Low carbohydrate diets are currently extremely popular due to their promise of rapid weight loss and the ability to eat high-fat foods such as meats, cheese and eggs. However, a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that removing whole grains from your diet could be one of the worst things a woman can do if she is trying to lose weight.
The 12-year study of 70,000 middle-aged women reveals that women who consumed the most whole grains weigh less and are also less likely to gain weight or become obese. The study states “Evaluating dietary composition in 74,091 middle aged nurses, Dr. (Simin) Liu and colleagues at the Harvard School of Public Health found that women who had the greatest intake of dietary high fiber whole grains had 49% lower risk of major weight gain over a 12-year period than those with the lowest intake of whole grains.”
According to Dr. David Katz, M.D., director of the Yale Prevention Research Center, “The results of this study reaffirm what is suggested by the National Weight Control Registry, the best source of information we have about long term maintenance of weight loss. People who keep weight off almost universally rely on a healthful, balanced diet rich in whole grains and complex carbohydrates, along with regular physical activity.”
Whole Grain Facts
The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that less than 10% of Americans consumes the recommended three servings of whole grains daily, despite the growing evidence that has repeatedly shown the benefits of eating whole grains. Additionally, 95% of Americans are failing to consume the recommended amount of fiber each day. Both the World Health Organization and the Department of Health and Human Services have also released reports showing that higher dietary fiber is helpful in the context of achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight.
This research also reemphasizes the role of oatmeal, and eating breakfast as part of a healthy diet that promotes weight control. “We learn more about the health benefits of whole grains, like oats, every day,” notes Mark B. Andon, Ph.D., FACN, former Director of Nutrition for Quaker Oatmeal. “We know oats are great for heart health and lowering cholesterol, but science continues to prove that eating oatmeal is a smart choice for helping to keep weight in check.” Which Foods Are Good Sources of Whole Grains?
Many people are confused about which foods contain whole grains and how to integrate them into their diet. Here are some tips to that should help:
- Look for a “Whole Grain” seal on the front of food packages.
- Look for ingredients such as whole oats, oatmeal, whole wheat, graham flour, corn, or bulgur (cracked wheat) in the first line of the ingredient list.
- Select whole grain versions of your favorite foods, such as breads, pasta, waffles, muffins and bagels.
- Choose corn tortillas instead of white flour ones.
- Substitute quick or old-fashioned oats for up to one-third of the flour called for in recipes for baked goods.
- Eat unbuttered popcorn when you want a whole grain snack.