When we want to reduce the waistline, what do we do? We follow a low calorie diet. What can happen, however, is that maybe we also lose weight but the pot belly is struggling to reduce, to our disappointment. A research carried out a few years ago showed that to see the accumulation of fat around the waist reduced, the important thing is to include in the diet legumes and whole grains instead of refined ones. The research was published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition by a group of New Zealand scientists (Venn et al, Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 2010).
Whole grains, legumes and body weight
Whole grains counteract body weight gain. Instead, little is known about the action of legumes with regards to weight control. Precisely to shed light on this aspect, New Zealand scientists from the University of Otago have developed the research we are talking about today.
Legumes and whole grains help reduce waistline, the study
113 people were recruited, all in a condition of obesity or overweight with a body mass index greater than 28. All the volunteers were asked to follow a diet based on the guidelines published by the National Heart Foundation of New Zealand, developed for the purpose of protecting heart health. Half of the volunteers had to include 2 portions of legumes and 4 of whole grains per day in their diet. The other half, on the other hand, continued to consume refined carbohydrates and a low amount of legumes. After 18 months, the reduction in body weight was almost identical in both groups but there were differences in the waistline. In fact, those who had consumed a diet rich in legumes and whole grains showed a 3 cm reduction in waist size compared to the other volunteers. Not only that, the diet with legumes and whole grains ensured a greater intake of fiber, vitamins and minerals and a reduced glycemic index, all important factors both for the reduction of visceral fat and for the well-being of the whole organism.
Abdominal fat is the most dangerous type of fat as it is capable of increasing inflammation and promoting, in the long run, the onset of diabetes, cell degeneration, depression and weakening of the immune system. Today we know that the foods we choose to bring to the table are important to combat abdominal fat and reduce the waistline. A diet that includes whole grains instead of refined ones and legumes has been shown to be effective for maintaining body weight, or for reducing it in case of being overweight, and for reducing abdominal fat.