A Light At The End Of The Tunnel:
So for a long time now, we’ve all been told a few conflicting things.
1) Fast-carbs are bad for you and make you fat.
2) Eat whole-grains because they’re good for you.
But studies have thus-far been less than entirely-conclusive.
Especially since the whole-grainiest people also have the healthiest habits.
But that’s all changed, because a recent study went the extra methodology mile and found something very interesting about the parts we’ve been missing…
3 Main Problems With Refined-Grains:
1) In their quest to look pretty and make many floofy things, those despicable millers remove all kinds of things from the grain when they refine it.
-Like the Bran & the Germ, both of which provide vitamins, phytochemicals, healthy-fats, and fiber.
2) Ground-up wheat, etc. are already too much like a pile of sugar in the first place but without all the other bits, the comparison gets even closer.
3) When fast-carbs go into your digestive system, it quickly raises your blood-sugar, your insulin over-compensates, and then you get fatter.
Studies Had Selection-Bias, Until Now:
-And as-stated before, the only thing that seemed to explain whole-grain consumers being leaner was they were the type to have healthier lifestyles in the first place.
But apparently, this most recent study is different.
And that’s in-large-part due to the tighter-than-normal restrictions the researchers put on the subjects.
After initial evaluations, all subjects were put on very strictly-controlled diets without calorie-defict, and told to continue their normal activity and exercise.
Less Is More:
What resulted was a net-loss in calories absorbed.
-Which is very interesting, because it gets to the heart of any nutrition plan after the basics are covered: Maintaining a sense of Fullness.
And the next result is just plain bizarre:
Increased metabolic rate.
More Whole Grains, Higher Metabolism?:
Yup somehow, probably through a combination of increased levels of vitamins & fats from the germ+bran, along with higher gut-flora activity,
the subjects on the whole-grains showed a mystifyingly higher metabolism.
And that speculation leads us to an interesting point in a different study.
Whole grains are good for your microbes, because they have tons of fiber. -And what do many types of good gut-bugs eat as their food?
-That’s right!: Fiber.
Fiber & A Healthy Gut:
A lot of the time it’s the indigestible kind that doesn’t directly feed us anything, it feeds only the good bugs.
So although the recent study doesn’t say it explicitly, that’s probably why metabolism went up.
And conversely, it’s another reason why you shouldn’t be eating any refined-grains. You’re either starving or killing-off a very helpful part of your body’s ecosystem.
-And increasing inflammation and other problems in yourself, and potentially your children.
Now For The Bad News:
This probably won’t be the last word on fast-carbs; even of the whole-grain type.
They will still be more likely to make you fat than lean.
And until we get some more simple and explicit-labeling, it will be harder than it should be to get foods where the grain component is 100% Whole.
-Instead of some cheat, where the manufacturer puts in a trivial amount so they can make the semi-phony claim of “Made With Whole Grain.”
Even The Whole Grains Council’s stamp does not mean every component is 100% whole.
It’s Harder To Get Whole Grains Than It Should Be:
The best way to tell now is to ignore the fancy labels or marketing weasel-words and read the nutrition facts label.
Ingredients have to be listed by weight. So you want the word “Whole” to be very high up in that list, preferably at the top, and in as many entries as possible.
And though some types are almost always whole, The Great Harvest Bread Co. has a good list of other terms that indicate what state an ingredients are in.
Things To Look For On The Nutrition Label:
None of these changes are likely to work serious magic,
But if you can check those ingredient label, and avoid things like “enriched” or “bleached”,
You just might be able to get some of that gut-loving branny-germy goodness into your life and slim down a tiny bit without even trying.
Check out the rest of the details in the Links:
Photo Credits: “Golden texture in perspective”, by Odan Jaeger
• Source: Tufts
• via: WebMD
• More Coverage: GHBC-How to tell if a product is whole grain
• Source Study: AJCN-Substituting whole grains for refined grains in a 6-wk randomized trial favorably affects energy-balance metrics in healthy men and postmenopausal women