When your diet is in need of help, turning to the latest fad diet to help manage your weight is last thing you should do. Instead, turn to whole grains. Your health and your waist line will thank you.
So what is it about whole grains that make them so important to your diet? A whole grain consists of three parts: the bran, the germ, and the endosperm. Bran, the outer shell, is rich in fiber and B vitamins. Germ, or the seed, contains vitamin E, heart healthy fats, and still, more B vitamins. Endosperm, or the starchy part of the grain, contains protein, more fiber, and B vitamins. There is several health benefits of consuming whole grains including reducing blood cholesterol levels and lowering the risk of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.
Foods high in fiber give you the feeling of fullness faster and keep you fuller longer. The B vitamins found in whole grains play an important role in the body’s metabolism. B vitamins help to release the energy that is stored in protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Combine the benefits of eating fewer calories and having a high functioning metabolism and you have a significant tool in supporting your weight management goals.
When deciding how to add whole grains to your diet, consider the foods that you already eat and decide where you can start substituting in a whole grain food. Some options include eating brown rice instead of white rice, whole wheat pasta instead of white pasta, and whole wheat or whole grain breads or bagels in place of white bread or bagels. Other foods that are excellent sources of whole grains are oatmeal, popcorn, barley, whole rye, whole grain cornmeal, and quinoa.
Be a proactive shopper when you start your shopping for whole grain foods as labels on food packages can be deceiving. To locate a food item containing whole grains look for the word “whole” preceding grains in the ingredients list. You also want whole grains to be listed as the first ingredient because ingredients are listed by the amount the food contains, with the most abundant ingredient being listed first. If it is not listed as the first or second ingredient, the food likely does not contain a significant amount of whole grains. Also look for FDA-approved health claims that are placed on packages. In order for a package to carry the FDA-approved claim, it must contain at least 51 percent whole grain ingredients. Look for the Whole Grain Council’s whole grain stamp, which will indicate how many grams of whole grains there are in each serving. If all the grains are whole grains, the stamp will include a 100 percent banner.
Whole grains are a vital part of healthy, well-balanced diet that supports healthy weight management and helps to protect against serious health conditions. Adding them to your diet does not need to be difficult, but be sure to read the ingredients list to ensure that it matches the claims made on the packaging.