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Whole-Grain Foods for Belly-Fat Reduction

Whole-Grain Foods for Belly-Fat Reduction

Ditching belly fat may be a simple matter of choosing the right rice or bread. And the choice to make? Whole grains.

You probably already love whole grains for their heart-healthy, disease-defying superpowers. So research on their belly-fat-busting abilities should vault whole grains to the top of your grocery list.

A One-Grain Guy
In fact, the more whole grains you add to your diet in place of refined grains, the better off your waistline will be. In a study where scientists reviewed the diets of close to 3,000 men and women, they found a strong correlation between belly fat and grain choice. The whole-grain lovers tended to have less belly fat than refined-grain buyers—and had smaller waists, too. But eating more whole grains had a fat-curbing effect only when it was combined with a low intake of refined grains. So eating that whole-grain cereal at breakfast doesn't mean you can slack off and have the white-bread sandwich at lunchtime. (Here's another stomach-slimming secret: Cook with this type of fat.)

The Magic Number
Just how many whole-grain servings do you need to stay slim? Researchers think at least three servings daily is a good goal. That can be achieved with half a cup of steel-cut oatmeal in the morning and a couple of slices of whole-grain bread for your sandwich at lunch. But not just any whole-grain bread. Find a loaf that's high in fiber. Researchers suspect the waist-friendly qualities of whole-grain products come, in part, from the appetite-steadying fiber found inside. Whole grains also have lots of magnesium, which is good for improving insulin sensitivity. (Find out which flavonoids may help curb belly fat.)

Medically reviewed in January 2019.

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