Whole grains promote weight loss

December 1, 2004 in Nutrition Topics in the News, Weight Management

Whole grains promote weight loss

Dieters looking for tricks to lose weight got more bad news earlier this month with the publication of a study showing diets that restrict certain food groups do not take any extra weight off. But adding whole grains may help, another study showed.

A study of 80 overweight or obese people showed that they all lost the same amount of weight regardless of whether they were on an extra low-fat diet or one targeted at the so-called glycemic index, which aim to cut foods that affect insulin.

Despite all the controversy about diet ... a calorie is a calorie is a calorie, said the lead researcher from Tufts University in Boston.

The Heart Association has stuck with its recommendations that weight loss requires a boring but effective approach - eating less, exercising more, and basing the diet on vegetables, fruits, whole grains and little fat or meat.  But the group regularly supports research aimed at seeing if there may indeed be quicker ways to weight loss, because losing weight is one of the best ways to prevent heart disease.

The researchers put 80 volunteers, with an average age of 54, on various carefully controlled diets for three months. One diet got 15 percent of calories from fat, another was closer to the U.S. average with 30 percent of calories from fat and another had a low glycemic index. All the dieters cut their usual intake by about a third, but they could ask for snacks.

After the first three months they were told to stay on their diets but were not watched so carefully, and followed for a year.

All the dieters lost 6 to 8 percent of body weight, and all improved their cholesterol levels. The average weight loss was 7 to 8 kg or about 17 pounds. But the low-glycemic diet was harder to follow, the study reported.

The theory behind diets to control glycemic index is that some foods affect the ability to process sugar more than others. White bread and processed sugar have a high glycemic index and turn into blood sugar quickly; while whole grains have a low glycemic index and are converted to blood sugar more slowly.

A second study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, showed that people who added whole grains such as whole oats and whole-wheat bread to their diets lost more weight.

A research team from the University of Tennessee and the Harvard School of Public Health studied 27,000 men and found the more whole grains they ate, the more weight they lost while dieting.

They said fiber in the diet may fill people up faster than processed grains and perhaps by helping to regulate blood sugar levels. Moreover, because of their high fiber and water content, whole-grain foods contain fewer calories gram-for-gram than does (the same) amount of corresponding refined-grain food.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.