The Best Whole Grains For Weight Loss

Whole grains and weight loss go hand in hand, right? It depends. Some whole grains are better than others.

If you want to shed pounds, some whole grains are good for you. And some, well, you’ll probably need to limit them or you’ll take in way too many calories.

What whole grains are best for weight loss?

We love the nutty, crunchy taste of whole grains, but some can sabotage your weight-loss goals. Learn which whole grains are best for weight loss, and which you should probably avoid.

Whole grains and weight loss: What’s good

The good-for-weight-loss whole grains are those, like brown rice, whole oats, unhulled barley, and buckwheat groats, that have not gone through the grinding, or processing, of their kernels into flour.

Best Whole Grain Flour for Weight Loss

When whole grain kernels are ground into flour, they’re a danger to our waistlines. Ounce for ounce, we’re getting about three times the calories of whole grains in their natural state. The best whole grains for weight loss are unground and unprocessed.

These whole grains contain only about 500 calories per pound. That’s a lot of food. It means you can eat them until you’re comfortably full without going overboard on calories.

Whole grains and weight loss: What’s not

The not-good-for-weight-loss grains are those, like whole-grain breads, whole-grain bagels, and whole-grain crackers and chips, in which the kernels have been ground into flour.

When this processing happens, the product becomes very calorie dense. Whole-grain breads have a calorie density of around 1,200 to 1,500 calories per pound. Whole-grain, fat-free chips are 1,600 to 1750 calories per pound.

That’s right, ounce for ounce, you’re getting about three times as many calories compared to eating unprocessed whole grains.

And, boy oh boy, do those ounces disappear quickly. Think about it. We can easily put away five slices of whole-wheat bread in one sitting. Five bowls of oatmeal? No chance.

“Dry” versus “wet”

Another way to think about it is “dry” versus “wet.”

Highly processed, ground whole grains are all dry grains, which makes them more compact (and less filling).

By contrast, unground grains like whole oats and brown rice are cooked in water (therefore wet), which adds bulk and a lot more stomach-filling satisfaction, but not more calories.

Best Whole Grain Cereal for Weight Loss

Two whole-grain breakfasts with fresh fruit. Can you guess which one is “wet”? Which one is “dry”? And, which one is a best whole grain for weight loss?

One exception to the “flour rule,” points out Pritikin Longevity Center dietitian Dr. Jay Kenney, is whole-wheat pasta. “That’s because whole-wheat pastas are not consumed dry, and the processing tends to slow their digestion compared to breads, crackers, pretzels, and dry cereals. So whole-wheat pastas leave you feeling satiated on fewer calories.”

Keeping your stomach full and happy is a very good thing because it keeps hunger from taking over your brain and taking you places you don’t want to go.

Bottom Line

For losing weight, first focus on fresh fruits and vegetables. Make sure you’re eating up to nine servings and more a day. Yes, lots of them! Calorie for calorie, veggies and fruits have more nutrients and fewer calories than anything else.

And, as more than 100,000 people have learned at the Pritikin Longevity Center over the last four decades, round out your daily eating plan with other healthy whole foods, including fiber-rich legumes (beans); starchy vegetables like potatoes, yams, and corn; nonfat dairy foods; fish; lean meat like white poultry; and yes, the right whole grains.

Best Whole Grains For Removing Belly Fat

Whole grains are an excellent choice for health and weight loss. Learn the research-based facts from the doctors and dietitians at Pritikin. Best Whole Grains for Less Belly Fat

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