Whole Grain Benefits Include Weight Loss
A new U.S. study that appears in the October issue of the Journal of Nutrition has found that eating whole grain benefits the waistline, and well as improving health overall.
Until this one, there have been few studies that examined the relationship between fiber that comes from different foods and body fat in older adults.
This latest work looked at how much whole grain bread, brown rice, popcorn and other good-for-you grains, as well as fruits and veggies were eaten by 177 men and 257 women of an average age of 68.
By using a detailed questionnaire, the team found that participants didn’t eat a lot of whole grain foods, only averaging 1.5 servings a day. Dietary fiber intake averaged 18.6 grams each day.
Whole grains came mostly from bread and cold breakfast cereals, and women were more likely than men to eat them. As a point of reference, the U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines call for older people to eat three or more servings of whole grain foods, 21-30 grams of fiber each day. Clearly the subjects in the study were eating less than they should.
The study participants also had the percentage of body fat, and their trunk fat mass measured by a technique known as whole body, dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry.
Even after adjusting for factors like physical activity, a higher intake of whole grains was associated with lower amounts of total body fat, and fat around the middle. Those who ate the highest amounts of whole grains had about 2.4% less total body fat, 3.6% less abdominal fat than those who ate the least.
The difference seemed to be related to fiber in cereal, but not the fiber that’s part of fruits and veggies. When the team looked solely at cereal fiber, those who ate the most had 3.2% less body fat; 5% less belly fat than those who ate the least amount of this kind of fiber.
Studies have shown that a good diet in your golden years cuts your risk of life changing diseases like osteoporosis, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and even some cancers. As we age the demands for energy might be less, but your body still needs to take in key nutrients.
There are some easy ways to get more whole grains in your diet –
– Substitute a whole grain for a refined grain product – whole grain bread vs. white bread, brown rice vs. white rice.
– Add whole grain ingredients, such as pastas, whole wheat or oat flour, to your favorite recipes.
– Snack on ready to eat whole grain cereals, popcorn or whole grain snacks instead of the ones you’re eating today.
– Shop smart by reading labels and look for one of the following whole grain ingredients – brown rice, bulgur, graham flour, oatmeal, whole grain corn, whole oats, whole rye, whole wheat, wild rice.
Researchers admit that more work is needed to learn how whole grain benefits from food might regulate energy intake. It will also be important to look at different types of fiber and how they affect the way body fat is distributed.