Examples of Grains for Weight Loss

understand grains for weight loss
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Nutrition experts often recommend that we eat plenty of grains as part of a healthy diet. But do you know how to select the best grains for weight loss and good health? Use these examples of grains to help you improve your diet and lose weight.

What are Grains?

Foods that are made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley or any another cereal grain are grain products. Grain products include bread, pasta, oatmeal, breakfast cereals, tortillas, muffins and other baked goods.

When selecting grains and grain products, it is important to remember that whole grains are preferable to refined grains.

What is the Difference Between Refined and Whole Grains?

Grain products can be designated into two different types: whole grains and refined grains. Brown rice and oatmeal are examples of whole grains.  Whole grains contain the entire grain kernel.

White rice and white bread are examples of refined grains. Refined grains are sometimes called refined carbs or refined carbohydrates. These grains have been processed. The refining process removes the bran and germ. The refinement process also gives these foods a finer texture and prolongs their shelf life.

Some eaters prefer the taste and texture of refined grains. But the refining process removes important nutrients such as B vitamins, fiber, and iron. So nutrition experts recommend that we limit our intake of refined foods or refined grains.

Fiber and Nutritional Information About Grains

Whole grains are far more nutritious and wholesome than refined grains. Whole grains supply more vitamin E, B, and folic acid than refined grains. And they provide important minerals such as magnesium, zinc, and iron.

Dieters especially benefit from whole grains because whole grain foods are full of fiber.

Both soluble and insoluble fiber help your diet in different ways. But both types of fiber help you lose weight because fiber-rich foods help you to feel full longer throughout the day. Feeling full may help prevent overeating.

Most refined grains are enriched, When a food is enriched it means that nutrients that were originally found in the food have been returned to the product during processing. For example, an enriched white bread may have had B vitamins and iron added back into it during the manufacturing process.

Fiber, however, is not added back to enriched grains. For dieters, this may be a problem. If you don't get enough fiber in your diet, you may have a harder time losing weight.

So how do you know if your food is a whole grain or an enriched grain? To identify whole grain foods, look for words such as "whole grain," "whole wheat," "rye," or "whole oats" as the first ingredients. You may find these ingredients in foods that say "good source of fiber" on the front of the package.

And how do you identify refined or enriched grains? If a grain product does not include whole grains, then it is refined. But some refined grains are enriched and some are not. The USDA recommends that you check the ingredient list on refined grain product's packaging for the word "enriched." Refined grains that have not been enriched offer the least nutritional value of any grain and they tend to be higher in sugar and calories.

Examples of Grains

Examples of whole grain food choices include:

  • brown rice
  • oatmeal
  • popcorn
  • whole wheat cereal
  • muesli
  • whole wheat bread
  • whole wheat crackers
  • whole wheat pasta
  • whole wheat tortillas
  • wild rice

Some examples of less common whole grains include:

  • amaranth
  • millet
  • quinoa
  • sorghum

Examples of refined foods to avoid or choose less often include:

  • crackers
  • corn and flour tortillas
  • grits
  • noodles
  • spaghetti
  • macaroni
  • pitas
  • corn flakes
  • white bread
  • white rice

These examples of grains may help you to make better choices when you grocery shop. You can print it out and keep it handy or bookmark the page on your smartphone. Simple changes to your bread and cereal choices can have a big impact on your diet.

*This article was edited by Malia Frey, About.com Weight Loss Expert

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