Grains: Reaping the Benefits of Whole Grains (cont.)

Most people get their best source of fiber from whole grains, says Slavin.

"Most whole-grain sources yield from 1-4 grams of fiber per serving, comparable to fruits and vegetables and just the right amount when spread throughout the day," says Slavin.

Can't fiber supplements give you the same benefit? While you get plenty of fiber from these supplements you're missing out on all the other nutritional benefits of whole grains, explains Slavin.

Working more whole grains into your diet can be as simple as choosing whole-grain breads, cereals, English muffins, waffles, bagels, pasta, rice, and crackers.

Like the champions, starting your day with a bowl of whole-grain cereal energizes you and helps keep you trim. Successful "losers" from the National Weight Control Registry who have lost substantial amounts of weight -- and kept it off -- swear by the importance of eating a nutritious breakfast such as cereal each day.

Enjoy a sandwich at lunch with two slices of whole-grain bread and you are two-thirds of the way toward meeting your goal. What could be easier than eating air-popped popcorn as a snack?

Step out of the comfort zone and experiment with unusual grains.

WebMD's "Recipe Doctor" Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, likes to blend whole-wheat flour with all-purpose flour to boost the whole-grain content of her baked goods.

"Start where you are, find a whole-wheat or whole-grain bread or cereal that you like. Then work your way into new adventures. Whole grains taste and feel different to the mouth, and therefore it takes time to adjust to these new grains," advises Magee.

Other ideas from Magee include: Add barley to canned soup, and then boil to cook the barley; or try blended pastas that contain a mix of whole and refined grains. Cook up a batch of brown rice, eat it at dinner, and use the leftovers to add some pizzazz to yogurt, or mix it with vegetables for a vegetarian snack or lunch. Visit your local health food market and try your hand at some of the less familiar whole grains available.

Whole Grains on the Rise

Slowly but surely, restaurants and food manufacturers are responding to the demand for more whole-grain products.

Visit PF Chang's and you will be delighted to see brown rice as an option at this oriental restaurant chain. Mission whole-wheat tortillas are flying off the shelf, according to the company. Kraft Foods recently unveiled its South Beach line of foods including pizzas made on whole- wheat crusts, whole-grain cereals, and refrigerated sandwich wraps on whole-wheat tortillas. As the trend continues, it will make it easier for consumers to enjoy at least three servings a day of whole-grain goodness.

SOURCES: Wyatt, H. National Weight Control Registry, 2002; vol 10: pp 78-82. Joanne Slavin, PhD, RD, University of Minnesota. Elaine Magee, MPH, RD.

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Last Editorial Review: 4/29/2005 5:51:49 PM