Is Chana Good for Weight Loss?

Finding an Indian household without chana is rare; it is a staple in many dishes, from curries to dal and vada. Chana has a nutty flavour and a grainy texture, making it a great addition to many dishes.

In addition, its protein, vitamins, minerals, and fibre makes it a great vegetarian or vegan meat substitute. Given the current global concern about obesity, many want to reduce their weight to promote health and fitness. One can do this through a healthy diet and an active lifestyle.

For centuries, chana (also known as chickpeas) has been a staple in many cultures, and for good reasons. Experts believe that chana may also have potential benefits for weight loss. 

This article will explore the weight loss benefits of chana and how to incorporate it into your diet to maximise these benefits. Furthermore, it will discuss the nutritional composition of chana, the different forms it is available in, and tips for cooking and preparing it.

Different Forms of Chana

Chana, also known as chickpeas, have been around for centuries and is a type of legume or pulse. They are highly nutritious, and people consume them in many forms, making them suitable for people of all ages. In India, there is an array of different chana varieties, some of the most popular being:

Kabuli Chana

Is India’s most widely cultivated and consumed variety of chana. It is large and has a smooth, light-coloured seed coat. People typically use it in salads, curries, and as a snack.

Desi Chana

Is a smaller, darker variety of chana that is native to India. It has a rough and speckled seed coat. People typically use it in traditional Indian dishes such as chana masala and chole.

Bengal Gram

Is another variety of desi chana that is smaller in size. It has a yellowish colour. People often use it to make dal and traditional Indian sweets.

Kala Chana

Is a smaller, black chana with a strong, nutty flavour. People often use it in curries and also to make chana dal.

Chana Dal

Is the split and hulled version of desi chana. One can use it to make a traditional Indian dish called chana dal.

Sabut Chana

Is a variety of whole chana used to make curries and is also used as a snack.

These are the most popular varieties of chana in India. However, people also grow and consume some other types on a smaller scale. It is important to note that each variety has its unique taste, texture, and nutritional profile.

Chana for Weight Loss – How Does it Benefit?

If you’re aiming to lose weight, chana is an excellent food to include in your diet. This legume has many benefits that can help you manage your weight.

Promotes Satiety

Snacking between meals is good for health as long as you eat a nutritious snack. However, it is important not to overindulge. 

Research shows that legumes, such as chana, can make you feel full for extended periods. As a result, it can help decrease calorie intake, leading to weight loss. 

Rich in Protein

Chickpeas, containing a high protein level, are beneficial for building and maintaining muscle mass. It is crucial, as muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue, leading to a higher metabolism and aiding in weight loss. Furthermore, the proteins found in chana can help to increase overall health and fitness. 

Protein provides energy, helps maintain the feeling of fullness, boosts metabolism and decreases cravings, all of which can contribute to weight loss. A study has also shown that eating foods high in protein can lead to weight loss.

High in Fibre

Studies have long established the link between dietary fibre consumption and weight loss. That is because fibre passes slowly through the body, which reduces hunger and decreases appetite.

As a result, it also helps to improve waste expel from the intestines. Chickpeas are particularly beneficial in this regard, as they are an excellent source of soluble and insoluble fibre. 

Furthermore, the fibre in chickpeas can help keep you feeling full for longer, ultimately reducing food intake and aiding in weight loss.

Low Fat

With only 3 grams of fat per 100-gram serving, cooked chickpeas are an ideal choice for those looking to lose weight. In comparison to other sources of protein, chickpeas are relatively low in fat, making them an excellent option for weight loss.

Contains Good Fat

Many foods contain ‘bad fats’, such as trans fats and saturated fats, which can promote weight gain. However, chana dal includes a large percentage (70%) of healthier fats, including polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats.

These fats do not lead to weight gain but can help you lose weight. A study has further suggested that these fats can improve heart health and aid in anti-inflammatory processes.

Low Glycemic Index

Chickpeas have a low glycemic index which means the body absorbs and digests them slowly. As a result, they do not cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels. Furthermore, it can help prevent cravings and overeating, contributing to weight loss.

Rich in Antioxidants

Chana is rich in antioxidants, specifically flavonoids. As per research, flavonoids can help to reduce inflammation in the body and promote overall health. In addition, some studies also show that flavonoids can aid weight loss.

The HealthifyMe Note

It is essential to understand that losing weight is a multifaceted experience that involves diet, exercise, and a general lifestyle. Therefore, including chana in an appropriate and measured diet and regular physical activity can contribute to weight loss.

Various Ways to Consume Chana

There are several ways to incorporate chana (chickpeas) into an Indian diet for weight loss. These include: 

  • Chana dal, a popular dish made from split and hulled chana with vegetables and spices for added flavour and nutrition. 
  • Chana Masala, a classic Indian dish made from whole chana cooked with tomatoes, onions, ginger, and spices.
  • Chana chaat, a street food made from boiled chana mixed with onions, tomatoes, and spices.
  • Chana and vegetable soup, a hearty and healthy soup made from chana and vegetables.
  • Chana and sprouts salad, a salad made from boiled chana and sprouted legumes .
  • Chana hummus, a healthy alternative to regular hummus made by blending cooked chana, tahini, lemon juice, garlic and spices.
  • Chana in curries is a great way to add protein and fibre to your meal.

The HealthifyMe Note

Chana is a nutritious and healthy addition to a weight loss diet. It is high in protein, fibre, and other essential nutrients, which may help to reduce hunger and increase feelings of fullness, supporting weight management. One can find this ingredient in soups, stews, and curries. However, remember that the final result of weight loss depends on balancing calorie intake and expenditure. Therefore, paying attention to portion sizes, the foods you eat, and your lifestyle is vital.

