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Whole Grains and Weight Loss

  • 22nd October 2012 |
  • Author: Iris

“Can Eating Whole Grains Help You Lose Weight?”


Eat Whole Grains Lose Weight

Research and studies show that eating whole grains have tremendous health benefits, especially when it comes to losing weight.  To successfully lose weight and keep the weight off, develop an eating plan that incorporates foods from all food groups to provide the body with the nutrition it needs, while still watching calorie intake.

Including whole grains which are high in fiber and nutrients into your dietary plan will help you lose weight faster.  A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that dieters who ate whole grains regularly lost a higher percentage of body fat than dieters who did not eat whole grains.

Definition of Whole Grains

Whole Grain KernelWhole grains are foods or products that contain the entire grain kernel or seed.  One hundred percent of the original kernel or seed must be present to qualify as a whole grain.  The whole grain kernel or whole grain seed consists of the bran, germ, and endosperm.  If the kernel or grain seed has been cracked, crushed, or flaked, then it must retain nearly the same relative proportions of bran, germ, and endosperm as the original grain to be called “whole grain”.

Within the whole grain there are nutritious B vitamins, iron, selenium, magnesium, and fiber.  When whole grains are milled or processed into refined grains, they are stripped of the bran and germ.  The nutrients packed into the bran and germ are lost during the refining process, resulting in the loss of dietary fiber (also known as cereal fiber).

Some refined grains are enriched or fortified with vitamins and minerals (like folic acid, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and iron) lost during the refining process but all the fiber cannot be replaced.  Some food manufacturers may fortify whole grain foods where regulations permit the addition of folic acid.  A lot of whole grain, ready-to-eat breakfast cereals are fortified with folic acid.  However, refined grains are not as healthy a food choice as whole grains.

Benefits of Whole Grains

wheat stalksThere are so many wonderful benefits derived from eating whole grains.   Eating whole grains regularly can help you lose weight.  If you are following a healthy weight-loss plan, you can lose weight faster by incorporating more whole grains into your diet … high-fiber foods have fewer calories.  Foods high in fiber also take a longer time to chew, take a longer time to digest, and they make you feel full faster than other foods.

According to the Harvard School of Public Health, fluctuating blood sugar levels can lead to cravings, overeating and weight gain.  The vitamins and minerals found in whole grains can help regulate your metabolism and blood sugar levels.  Refined grains such as bread, white rice, pastries, sodas, and other highly-processed foods are digested quickly, which can lead to spikes and drops in blood sugar levels.  Fluctuating blood sugar levels can lead to weight gain.

Because whole grains usually take a longer time to digest, the blood sugar levels are more even.  Regulating the blood sugar levels curbs the appetite which deters you from binge eating and helps you lose weight.  The fiber found in whole grains also keeps the bowels regular and can help prevent or manage diabetes and heart disease.

List of Whole Grains

There are many varieties of whole grains that you can eat to meet the recommended daily intake or allowance.  The following whole grains (when consumed in the original form that includes the bran, germ and endosperm), are examples of generally accepted whole grain foods and flours.  This is not a comprehensive list of all whole grains but a list of the most common grains consumed:

Enjoy More Whole Grains

Aim to eat whole grains for at least half of your daily grain servings.

  • Swap in different whole grains, like quinoa or whole wheat couscous, in place of white rice or pasta in a recipe.
  • Try a new cooked whole grain at breakfast, like warm barley or millet.
  • Choose foods with “whole grain” or “whole wheat” in the ingredient list on the package
  • Add oats, corn or buckwheat to muffins, pancakes or other homemade baked goods.
  • Snack on popcorn popped on the stove in olive or canola oil

Nutritional Labels and Servings

Nutrition LabelBecoming an educated consumer is very important when it comes to selecting healthy foods.  Some packaging may list that they have whole grains added but that does not mean it is a whole grain food.  Read the nutritional labels carefully and look for products that state that they are 100% whole grain.  In addition, the words “whole” or “whole grain” should appear before brown rice, oatmeal, corn, bulgur, rye, oats and wild rice.

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, a serving of whole grain is defined as the following:

  • 1/2 cup cooked brown rice or other cooked grain
  • 1/2 cup cooked 100% whole-grain pasta
  • 1/2 cup cooked hot cereal, such as oatmeal
  • 1 ounce uncooked whole grain pasta, brown rice or other grain
  • 1 slice 100% whole grain bread
  • 1 very small (1 oz.) 100% whole grain muffin
  • 1 cup 100% whole grain ready-to-eat cereal

Statistics show that America is one of the fattest nations.  Over one-third of Americans are obese.  The average American eats less than one daily serving of whole grains, and some studies show that over 40% of Americans never eat whole grains at all.   It’s probably safe to say that if more Americans ate whole grains, we may be able to reverse the course we’re on an become a thinner nation.


Can whole grains help you lose weight?  Absolutely!  Lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains should be regular staples in your daily diet if you want to maintain or lose weight.  Based on recent studies and research findings, whole grains are healthier and more nutritious than refined grains.  The more fiber found, the better it is for your heart, cholesterol, weight loss, and overall health.

Losing weight successfully requires eating a healthy, well-balanced diet and exercising.  Whole grains need to be incorporated into any weight loss plan or healthy diet.  When you incorporate them into a sensible eating plan and get a little exercise, you will find that whole grains can help you lose weight.



  1. Most people A lot of people think snack foods when you are on a diet means eating only lettuce,celery, or carrot sticks, but take a look at fresh fruits and nuts for healthy alternatives.

