BY LEAH GROTH
There’s no shortage of things we’re willing to do to keep our metabolism revving, from increased exercise to ditching refined grains. But did you know you could actually boost your metabolism and burn more calories just by eating one amazingly healthy food? Yup! Say hello to your new best friend: whole grains.
And, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, whole grains have an unexpectedly awesome capability to increase metabolism. That’s right, trading refined grains for whole grains can increase your overall calorie loss by reducing the calories retained during digestion and increasing metabolism.
Oatmeal for the win!
This has to do with the fact that whole grains (like whole-wheat flour, oatmeal, quinoa and brown rice) aid with fibre absorption, enabling the body to speed up metabolism and ultimately burn calories.
“Many previous studies have suggested benefits of whole grains and dietary fibre on chronic disease risk. This study helps to quantify how whole grains and fibre work to benefit weight management, and lends credibility to previously reported associations between increased whole grains and fibre consumption, lower body weight and better health,” explained first author of the study Phil J. Karl, Ph.D.
The extra calories lost by people who eat whole grains was the equivalent of a brisk, 30-minute walk.
Researchers provided all the food to the 81 men and women who participated in the study, ensuring that the only discrepancy in the different group’s diets was the source of grains. Compared to individuals who ate refined grains without much fibre, those maintaining a diet rich in whole grains while matching the recommended dietary allowance for fibre based on age and sex lost an additional 100 calories per day due to a combination of increased resting metabolic rate and greater faecal loss.
“The extra calories lost by those who ate whole grains was the equivalent of a brisk, 30-minute walk or enjoying an extra small cookie every day, in terms of its impact,” Tufts University’s Susan B. Roberts, Ph.D., senior author of the study, told Tufts Now.
If you want to reap the benefits of this new study, remember that it isn’t enough to just toss a little quinoa in your salad. In addition to maintaining a high-fibre diet overall, the United States Department of Health and Human Services and the USDA recommend a minimum of three ounces of whole grains for women and four ounces for men per day, which is around one-and-a-half to two cups of brown rice or oatmeal per day.
Need ideas for some nutritiously delicious whole-grain foods? Check out this list of fibre-rich whole grains and get your metabolism going.