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Whole Grains and Legumes Can Help You Succeed in Weight Management

When compared to refined grains, whole grains have long been known to provide superior nourishment, especially in terms of their fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Legumes have also been traditionally regarded as unique foods in terms of their fiber and protein content.

Researchers at the University of Wollongong in Wollongong, Australia have now taken this nutritional look at whole grains and legumes and extended it to the area of weight management. The researchers conducted a statistical review and analysis of 53 previously published studies involving legumes, whole grains, and several obesity-related measurements, including waist circumference, Body Mass Index (BMI), calorie intake, and satiety (quenching of appetite). Participants in the 53 studies came from 12 different countries and ranged in age from 8-87 years. Taken as a whole, the studies showed reduced risk of obesity from intake of whole grains and legumes, with replacement of refined grains with whole grains emerging as an important dietary consideration for anyone concerned about weight management.

One aspect of this research that caught our attention was the many different ways in which whole grains and legumes help us manage our weight. At the simplest of levels, these foods score very low in terms of energy density. You get to eat an unexpectedly large amount given the number of calories. By saving you calories, these foods can help you lose or manage your weight. They are also better than average at quenching your appetite. Part of their appetite-satisfying power comes from their fiber content. That fiber increases the chewing time and lets your body develop a fuller sense of being fed. Additionally, the consumption of whole grains and legumes also appears to have hormonal consequences, and these consequences also help you develop a sense of fullness and food satisfaction.

Because they are typically low-GI foods (scoring low in terms of their Glycemic Index), whole grains and legumes also help regulate and stabilize your blood sugars. These blood sugar benefits are extremely helpful if you are trying to lose or manage your weight, because they help prevent you from getting caught up in a rollercoaster ride with your blood sugar in which your sugars rise and fall too quickly (or too dramatically), thereby prompting you to want food more often.

Finally, throughout many of the studies, increased whole grain intake was associated with lower BMI (Body Mass Index). Since BMI has become a defining factor for obesity and the health problems associated with obesity, this trend puts whole grains very clearly on the agenda when weight loss or weight management are key concerns.

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Whole grains and legumes are featured as important World's Healthiest Foods. Therefore, following the Healthiest Way of Eating and incorporating a range of World's Healthiest Foods can help you when it come to weight management.