Among the foods that burn belly fat, we find whole bread and whole cereals. A study on obese adults found that those who cut down on calories and ate more whole bread and whole cereals lost more abdominal fat.
In addition, their levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) in the blood fell sharper. CRP is a marker of chronic inflammation of blood vessels; an excess of CRP is linked to abdominal fat, heart attacks and strokes.
On the other hand, participants who cut calories but received a diet high in refined grains such as white bread, could lose weight, but lost less abdominal fat and did not improve their level of CRP.
“This is the first clinical trial demonstrating that a diet rich in whole grains reduces weight and risks of many chronic diseases,” said Dr Penny Kris-Etherton, principal investigator of the study. The team led by Kris-Etherton Pennsylvania State University published the results in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Reasons to eat whole grains
Doctors often recommend eating whole grains such as oats, brown rice and barley, rather than refined grains as white bread and other products produced with white flour because whole-grain foods contain more nutrients.
For example, fibre-rich foods stabilized levels of sugar in the blood of the participants and this, in turn, reduced their CRP levels. It is also feasible that CRP declined due to nutrients contained in whole grains and which are absent in refined grains.
The study included 50 obese men and women with metabolic syndrome (abdominal obesity, hypertension and high blood sugar). All participants ingested fewer calories for 12 weeks, but half of the participants ate more whole grains; the other half ate more refined grains. The first group was required to buy foods with food labels showing “whole grain” as the first ingredient.
In the end, the participants in both groups lost between 8 and 11 pounds (3, 6 – 5 kg). However, the average level of CRP fell 38% in the group who consumed whole grains but it didn’t change in the group who ate refined grains.
And while both groups have the same change in waist size, the one that consumed whole grains achieved a greater reduction of abdominal fat percentage.
The team recommends reading food labels and choosing products rich in whole grains such as oats, whole grain breakfast cereals, whole wheat pasta and granola. As a general rule, said the expert, when it comes to grains, consumers should buy products containing at least 51% of whole cereals.