  2. Iris says:

    I agree! Incorporating fruits and nuts, in addition to vegetables, will give you more variety and a more all-around diet to keep things interesting.

  3. TT says:

    This idea of eating “plenty” or a “lot” of “whole” grains to lose weight never tells the whole truth.
    The truth is that there are PLENTY of people who should NOT be eating grain based foods at all.

    There is ever increasing research showing that there are a whole myriad of people who do not have celiac disease, but are sensitive to gluten, which is present is a LOT of grains.
    The symptoms can be very similar to celiac disease but not as severe typically.

    However, as related to weight there is a big reason why obesity has been on the rise in modern societies. That reason is the severely increased grain diet, which is the result of modern manufacturing and modern farming that pushes high yield, low cost grain based products on the population as a “healthy” food to eat.

    This has become so in-“grained” into our society that it’s become the basis of the food pyramid.
    That pyramid needs to be stopped, and the truth should be told.

    Processed grains are NOT as healthy as we are being told, especially for people who gain weight easily.
    Processed high gluten grains, along with sugar, will get people overweight and will make sure they stay that way even if they exercise.

    6 months ago I decided to try a no gluten diet. After reading that there is a link between being overweight and gluten it seemed I fit the pattern for people who should stop eating gluten full foods.
    I started to become over weight around the age of 7-8yrs.
    After that I struggled with being overweight. Even though I ate the same foods as my thin/average weight friends, and even thought I engaged in the same exercise and activities as my friends, I was fat and they were not.
    Why? We now now that “slow” or “fast” metabolism does not exists, then something else has to explain it.

    It’s GLUTEN. Refined and whole grain wheat products permeate the grocery stores as if grains are what human’s should be eating all the time and in abundance.
    WRONG. There is a LARGE portion of the human population that should not be eating these processed and “whole grains” simply because our bodies handle gluten and sugar are extra rich energy sources that make our bodies store excess energy in the form of fat. That is after all what fat is, it is stored energy.

    Combine that with certain humans who are more light highly fuel efficient cars and what happens?
    We can do the same amount of work, or energy expenditure, on a SMALLER amount of energy.
    And any excess energy is then stored in our fat cells.
    That does not happen in the majority of humans. Most can take in a certain energy amount and will use it all up in a day of normal activity, and with then need to re-fuel the next day.

    For humans like me, we can go LONGER on less. BUT, the other problem is that gluten rich diets create a chemistry that makes my body store all the extra energy that comes from gluten as some type of “special” energy/food source differently than if that same amount of energy came from protein or fruit and vegetable sources that have NO gluten.

    When I stopped and severely limited my intake of gluten based grains, and lowered my refined sugar intake, my weight has dropped drastically. And, this has happened without exercise.
    I do NO MORE energy output than I did when I was eating as most people do. The difference is that I severely cut out gluten based foods.

    In 6 months I have lost 75lbs.
    All the while eating plenty of meat/protein, nuts, cheeses, fruits and vegetables.
    I do allow myself 1 day per week to eat something with gluten, and for me that is typically pizza.
    But, I only do that once per week and for one maybe 2 meals.

    Eating in this manner, within 1 month I stopped having to take high blood pressure medicine, and my blood sugar levels have become NORMAL where they had become borderline type 2 diabetic.

    The problem I have with the type of information contained on this website is that it promotes eating plenty and lots of “whole grain” foods as if it will work for everyone.
    The truth is it will NOT be the righ thing to eat for a LOT of our population.
    If you are overweight, then you need to try at least 1 full month of NOT eating ANY gluten grain based foods, and severely limit refined sugar foods.

    Within 1 month you will know if you have a gluten sensitivity that is causing your overweight-ness and other not good health conditions.
    It is worth 1 month of your life so that you can become healthy and learn if gluten based foods are something that you simply should NOT eat.

    Website like this need to give this information as clearly as they promote the consumption of grain based foods.
    Yes, the grain food industry may lose some business, but people will gain their health.
    That’s not profitable, but too bad.
    If you’re going to promote eating gluten grains as healthy without a disclaimer, then you deserve to lose some market share.
    Start creating foods and prepackaged items that do NOT contain gluten and refined sugar and you’ll get market share back.

    By not telling people the whole truth it leaves a lot of people eating the very thing they should NOT be eating, and they wonder why they can’t lose weight.
    All the while, average weight people will put psychological and social stigma’s onto us by saying, “You have an eating disorder”, or “You’re just eating your feelings”, and make overweight people feel bad about themselves as people, when what the truth may be is that you are simply eating food that you should NOT be eating even though the “industry” is selling everyone on the idea that everyone should be eating “whole grains” and that it’s healthy for everyone.
    And that, my friends, is simply very very far from the truth.

    Grains containing gluten may very well be the very thing that is making you fat and then resulting in unhealthy conditions.
    There is not reason to hate yourself and think there is something emotionally wrong with you, just because you don’t look a certain way.
    What may really be wrong with us is that we weren’t told the truth about what certain foods may be doing to us and what certain foods have already done to us.

    Be careful what you accept as truth.
    Just because a multitude of websites tell us that “whole grains” are oh so good for us, and can even help us “lose weight”, that is by NO means the truth of the matter.

    I changed what I eat, and the the thing I changed was to not eat gluten based foods, and that has resulted in my health becoming better at age 48 and not worse.
    And, the additional benefit is that I am losing a very good amount of fat weight along with getting healthier.
    Try it yourself.

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