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Grains not to blame for weight gain

Eating grain-based foods, like bread, does not lead to weight gain, urges dieticians.

Grains not to blame for weight gain

If you’re on a diet and feeling hungry, low on energy and unmotivated to see it through, here’s some good news: you can eat your grains and lose weight too.

Michelle Broom, Accredited Practising Dietitian and Grains & Legumes Nutrition CouncilTM (GLNC) Nutrition Program Manager, said elimination eating is reaching fever pitch with the ‘free-from’ movement leading the way for trends like the ‘low carbohydrate, high fat’ (LCHF) diet.

She urged caution with the new LCHF diet phenomenon that is being hailed as the secret to weight loss, warning that it is not backed by science.

“The science shows that ‘low carb, high fat’ diets do not offer any advantage for long term weight loss compared to other calorie controlled diets that include core grain foods like bread as a source of carbohydrates,” Mrs Broom said.

Whole grains and high fibre grains are an important part of a balanced higher protein weight-loss eating plan because they provide essential nutrients. Grain-based foods, like breads and breakfast cereal, and in particular whole grains, are usually low in fat, good sources of protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals.

Grain foods are especially important for people wanting to lose weight because they help provide the extra energy needed for exercise sessions and the nutrients essential to fight fatigue.

“There is a growing trend towards diets that eliminate grains as a source of carbohydrate, but when the diet is over and you want to keep the weight off, elimination of food groups is never the answer to long-term healthy diet.

“90 per cent of people who lose weight regain it, because fad diets that cut out entire food groups don’t work. It’s simply not sustainable and not good for your health,” Mrs Broom said.

“ People who eat 3-5 serves of grain foods, mainly whole grain, are actually more likely to have a smaller waistline and less likely to be overweight than people who eat less.

“Low carb diets can be a dangerous way to lose weight and don’t offer any advantage for long term weight loss compared to other calorie controlled diets.”

According to Mrs Broom, there is merit in limiting certain foods in your diet, such as foods high in calories and saturated fat, but core grain foods such as bread are certainly not one of those foods.

“Forget the fads. Get grains in your life and bring back the balance, for the best body inside and out,” she said.

GLNC recommends seeking qualified nutrition advice before making extreme changes to your diet such as cutting out whole food groups.

Meal tips:

Enjoying a variety of nutrient rich foods in the right portions helps you get all the nutrients you need for good health and to achieve your weight loss goal.

Breakfast: Oats/Muesli – Start the day on the right foot with a bowl of goodness. ½ a cup of dry rolled oats soaked in yoghurt or juice and topped with some fresh fruit will be a welcome reward after your morning exercise and kick off the day with sustenance.

Lunch: Legumes – Give your lunchtime salad a boost with some legumes such as chickpeas. A small 75g can tossed through your salad will provide you with protein and fibre to help you push through the afternoon.

Dinner: Black/brown rice – Go for ½ a cup of cooked darker grain rice with your curries and stir fries in the evening to end the day feeling satisfied and ward off the after dinner snacks.

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