According to a new study, incorporating whole grains into your diet and replacing refined, processed white flours can help trim your waistline and improve overall health. Read the article here. Participants who consumed three or more servings of whole grains a day AND limited their refined grains to less than one serving per day, had 10% less belly fat or visceral fat. This type of fat is also referred to as android fat (apple-shaped) and has been linked with the development of metabolic syndrome, which includes unhealthy cholesterol levels, elevated blood pressure, a large waist circumference, and insulin resistance that could lead to heart disease or Type II diabetes.
At the resort, we serve a wide variety of whole grains. The Whole Grain Council recommends to Make half your grains whole, but I think it is a better goal to make all your grains whole.
The whole grain kernel includes the outer fiber-filled bran, the endosperm (the starchy part used in refined flour) and the germ. The whole package provides fiber, protein and essential vitamins, and minerals that are missing from white or processed flour foods. Enriched flours only add back a few of the nutrients that were depleted during processing including B vitamins and iron. If the bran and endosperm are removed, 25% of the protein is lost along with 17 key nutrients. It is important to choose whole grains over enriched or fortified white flour not only because it is more nutritious, but because the fiber helps to fill you up which helps aide with weight loss by eating less overall!
The National Academy of Science recommends getting 25g/day of fiber for women and 38g/day for men. Increase the amount of fiber you consume slowly so that your digestive system is able to adjust and also remember to drink plenty of fluids so you do not become dehydrated and to aide with keeping the food bulky and soft, so it can easily move through your system.
There are a variety of different whole grains to try. The Whole Grain Councils website (click here) is a wonderful resource to learn about these unfamiliar grains. It is helpful in determining which grains are gluten-free for those who are unable to tolerate gluten and it also explains the history of the grain and how to prepare it at home.
Here are a few wonderful dishes with less familiar grains to get you started (feel free to reduce the amount of oil in these recipes to reduce the overall calories):
Quinoa Pilaf with Cranberries and Almonds