There are a few concerns that always seem to pop into people’s heads when it comes to eating more plant-based foods. First and foremost, is the question of whether or not you can get enough protein with just plants, which is a valid concern considering that protein is an essential nutrient that helps facilitate many bodily functions. Luckily, it’s easy enough to get enough protein, even when meat and dairy are out of the picture. Nowadays, you can find high-protein, plant-based burgers in the frozen aisle of your grocery store, but if that isn’t your thing, then there are plenty of whole food, plant-based sources of protein. The second concern is often whether or not you can stay full without meat. Well, a recent study by the University of Copenhagen revealed that if you’re hungry, you might want to forget the hamburger and go for a veggie burger made from beans. How?

In the study, a sample of 43 men were given three different breakfast meals on three different days with each meal occurring two weeks apart. Each breakfast included a protein patty with a mashed vegetable on the side. The first combination was a high-protein meat patty and potato mash, the second was a high-protein legume-based patty paired with a split pea mash, and the third was a legume patty with a lower protein content than the other patties with a split pea and potato mash. Surprisingly, a majority of the men reported that they felt fuller for longer after eating the high-protein legume patty. But, this isn’t all just talk. The study also revealed that participants consumed 12 to 13 percent fewer calories for lunch when they had the high-protein legume patty versus when they consumed the high-protein meat patty or the low-protein legume patty.

To break it down even further, both the high-protein meat patty and the high-protein legume patty boasted the same amount of protein, the legume-based patty had a whopping 25 grams of fiber per 100 grams compared to the 6 grams of fiber per 100 grams in the meat patty. Fiber, when combined with food that has a high protein content, which is abundant in plant-based foods like beans and legumes, but not so much in meat, was likely the reason the test subjects stayed full for so long.

Considering all the other issues associated with eating meat, such as greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation associated with cattle grazing, antibiotics and hormones fed to livestock, all on top of animal welfare concerns, there are so many reasons it might be time to consider eating more plant-based foods. So, next time you’re feeling hungry, you might want to go for that lentil burger.

Lead image source: Ljupco Smokovski/Shutterstock