Looking for healthy foods to eat to lose weight? Whether you want to lose weight, or are trying to maintain a healthy body weight, whole grains are an important part of your overall approach. You might be thinking, “Wait, aren’t grains basically carbs? Aren’t carbohydrates bad? Don’t they cause weight gain?” The answer is “yes” for refined grains, and “no” for whole grains.
Refined Grains Explained
The refined grains used in commercial flours and processed foods have most of the nutrients removed. When the shell of a grain is cracked and the nutrient-dense germ and bran are exposed to air, they will begin to expire. So, during the commercial milling process, these parts of the grain are removed in order to give the flour a longer shelf life. Once these nutrients are removed, bad carbs are what remain. Eating foods with unhealthy carbs – fiber stripped, nutrient-stripped – can cause not only weight gain, but promote a variety of other health issues as well, including diabetes and heart disease.
The Whole Grain Difference
Whole grains are different in that they contain healthy carbohydrates, which promote good health by delivering a variety of vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytonutrients. Whole grains also digest more slowly than refined grains. A slower digestion process doesn’t cause a spike in insulin levels, so you’ll be less hungry as you eat. When eating an appropriate quantity of food, whole grains can help you curb overeating, resulting in weight loss and overall health.
The Harvard School of Public Health’s ‘Diet and Lifestyle Change Study’ revealed that people who increased their intake of whole grains, whole fruits (not fruit juice), and vegetables gained less weight over the course of the 20-year study period. Similarly, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that participants that consumed whole grains during their 12-week study experienced a greater decrease in percentage body fat in the abdominal region than those that consumed refined grains. Finally, the American Heart Association reported “including whole grains in your diet plan may help you reach or manage a healthy weight.”
While the nutritional value of whole grains makes them good for everyone, clearly they are an important food for those concerned with their weight. By incorporating more whole grains into your daily diet, you can keep your weight in check and build your overall health.
Here are some simple and delicious recipes to get you started: