The Best Whole Grains for Weight Loss

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Take almost any breakfast, lunch or dinner a grain will be the main ingredient of it.

Take any food recipe and you will have a grain or grain powder as the critical ingredient.

It is probably clear that the grain is the most consumed food item in the world and will remain so for at least next few decades.

Given this lion’s share in our plates, we must think about which of these grains are actually best for us when it comes to achieving natural weight loss.

This article is going to do exactly that – a fact finding mission to discover the best grain for weight loss.

Read on if you love to know it.

Why do we eat so much grain anyway?

The grains make up the major portion of our plate is not by accident but actually it fulfils a critical purpose – To provide us with abundance of energy which we need everyday.

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It also provides this mainly through the rich carbohydrates content which is the most easiest to digest of all macro nutrients.

Hence most grains will have high carbohydrate content in them.

The differences start with other two major macro nutrients – protein and fibre.

These are required in relatively lesser quantities but grains rich in them are typically considered better grains.

Fats are the last of the macro nutrient which are present in even lesser quantities.

How does a good grain help in weight loss?

This is the big question, isn’t it?

So let us look at how a good whole grain help us in achieveing natural weight loss?

A good grain simply make us feel fuller for longer periods and hence reduce the amount of food we take.

This will eventually lead to us eating less junk foods which will help reduce amount of calories we take everyday.

This is probably the easiest way to reduce weight.

If you combine a good grain with nice dose of fruits, veggies & nuts and some decent physical activity then you will surely see amazing results in four to six weeks.

So what makes a good whole grain?

Grains have a purpose – to provide us with good dose of energy and most of them do it well.

However, good grains will make it harder to digest the food and hence help us feel fuller for longer. 

This is possible mainly with a better quality of carbohydrates and higher quantity and quality of fibre and  protein in them.

In very simple terms it is the amount of fibre, protein and complex carbohydrates which determine how effective will the grain be in keeping us feel fuller for longer and stop our craving to eat more. So this enable us to eat less and achieve weight loss

The Comparison

This article will look at top 12 grains based on its macro nutrient content and other essential factors and try to score them.

Here we will be comparing uncooked, raw whole grains (or whole grain powder) instead of their processed versions to ensure that the comparison is fair.

The grains that we will be looking at are as below (sorry, if you eat something outside of the list but do pass it on and we will check and include it if possible).

Please note that oat bran is techinically not a whole grain but actually a by-product produced when processing whole oat grains into more refined ones.

  1. Barley
  2. Brown Rice
  3. Buckwheat
  4. Corn
  5. Millet
  6. Oat Bran
  7. Oats
  8. Quinoa
  9. Rye
  10. Sorgrum
  11. Teff
  12. Wholewheat Floor

Macro Nutrients

As all grains that we have considered for comparison are raw unprocessed grains most of these have complex carbohydrates.

But we will be looking at their Glycemic Load which is a good indicator of how easy it is for the body to digest the food.

Lower the number less easier to digest the food and hence better the food for weight loss.

Typically, the protein present in most vegan foods is of poor quality and hence a measure of quality of protein present in these grains would be a good measure of the grain.

Fibres are differentiated as soluble and insoluble fibre but both are important for the body.

Fibre helps us in many ways one of which is achieving natural weight loss as they make us feel fuller and reduce our need to eat more.

Most grains do not have much fat in them and those which do have do not have the (really bad) trans fats and (not so good) saturated fat in them.

So let us look at the numbers, the winner and the reason.

GrainsCaloriesCarbsGLProteinProtein QualityFibreFatND ScoreTotal Score
Oat Bran2466616178615756243
Rye3357033158015347214
Whole wheat Floor3397336145412248207
Oats (Rolled)3796939139510742201
Buckwheat3437137139910341201
Quinoa3686436141067645201
Barley3527840107316136198
Teff367734313558248195
Millet378734411388437182
Corn861973833157175
Brown Rice37077538754332169
Sorghum339754711406325166

Source: nutritiondata.self.com (all nutritent data in grams).

The best Grain in the world is..

Oat Bran comes out the winner by a distance.

If you look at the table, you can see that even though rolled oats is a version of oats it is nowhere close to oat bran at the finish line.

While it is easily available in the most parts of the world, it is not as famous and readily available as rolled oats.

So next time you go shopping make sure you ask for one of these.

While Rye and Wholewheat does take the distant second and third spots they are gluten based products.

Given that there is a lot of research recommending reducing or removing gluten from our plates I would not recommend them.

Given this, my top picks are Oats Bran, Buckwheat and Quinoa but it does not mean that the other grains are bad or not worth consuming.

We can consume most of the above grains but point to note is that most grains get cooked and the impact of cooking will adversely affect grain nutrition and typically result in significant reduction in fibre and protein content.

Based on the comparison, the top picks are Oats Bran, Buckwheat and Quinoa. 

However, it does not mean that the other grains are not worth consuming.

I did look into the micro nutrient profile of the grains and it was as impressive as macro nutrients especialy for their vitamin content.

Most of the grains did not have any vitamins in significant proportion and hence I thought it was not worth the effort to post it online.

However here’s a version of all the data and scoring:

grains data and scoring
minerals data and scoring
vitamins  data and scoring

The grains did have some decent amount of minerals in them and below is how each stack up.

GrainsCaFeMgPhKNaZnCuMn
Barley292.57922128092.10.41.3
Brown Rice231.5143333223720.33.7
Buckwheat182.223134746012.41.11.3
Corn20.53789270150.50.10.2
Millet8411428519551.70.71.6
Oat Bran585.42357345664.13.10.45.6
Oats (Rolled)524.313841036263.60.43.6
Quinoa474.619745756353.10.62
Rye332.712137426863.70.52.7
Sorghum284.402873506000
Teff1807.6184429427123.60.89.2
Wholewheat Floor343.913834640552.90.43.8

Source: nutritiondata.self.com ( All mineral are denoted by respective periodic table symbols & all nutritent data in milligrams).

Verdict

Grains currently take up the elephant’s share in our plate.

The best grains are whole grains with reduced glycemic load and very good dose of protein and fibre.

Such whole grains help us feel fuller for longer and reduce our craving to eating more and indirectly and naturally help in excess weight loss.

Oat Bran, Buckwheat and Quinoa came out as the best grains in the comparison.

However, grains are not the best source for micronutrients primarily vitamins and hence there are number of studies which suggest reducing the amount of grain intake and increase vegetable portion in our plates.

Vegetables not only provide us with all essential macro nutrients, they are also much richer source of micronutrients i.e. vitamins and minerals.

Given that most of them have lesser calories we can in fact consume more of them.

The main thing we need to do is to eat a variety of vegetables and fruits each day.

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