It’s no secret that whole grains protect against a host of life-threatening conditions, from heart disease and cancer to diabetes. Maintaining a healthy body weight plays a key role in preventing chronic illnesses such as these. Now, new research reveals that whole grains facilitate weight loss, giving us another reason to make whole grain foods part of our daily diet.
Lose Weight with Whole Grains
Published in the journal, Gut, Danish researchers conducted a randomized trial in which obese and overweight individuals followed either a whole grain or refined grain diet. Those who followed a whole grain diet lost weight, while those who followed a refined grain diet gained weight. The researchers report that this is likely due, in part, to the fact that whole grains are more satiating, or make you feel full and more satisfied than refined products do. Foods higher in fiber also help you feel full longer. Whole grains also reduced inflammation among participants.
Whole Grains to Burn More Calories
Another study, published in the March, 2017, issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, reports that whole grains help your body burn more calories. After a six-week trial, study participants consuming a whole grain diet significantly increased their resting metabolic rate (metabolism, or how many calories the body burns at rest), as compared to those consuming a refined grain diet. Essentially, those who ate whole grains burned nearly 100 more calories a day! The findings help explain how whole grains reduce body weight.
Whole Grains Prevent Childhood Obesity
It turns out that adding whole grains to the diet during pregnancy doesn’t only benefit the expectant mother. Among moms with gestational diabetes, Harvard researchers found that substituting just one serving of refined grains each day with whole grain foods reduced the child’s risk of being obese or overweight at age seven by 10%. Even more powerful, consuming more than 4.3 servings of refined grains each day during pregnancy nearly doubled the risk of the child being overweight or obese at age seven, as compared to mothers who ate fewer than 1.8 servings of refined grains every day.
Given the prevalence of obesity among American youth, adding whole grains to children’s diets becomes vital to driving lifelong healthy eating habits and in preventing early onset of chronic diseases such as diabetes. Unfortunately, recent research reveals that while whole grain consumption among high-income adolescents doubled between 2005 and 20012, that increase is not evident among their low-income peers. This highlights the need for education among a segment of our population that is particularly vulnerable to childhood obesity.