Chana Recipes to Try for Weight Loss

Roasted Chana Salad

  • Serving: 1
  • Preparation time: 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • Roasted chana: 1 cup
  • Chopped tomato: 1 tsp
  • Chopped onion: 1 tbsp
  • Chopped green chilli: ½ tbsp
  • Salt: ¼ tsp
  • Mustard oil: ¼  tsp

Method

  • Add 1 cup of roasted chana to a mixing dish.
  • Mix in all of the chopped ingredients.
  • Toss the ingredients and your salad is ready

Kabuli Chana Salad

  • Serving: 1
  • Preparation time: 15 minutes
  • Cooking time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • Boiled kabuli chana: ½ cup
  • Chopped tomato cubes: ⅛ cup
  • Chopped cucumber cubes: ¼ cup
  • Spring onion: ⅛ cup
  • Chopped mint leave: ⅛ cup
  • Chopped coriander leaves: ⅛ cup
  • Low-fat curd: ½ tbsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste

Method

  • To prepare mint dressing, add coriander, mint, and fat in a mixer and blend with a bit of water.
  • In a mixing dish, combine chana, tomato, cucumber, and spring onion, as well as salt and pepper, and mix thoroughly. Toss the salad with the mint dressing.
  • Serve immediately and enjoy.

Conclusion

Being overweight can lead to severe medical issues such as cardiovascular problems, kidney failure, and other health concerns. To maintain a healthy body and shed off excess weight and fat, altering your diet is one of the most effective solutions. 

Chana is a nutritious legume that you can include in your diet to help with weight loss, as it is rich in essential nutrients. You can incorporate it into your meals in many different ways.

However, it is vital to remember that different individuals respond differently to the same food. Therefore, it is best to consult a professional nutritionist to get the best advice.

HealthifyMe can help you get a tailored individual weight loss plan to meet your health objectives, as your well-being is a priority.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. Does chana reduce belly fat?

A. Yes, consuming chana, may contribute to weight loss due to their high fibre and protein content and low-calorie count. Adding them to a weight loss diet may significantly decrease body weight, waist circumference, and other metabolic health indicators. However, keep in mind that losing weight is a complicated process and is affected by multiple factors, such as diet, exercise, and lifestyle habits.

Q. Which Chana is best for weight loss?

A. If you’re looking to lose weight, the Desi or Kala variety of chana is an excellent choice. It is smaller and contains fewer carbohydrates and calories than the Kabuli variety. Not to mention, chana is also packed with protein and fibre. It also has a low glycemic index which will help keep you feeling full for longer.

Q. Is chana high in fat?

A. A 100-gram serving of cooked chickpeas, or chana, contains around 3 grams of fat, making them relatively low-fat. However, it is essential to be aware that consuming too much chana in a high-fat diet may be counterproductive to weight loss and detrimental to overall health.

Q. Is boiled chana good for weight loss?

A. Boiled chana is an excellent choice for weight loss, and it’s packed with folate, minerals, and fatty acids – more than any other healthy snack out there! Eating just a few of them can help keep you feeling full for longer.

Q. Is chana fat or protein?

A. Chana is a legume rich in protein, vitamins B6 and C, folate, niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, and minerals such as manganese, phosphorus, iron, and copper, as well as fibre and carbohydrates.

Q. How many grams can you eat per day?

A. One can consume 100-150 grams of chana (chickpeas) daily when following a balanced and calorie-controlled diet and exercising regularly for weight loss. However, it is better to consult a healthcare professional or a dietitian to determine what amount suits your requirements and dietary restrictions.

The Supporting Reference 

1. Polak R, Phillips EM, Campbell A. Legumes: Health Benefits and Culinary Approaches to Increase Intake. Clin Diabetes. 2015 Oct;33(4):198-205. doi: 10.2337/diaclin.33.4.198. PMID: 26487796; PMCID: PMC4608274.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4608274/

2. Moon J, Koh G. Clinical Evidence and Mechanisms of High-Protein Diet-Induced Weight Loss. J Obes Metab Syndr. 2020 Sep 30;29(3):166-173. doi: 10.7570/jomes20028. PMID: 32699189; PMCID: PMC7539343.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7539343/

3. Miketinas DC, Bray GA, Beyl RA, Ryan DH, Sacks FM, Champagne CM. Fiber Intake Predicts Weight Loss and Dietary Adherence in Adults Consuming Calorie-Restricted Diets: The POUNDS Lost (Preventing Overweight Using Novel Dietary Strategies) Study. J Nutr. 2019 Oct 1;149(10):1742-1748. doi: 10.1093/jn/nxz117. PMID: 31174214; PMCID: PMC6768815.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6768815/

4. Li Y, Hruby A, Bernstein AM, Ley SH, Wang DD, Chiuve SE, Sampson L, Rexrode KM, Rimm EB, Willett WC, Hu FB. Saturated Fats Compared With Unsaturated Fats and Sources of Carbohydrates in Relation to Risk of Coronary Heart Disease: A Prospective Cohort Study. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2015 Oct 6;66(14):1538-1548. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2015.07.055. PMID: 26429077; PMCID: PMC4593072.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26429077/

5. Panche AN, Diwan AD, Chandra SR. Flavonoids: an overview. J Nutr Sci. 2016 Dec 29;5:e47. doi: 10.1017/jns.2016.41. PMID: 28620474; PMCID: PMC5465813.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5465813/

6. Hurt RT, Wilson T. Geriatric obesity: evaluating the evidence for the use of flavonoids to promote weight loss. J Nutr Gerontol Geriatr. 2012;31(3):269-89. doi: 10.1080/21551197.2012.698222. PMID: 22888842.

Chana for Weight Loss: A Research-Based Guide for Your Healthhttps://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22888842/

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