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Why You Should Eat Whole Grains Instead of Refined

4 Reasons to Eat Whole Grains Instead of Refined

If you're still filling your pantry with refined grains like white rice and white flour, think about instead adding a few whole grains into the mix. Whole grains are grains that are just that — whole. While refined grains are stripped of their bran and germ, whole grains still have all their parts intact.

Whether it's brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal, or buckwheat, we can't stop cooking with whole grains around here. If you haven't joined the whole grain fan club, try swapping out your snacks and sides from refined grains to whole grains to help sneak a little more nutrition in your diet. And you don't have to go all the way — if you just can't get on board with the taste of whole grains, experiment with adding equal parts whole grain flour to regular white flour in your baking or try mixing white rice with brown in order to reap some whole grain benefits.

Ready to learn why you should be eating whole grains instead of refined grains? Read on to learn about the benefits of whole grains (and the one time when you can eat all the refined grains you want).

  1. More nutrition bang for your buck. Whole grains retain a lot of their nutrients, including fiber and protein, which are good for digestion and for keeping you feeling full. Whole grains also contain tons of vitamins and minerals, like antioxidants and other vitamins in their bran, and B vitamins and healthy fats in their germ. While refined grains like white flour are enriched with nutrients to make up for the ones lost in the processing, many of the nutrients aren't replaced.
  2. Lose more belly fat. Belly fat is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke, and studies have shown that people who ate whole grains instead of refined grains lost more weight around their middle. They had a lower risk of developing diabetes than those who ate refined grains instead. The reason? It may be because the fiber in whole grains helps regulate blood sugar.
  3. Reduce high blood pressure. Another study compared brown rice to white rice and found that brown and half-milled rice contain an ingredient that helps block angiotesin II, a protein that may lead to high blood pressure and clogged arteries. White rice, however, doesn't contain that ingredient, since it is found in the bran that's taken away when rice is refined.
  4. Reduce belly bloat. Whole grains don't just whittle your middle, they also help you feel less bloated. While refined grains can contribute to a bloated feeling and leave you feeling not quite yourself, switching to whole grains will aid in digestion and help keep you regular.

So is it ever better to choose refined whole grains over whole grains? Not always. One time when you should choose refined over whole grains is when you are about to go work out. Since you want to spend your energy on your workout and not on digesting what you just ate, reach for a simple carb snack (like jelly beans or a slice of white bread) over a complex one.

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