Friday, February 10, 2017

Eat Whole Grains to Lose Weight?

If you are looking to lose weight, is low carb eating better?  A recent study shows again that it depends on the types of carbs you are eating. It is generally known that people who eat whole grains and less processed foods like whole fruits and vegetables are slimmer and have less body fat than those who eat mostly refined grains.  Some studies have linked higher whole grain intake to lower risks for heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer. 

Can eating whole grains increase your metabolism?
A study completed at Tufts University in Boston and published online Feb 8, 2017 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found some interesting results.  A group of people given a whole-grain diet were found to absorb fewer calories from their food, and to have a higher resting metabolism, than a group of people given a refined-carb diet.  The effect on their metabolism and calorie usage was the same as if the people on the whole-grain diet had walked one mile daily, according to the researchers.

The researchers stated that this does not prove that whole grains cause weight loss.  However, one researcher, Connie Diekman, director of university nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis, stated that “it provides good evidence that consumption of whole grains is an important part of a healthful eating plan.”  She also added that the study shows how whole grains add to fullness during eating and appear to increase metabolism.

How to know if a food contains whole grains
If you would like to add whole grains to your diet, realize that most people will get whole grains from whole wheat bread, oatmeal or a whole grain cereal, but you can also look for whole grain pasta or use brown rice. 

Read the first ingredient on the label, as the ingredients are listed by weight.  It should say “whole wheat flour” or “whole oats”.   Sometimes you will see a label which states the product is made from “100% whole grain”.  

Be careful of ingredients like “wheat flour” and “enriched flour” as these both mean white, refined flour.  Also look for the amount of dietary fiber on the label.  If it is only 1 gm dietary fiber per serving, that food item does not have much whole grain in it.  Whole wheat bread should have at least 2 gm of dietary fiber per slice.  Whole grain cereal should have 2 to 4 gm of dietary fiber per serving.

The current Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend eating at least three servings of whole grains daily.  Your friendly Topeka Pharmacy’s Wellness Program can help you answer any questions you may have about how to improve your eating to improve your health!