immunometabolism using multi-omics. I have a masters in integrated immunology from the university of oxford and undergraduate in applied medical sciences from UCL.

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