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How can eating whole grains help me lose weight?

Judy Caplan
Nutrition & Dietetics
Whole grains keep you full and are loaded with fiber. The fiber in whole grains cause a slower rise in blood sugar and does not lead to sudden dips which can cause sugar cravings. You need carbohydrates for energy but you need to limit your servings, even of whole grains, to lose weight.
Marjorie Nolan Cohn
Nutrition & Dietetics

Whole grains have more fiber than other grains. For example, a slice of whole grain bread has 3-6 grams of fiber where white bread has 0-1 grams of fiber. Fiber is known to be filling. This is true because fiber can’t be digested. Humans don’t have the enzymes that breakdown fiber, therefore it moves through your digestive tract undigested, this provides bulk and helps you feel full longer. If you feel full longer after meal you are more likely to eat less over the course of the day.

Angela Lemond
Nutrition & Dietetics

Whole grains tend to have more fiber and fiber decreases the rate at which your body digests food. This may help you feel satiated longer. It is recommended that adults consume 48 grams of whole grains daily. A good source of whole grain is any food that contains at least 8 grams of whole grains. However, the listing of how much whole grains a food contains is not currently required to be on a food package.

Karen Ansel
Nutrition & Dietetics

Whole grains promote weight loss in several ways. Because whole grains are made from complex carbohydrates they are digested slowly so they help keep you full longer than quickly digested processed grains like white bread, rice and pasta. What's more, they actually take extra energy to break down. When researchers at Pomona College in California fed volunteers equal calorie sandwiches on either white bread or whole grain bread the volunteers that ate the whole grain sandwiches required twice as many calories to digest their sandwiches. 

While it's easy to get whole grains at breakfast from foods like cereal and whole wheat toast, it's not always as easy to get them later in the day so you need to strategize. Order your sandwich at lunch on whole wheat bread or in a whole wheat tortilla or have a burrito bowl with brown rice, instead of white rice. At dinner, experiment with different grains like whole wheat couscous and pasta, quinoa or polenta. You'll find you stay fuller and feel less hungry.

Jessica Crandall
Nutrition & Dietetics
Eating more whole grains throughout the day can assist in weight loss because of the fiber associated with the product. The fiber will help keep us full longer and will take longer to digest than refined grain products. Carbohydrates in moderation are important as well, and keeping the portion to a quarter of the plate according to the My Plate guidelines.
More related information: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Amy Jamieson-Petonic
Nutrition & Dietetics

Whole grains can provide additional vitamins, minerals and fiber that can assist you with weight loss. Fiber, found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains (such as 100% whole grain bread, pasta and cereal and brown rice) tend to make us feel full and take in less calories…  A 3500 calorie deficit will lead to one pound of weight loss.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.