Enhancing nutrition with pulses: defining a recommended serving size for adults
Pulses, defined as dry-harvested leguminous crops, include several varieties of beans, peas, lentils, and chickpeas. There is no consensus around a recommended serving size of pulses within a balanced diet, which prevents the development of transregional strategies that rely on consistent messaging to drive increases in consumption. The purpose of this review is to define and disseminate an appropriate target for a minimum serving size of pulses on any given day that can be used in international or collaborative strategies to promote the consumption of pulses. Relevant data were reviewed to examine dietary guidelines across jurisdictions, determine consumption levels of pulses across the globe, evaluate the nutritional composition of pulses in the context of dietary nutrient insufficiency, and assess the impact of pulses on dietary quality. Across a variety of pulses, 100 g of cooked pulses aligned with most regional serving sizes for pulses and provides significant levels of nutrients that are underconsumed by specific age-sex groups. Moreover, 100 g of pulses provides a number of nutrients that qualify for nutrient content claims under regional regulatory frameworks. The data demonstrate that 100 g or 125 mL (0.5 metric cup) of cooked pulses is a reasonable target for aligning strategies that promote the dietary and nutritional attributes of these legumes.