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Spilling the beans on a 'hot food trend'

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

When Irina Ioffe wanted to lose weight, she jumped on the "bean wagon."

"Beans were just a great alternative to carbs, and it worked really well," she explained.

Ioffe didn’t slim her waist with just any beans. She prefers pulses, a specific part of the legume family made up of dried beans, lentils and chickpeas.

Ioffe loves the versatility of pulses.

"You can pretty much make just about anything with beans," she said.

Companies are taking notice. A whole host of products is hitting the market. You’ve got your pulse pastas, chips, even bean-based desserts like cookie dough and brownie batter.

The bean craze has gone global. The United Nations is even pushing a pulses-based diet and declared 2016 the International Year of Pulses.

That’s for good reason, according to nutritionist Laurie Meyer.

"[Pulses] are nutritious; they have all these nutrients we’ve identified -- protein, minerals, B vitamins, fiber, antioxidants," she said. "So, they really are what we consider a superfood.”

One thing to watch for: beans can be high in calories, so, like with anything, watch your portion size. Ioffe didn’t find the calories to be an issue. In fact, she insists pulses helped her drop weight.

Meyer says there is research in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that backs Ioffe up. 

"People who ate a serving of beans a day, that’s 3/4 cup of beans, actually lost more weight than people who didn’t eat any beans at all."

If stored in a cool, dry place, pulses can last up to a year.  Meyer adds it’s also important to prepare beans properly, so they are easy to digest.  It’s best to soak beans -- usually overnight or up to 24 hours.

Ioffe plans to keep her finger on the pulse of the trend.

"I’m really glad that more people are coming on board and that companies are really listening to consumers.”

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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Gary HarperGary Harper is the senior consumer and investigative reporter for 3 On Your Side at KTVK-TV.

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Gary Harper
3 On Your Side

With more than 20 years of television experience, Gary has established himself as a leader in the industry when it comes to assisting viewers and resolving their consumer-related issues. His passion and enthusiasm have helped him earn an Emmy for Best Consumer Reporter from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He’s also garnered several Emmy nominations

He has negotiated resolutions with companies of all sizes, including some of the biggest corporations in the nation.

Gary has successfully recouped more than $1 million for viewers around the state, making 3 On Your Side one of the most popular segments on KTVK and the station's Web site.

He's best known for investigating and confronting unscrupulous contractors. In fact, many of his news reports have led to police investigations and jail time for those who were caught. Viewers, as well as the companies and people he investigates, regard him as consistently being thorough and fair.

Gary has been with KTVK-TV since 1997. Prior to his arrival in Phoenix, he worked for WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was as an anchor and reporter.

Gary is from Chicago, but launched his television career in Lubbock, Texas, after earning a broadcast journalism degree from Texas Tech University. Following his graduation, he was quickly hired by KLBK-TV in Lubbock, where he enterprised and broke numerous exclusive reports. His aggressive reporting in Texas helped garner him Best Reporter by the Associated Press.

Gary has been married since 1994 and is the proud father of two sons. When he's not helping viewers, Gary is busy catching up on his favorite college and professional football teams as well as cheering on his beloved Texas Tech Red Raiders.

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