Updated: October 25, 2012

Wondering about a low carb diet? Instead, lose weight by focusing on healthy carbs, which are good carbs found in fiber-rich whole grains.

Nutrition experts have some very good news for you: You can enjoy carbs and lose weight! "Some carbohydrates may actually help protect against obesity," says Pauline Koh-Banerjee, Sc.D., adjunct professor in the department of preventive medicine at the University of Tennessee.

These protective healthy carbs are found in:

  • whole-grain baked goods
  • pastas
  • cereals
  • rice

But the key words here are whole grain. Read on to see how you can tap into the nutritional and weight-loss power of these beneficial good carbs (not a low carb diet but a good carb diet!) and check out our three delicious, easy-to-make whole-grain recipes.

Discover more about the healthy meals that will help you lose weight when you incorporate healthy carbs into your whole grain-rich healthy diet plan.

Eat more whole grains in your healthy meals and you'll weigh less -- that's what the latest research suggests. A Harvard study that followed 74,000 female nurses for 12 years found that women who included the most whole grains in their healthy diet plan weighed less than those who ate the least. And a Louisiana State University study of 149 women found that a low fiber intake was linked to higher body fat.

How do whole grains work their magic? It's simple: Whole grains are much higher in fiber than their highly processed counterparts, and adding fiber to your healthy diet plan is the secret weapon in the weight-loss war. For example, a 1/2-cup serving of brown rice has nearly 2 grams of fiber, while the same serving of white rice barely contains any.

"Whole grains and fiber affect feelings of fullness and satisfaction," explains Barbara J. Rolls, Ph.D., professor of nutritional sciences at Pennsylvania State University and author of The Volumetrics Eating Plan: Techniques and Recipes for Feeling Full on Fewer Calories (HarperCollins, 2005). "We don't know exactly why, but [fiber and whole grains] could affect the hormones that send the signal to your brain that you've had enough to eat."

[header = Healthy meals: discover what to eat with healthy carbs found in whole grains.]

Shed pounds with powerful healthy carbs.

Include whole grains chock full of good carbs as part of your overall healthy diet plan.

Now that you're sold on the power of good carbs to help you shed those unwanted pounds, here's how to make whole grains work for you every day: Simply trade three or more of your U.S. Department of Agriculture-recommended six daily servings of grains for whole grains. It's easy to do when you include whole grains at every meal.

For example, to incorporate healthy carbs into each meal:

  • have a packet of instant oatmeal for breakfast (1 grain serving)
  • a sliced turkey on whole-wheat bread sandwich for lunch (2 grain servings)
  • two rye crisp breads with lowfat cheese as a snack between healthy meals (1 grain serving)
  • 1 cup of whole-wheat spaghetti for dinner (2 grain servings)

Healthy carbs are just one part of your successful healthy diet plan. Discover what you need to eat with good carbs for overall healthy meals.

But as powerful as whole grains are in preventing weight gain, they're only part of a successful weight-control program. "Adding whole grains has to be part of an overall healthy diet and lifestyle," says Len Marquart, Ph.D., assistant professor of nutrition at the University of Minnesota. So be sure you're also eating 2-1/2 cups of vegetables, 2 cups of fruit and 5-1/2 ounces of lean protein each day as recommended by the USDA.

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