Welcome to week 2 of our 7-week program! In this series, we are focusing on the 7 nutrition and lifestyle factors that are the usual (and hidden) culprits behind pandemic pounds. Today, in part 2 let’s uncover some facts, myths, studies, and talk about all things “Grains”.
Food for thought! I ask my vegetarian clients this question but truly speaking applies to everyone…
Are you a Vegetarian? Or a Grainatarian?
Hold on to your answer and let’s talk in detail about refined vs. whole grains and is one type better than another.
What are refined grain products and how do they make their way to your plate?
Most bakery and baked goods, for example, white bread, bagel, croissants, donuts, flour tortillas, and many fast foods are made from refined white flour. These refined grain products lose their nutrients in processing making them devoid of B vitamins, many minerals, essential fatty acids, and fiber. Fiber and nutrients lost in processing make refined white flour a simple carbohydrate responsible for causing a spike in blood sugar. Regular consumption of products containing refined white flour will cause havoc on blood sugar regulation. Another problem with commercial baked goods is the presence of hydrogenated fats and shortenings. This unnatural man-made fat is responsible for many chronic diseases. Hope this makes a strong case for removing refined flour products from your routine!
If whole grains are healthy, can I eat as much as I want?
Unprocessed rolled oats, steel-cut oats, whole wheat bread or tortillas/rotis, parboiled or brown rice or wild rice, and quinoa (classified as a pseudo-grain) are among the commonly consumed whole grains. Multiple studies have concluded that whole grain consumption is associated with lower BMI and a reduced risk of obesity. The benefits of whole grain can be attributed to it being loaded with B vitamins, vitamin E, magnesium, iron, fiber, and phytonutrients. And while there are benefits to whole grains, there can be too much of a good thing…eating too much of anything can cause weight gain. As with any food, whole grains will not cause weight gain unless your plate primarily consists of rice/pasta/bread/tortilla. That is when grains even whole grains can become a culprit.
And in my practice, I have routinely noticed, especially among vegetarians and vegans, if other food groups are not carefully incorporated it is pretty common for the plates to get filled with pasta or bread or rice or tortilla, many of which could be refined leaving a person overfed & undernourished.
If you are eating refined grain products like white bread or white flour tortilla or basmati rice routinely then I urge you to substitute them with whole-grain products like whole wheat or oats bread, brown rice, or sprouted wheat tortilla. Replace refined with whole grain products.
I am not against enjoying all grains. But be mindful of your grain consumption – even if it is whole grains. Remember, eating too much of anything (including whole grains) can cause weight gain. Reduce grains in your plate overall.
Let grains be the size of a side dish. And vegetables be the main dish. If I can start a public health movement- that would be to “EAT MORE VEGETABLES”.
Stay tuned for 5 more actionable, practical as well as sustainable nutrition and lifestyle factors – to add/reduce/remove/replace – to rid pandemic pounds.
In case you missed my #1 Actionable solution to overcome stubborn pounds, click here.
Cheers to a healthier you, Niti