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Study Links Whole Grains to Higher Metabolism

by Natalie Digate Muth, MD, MPH, RD on Apr 17, 2017

Food for Thought

Health experts have long agreed that whole grains are much better for us than heavily processed, or refined, grains. Now a new study suggests that eating whole grains can help with weight loss, too.

In the study, researchers fed a group of middle‐aged adults for 6 weeks. Half of them ate a refined‐grain diet with no whole grains and 18–24 grams of fiber per day, while the other half had zero refined grains but ate 170–245 g (10–15 servings) of whole grain and 35–45 g of fiber per day. The diets were designed to have enough calories to maintain the volunteers' weights. The only differences were in whole‐grain consumption and fiber content.

By the end of 6 weeks, the whole‐grain group's metabolism had jumped 100 calories per day compared with the refined‐grain group. The calorie deficit was due to higher metabolism and to higher energy content in stool.

The whole‐grain diet paralleled the 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which recommend that we get 14 g of fiber for every 1,000 calories consumed, and that at least half of all our grains come from whole grains.

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About the Author

Natalie Digate Muth, MD, MPH, RD

Natalie Digate Muth, MD, MPH, RD IDEA Author/Presenter

Natalie Digate Muth, MD, MPH, RD is a board-certified pediatrician, registered dietitian, and ACE Health Coach. She is committed to providing evidence-based nutrition and fitness information to health professionals and consumers alike in a way that is logical, practical and directly applicable to readers’ lives. She has authored over 100 publications and book chapters, all which are based on the latest scientific evidence and presented in a manner that is easy-to-understand and apply. She is Director of Healthcare Solutions for the American Council on Exercise (ACE) having written the nutrition chapters for each of ACE’s textbooks, the ACE Fitness Nutrition Manual and Specialty Certification, and recorded several Webinars and online courses. Furthermore, as a spokesperson for ACE, the largest fitness certifying and advocacy organization in the country, she informs broadcast and print media outlets throughout the U.S. on pertinent nutrition and fitness issues. She is author '"Eat Your Vegetables!" and other mistakes parents make: Redefining How to Raise Healthy Eaters'. She presented a similar topic at IDEA World 2009; the video is available for purchase through IDEA. Certifications: ACE, ACSM and NSCA