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Brown Rice Stays in Stomach Longer than White Rice, Good for Blood Sugar and Nutrient Absorption

Brown rice and other whole grains have been long known to “stick to your ribs,” and new research explains why. In a small study, 10 healthy adults were fed various types of white rice and brown rice over 7 weeks, with a breath hydrogen test to track how long their stomach stayed full. The brown rice samples all stayed in the stomach significantly longer than the white rice samples, likely because the bran takes longer to break down. Slow stomach emptying helps the body better regulate how nutrients are digested and absorbed, and helps create a more gentle blood sugar response (rather than a blood sugar spike).
European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2018 Mar;72(3):367-373. (Pletsch EA et al.)

Whole Grains Linked with Weight Loss, Less Inflammation

Why worry about calorie counting when whole grains can keep you satiated and help you lose weight? Researchers randomly assigned 50 Danish adults to a whole grain or refined grain diet for 8 weeks each, with a 6-week washout period in between. All of the participants were overweight, obese or had large waist sizes, and also had slightly high levels of blood sugar, cholesterol, or blood pressure before the study. The participants lost significantly more weight on the whole grain diet (- 0.4 pounds) compared to the refined grain diet (+ 2 pounds). This is likely because people naturally ate fewer calories on the whole grain diet, as whole grains are more satiating. Additionally, the whole grain diet (especially rye foods) significantly lowered inflammation (measured by IL-6 and CRP). However, the researchers noted no significant changes in insulin sensitivity (an indicator of how well your body is able to manage blood sugar), or the gut microbiome over the 8-week study.
Gut. 2017 Nov 1. pii: gutjnl-2017-314786. [Epub ahead of print.] (Roager HM et al.)  

Certain Rye Products Are Especially Satiating

Rye has long been studied for its satiating properties, but researchers wonder why rye leaves you feeling fuller for longer, and whether certain rye products are more filling than others. To test these differences, researchers provided various whole grain rye products (sourdough bread, flakes, puffs, and smoothies – each with the same number of calories) to 26 participants, who resumed their usual diet and exercise routine for two days between each intake of the rye samples. The rye puffs and rye bread, which have a porous structure, were the most filling, whereas the liquid beverage was the least filling. The porous structure of the rye puffs and bread is thought to stretch and fill up the stomach, signaling to your body that you’re satisfied.
Food Quality and Preference. 2017 September;60:178-187. (Pentikainen S et al.)

Pulses Can be More Filling than Meat

Plant-based diets are shown to be more sustainable, but nutrition researchers want to know if they are as satiating as meat-centric meals. In a randomized, double-blind study, 43 healthy young men were given a patty made from either veal and pork (high protein), fava beans and split peas (high protein), or fava beans and potatoes (low protein). The participants rotated through each of the 3 meals (with a 2-week washout in between each one), serving as their own controls. Although the fava and split pea patty was rated as less palatable than the other two meals, it proved to be the most satiating, with participants reporting less hunger and appetite afterwards, and participants didn’t need to eat as much at the following meal to feel full. While both the fava/pea patty and veal/pork patty were both high protein, the additional fiber in the fava/pea patty could also have contributed to the fullness.
Food and Nutrition Research. 2016 Oct 19;60:32634. (Kristensen MD et al.)

Beans Just as Filling as Meat

Pulses, the food group that includes beans, peas, chickpeas, and lentils, are central to traditional cuisines around the world, and are an especially important source of nutrients in plant-based diets. In a small study, researchers at the University of Minnesota fed 28 adults either a bean-based “meatloaf” (17g protein, 12g fiber) or a beef-based meatloaf (26g protein, 3g fiber) to compare how beans and meat affect fullness. The two meals had equal calories, fat, and weight. One week later, the adults changed groups and were given the other meatloaf, serving as their own control. The scientists found no significant differences in appetite or food intake at the next meal between the two different meatloaves, suggesting that beans are just as satiating as beef, possibly due to their fiber and protein content. However, the bean group did experience moderate gas and bloating.
Journal of Food Science. 2015 Sep;80(9):2088-93. (Bonnema AL et al.)

Soy is Just as Filling As Beef

Soy foods, such as tofu, have anchored traditional Asian diets for centuries. In a small study, researchers at the University of Missouri fed 21 adults either a beef based lunch or a soy based lunch for two different days in a week to compare how different protein sources affect fullness. The two meals were matched for calories, macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein, fat) and fiber, and were the same serving size. One to two weeks later, the adults changed groups and were given the other meals, serving as their own control. The scientists found no significant differences in appetite, satiety or food intake at the next meal between the beef based meal or the soy based meal. As communities begin to embrace sustainable food systems and shift red meat to a smaller portion of the plate, soy proteins, like tofu, may offer an attractive alternative.
Journal of Nutrition. 2015 May;145(5):1010-6. (Douglas SM et al.)