Now here’s another compelling reason to swap white rice with brown in your everyday meals.

New research from a team at Tufts University suggested that simply switching from refined grains to whole grains can lead to a world of difference in weight loss, reducing calories retained during digestion and accelerating metabolism.

How Whole Grains Help Slash Excess Weight

"This study helps to quantify how whole grains and fiber work to benefit weight management and lend credibility to previously reported associations between increased whole grains and fiber consumption, lower body weight and better health," said first author and nutrition scientist Dr. Phil J. Karl in a statement.

Whole grains, along with high-fiber intake, have been previously linked to glycemic control and better insulin sensitivity. When it comes to assisting in weight loss, however, the benefit is met with criticism since there has been no data from controlled metabolic studies.

This new research conducted an eight-week comparative study that comprised 81 males and females from ages 40 to 65. Two weeks before the research, they all consumed the same foods, with individual calorie needs in consideration. From there they were randomly assigned to eat either a refined or whole grain diet for the study period.

Tracking the subjects’ weight, metabolic rate, fecal calories, blood glucose, hunger, and satiety for eight weeks, the researchers found that those who followed a whole-grain diet lost nearly an extra 100 calories a day because of greater resting metabolic rate as well as fecal losses. This is compared to those who consumed refined grains without a lot of fiber.

The extra calories lost were likened to a 30-minuted brisk walk or the enjoyable taste of an extra small cookie.

The findings, discussed in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, confirmed that calorie loss was not due to the digestion of added fiber intake but fiber’s effect on how other food calories are digested.

The Matter With Grains

The grain group includes foods such as rice, wheat, oats, and barley. Whole grains have the outer grain layer intact, and they are found in foods such as whole wheat flour, oatmeal, as well as brown rice.

On the other hand, refined grains such as white flour and white rice are starched, processed, and broken down into a finer texture through milling for increased shelf life. This process eliminates dietary fiber, different B vitamins, and iron.

According to U.S. dietary guidelines, people should swap refined grains with whole grains, with a recommended daily intake of the latter of at least 4 ounces for men and 3 ounces for women. This translates to about 1.5 to 2 cups of brown rice every day.

A food label issued by the Whole Grains Council may indicate the percentage of whole grains present in a product.

A related study in the same journal issue — and from the same researchers — saw that people consuming whole grains demonstrated modest improvements in healthy gut microbiota and specific immune responses. Their findings also linked whole-grain consumption with reduced risk of diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and some forms of cancer.

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