A new study in this month’s The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition finds that people who eat three or more whole grain servings a day while keeping refined grains to less than one serving per day have 10% less belly fat than those not following this pattern.
The study – conducted by researchers at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University interviewed 2,834 men and women aged 32-83. The participants were subjected to measurements of their visceral fat. Visceral fat – also called belly fat, or the type of fat you find in apple-shaped people – appears to be more unhealthy than having fat located in other areas of your body such as those that have a pear-shaped body type. Visceral fat can more readily leech into the bloodstream and is metabolized in a way that negatively alters blood lipid levels.
The key to this study is that high whole grain intake doesn’t matter if it is accompanied by equally high refined grain intake. In the study, those who ate more than four servings of refined grains in a day did not show lower levels of visceral fat levels – despite their whole grain intake.
Here are some examples of what constitutes a whole grain serving:
- One slice of 100% whole wheat bread
- 1/2 cup of dry oatmeal
- 1/2 cup of cooked brown rice
To learn more about whole grains vs. refined grains – check out the MyPyramid.gov page on the Grains Group.