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.


An ounce of 100% whole grain weighs 16 g; "whole grain" stamps on products mean they contain at least 50% whole grains per serving.


Natalie Digate Muth, MD, MPH, RD

"Natalie Digate Muth, MD, MPH, RDN, FAAP, is a board-certified pediatrician and obesity medicine physician, registered dietitian and health coach. She practices general pediatrics with a focus on healthy family routines, nutrition, physical activity and behavior change in North County, San Diego. She also serves as the senior advisor for healthcare solutions at the American Council on Exercise. Natalie is the author of five books and is committed to helping every child and family thrive. She is a strong advocate for systems and communities that support prevention and wellness across the lifespan, beginning at 9 months of age."

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