Managing weight with whole grains

Research shows that consuming while grains may help with weight management.

Let’s face it – the holidays are associated with food. It’s a fact known to all, when we consume more food, we tend to gain weight. If you’re looking for a way to eat healthier and manage your weight, consider incorporating more whole grains into your diet.

What are whole grains? The part of the grain that farmers harvest is called the kernel. The kernel has three parts: Germ, bran (or outer hull) and the endosperm. To be labeled “whole grain,” a food must contain all three parts in the same proportion as the original grain kernel. The best way to tell if a food consistency is whole grain is to check the ingredient list on the food label. The first ingredients listed are present in the greatest amount by weight – so look for the first ingredient to be whole wheat, whole oats, whole rye or whole grain barley. Don’t be fooled by healthy sounding words like enriched, wheat flour, cracked wheat, multi-grain, stone ground, bran or seven-grain. If it doesn’t say whole grain or whole wheat, it’s not the real thing.

A growing body of evidence supports that people who integrate more whole grain into their diets tend to have a healthier body weight and gain less weight over time, compared to those who don’t. Research also shows that whole grains offer additional health benefits, including helping to reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) MyPlate recommends making half our grains whole – the exact amount needed depends on a person’s age, sex and level of physical activity.

Michigan State University Extension recommends these tasty ways to increase the serving of whole grains in your diet:

  • Keep whole grain cereal handy for quick breakfasts.
  • Mix wild or brown rice or barley into soups and casseroles.
  • Make sandwiches with whole grain bread or rolls.
  • Choose whole grain pita bread or tortillas for wraps.
  • If whole wheat pasta seems heavy, try the whole wheat blended pastas.
  • Substitute whole wheat flour for part of the white flour in favorite recipes.

For more resourceful information on while grains visit the Whole Grains Council and MyPlate websites.

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