The three whole grain diet to unblock metabolism

The three whole grain diet to unblock metabolism

Brown rice, world barley and spelled are the protagonists of this special nutritional plan also valid for those who are stuck in slimming

They can help reduce weight and centimeters, protect the heart and are valuable allies of the intestinal microbiota, thus also promoting a good mood: cereals have always played a fundamental role in human nutrition as a source of nutrients and energy. Foods that are very precious for our body as they are sources of important substances for health such as fibers and proteins, but also vitamins, minerals and starch. Few people know it, but as the Crea experts who developed the Guidelines for healthy eating (2018 revision) argue, almost a third (29%) of Italians' whole-day protein comes from cereals.

The health benefits

In recent years, the attention of scientists has shifted to the positive actions that these foods have on human health thanks to their preventive role against certain diseases. The consumption of whole grains is, in fact, associated with a reduction in the risk of chronic degenerative diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and some forms of cancer and, at the same time, with the maintenance of body weight and gastrointestinal functions.

  • In particular, including wheat, rice, corn, barley, sorghum, millet, oats, rye and spelled (as well as pseudo-cereals such as buckwheat, quinoa and amaranth) in the daily diet is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, up to about 20% in subjects who consume 3-5 servings of whole grains per day. This effect is mainly linked to the reduction of cholesterol absorption and a lower level of circulating LDL.
  • They are valid allies for the health of the gastrointestinal tract. Thanks to their richness in fiber (including the resistant starch fraction) and oligosaccharides, in addition to promoting intestinal transit, they have a prebiotic effect favoring the development of a healthy and functional microbiota, with positive repercussions also on mood. “Let's think about how many flour-based foods we eat every day: bread, pasta, baked goods, pizza, rusks, biscuits, sweets…”, says prof. Pier Luigi Rossi, specialist in nutrition sciences and preventive medicine in Arezzo. “These flours contain high doses of gluten, with possible negative effects on the health of our intestine. If we take a handful of flour and throw it on the water, the flour turns into a dough due to the presence of gluten. If, on the other hand, we take a handful of whole grains and put them in water for a few hours, they turn into sprouts capable of giving rise to a new life, a new plant. They are live foods! Flour is a dead food ”.
  • Not to mention that whole grains also represent a probable factor of protection against the onset of various types of cancer, both colorectal and hormone-dependent (for example, breast cancer).

Effects on weight and metabolism

Whole grains (grains) and whole grains can also help control body weight and promote weight and centimeter loss. The reason lies not so much in the fact that wholegrain products have a lower caloric density than the same products obtained with refined flours, but because the high amount of fiber in these products increases their satiating power. “The water-soluble fiber – explains prof. Pier Luigi Rossi – is also capable of absorbing the water naturally present in our intestine and forming a gel that adheres to the walls of the small intestine. This gel slows the entry of glucose and fats from the intestine into the blood, ensuring the control of postprandial glycaemia and the consequent secretion of insulin, considered the hormone for the accumulation of weight and body fat, thus favoring less fat accumulation. bodily. This demonstrates that it is the molecular composition of the food we eat, and not the calories, that conditions our health, weight loss and even our mood ”.

The 3 whole grain diet

Following a 3-day whole grain diet can even help "unblock" the metabolism and help those who are stuck with weight loss. But which ones to choose? "The first day I propose brown rice" says prof. Pier Luigi Rossi. This food contains tricine, which counteracts the synthesis of eicosanoids linked to intestinal inflammatory processes, thus helping to preserve the functionality of the gastro-intestinal system. When an acute inflammatory process is underway, a healthy choice is to consume only brown rice for a few days, seasoned with a little gomasio or pumpkin seeds. To avoid irritation caused by dietary fibers, in particular in the case of inflammation of the digestive tract, I recommend taking brown rice in the form of very cooked rice cream sieved, to eliminate dietary fiber. This helps to reduce intestinal permeability to incompletely digested food molecules, which favor inappropriate immune stimulation and lead to intestinal inflammation, food allergies and autoimmune diseases ".

"On the second day, however, we rediscover the barley", continues the expert. "Contains low glycemic index carbohydrates, proteins, omega 3 fatty acids, folic acid, water-soluble dietary fiber, beta-glucans (with a systemic intestinal anti-inflammatory action), inulin (water-soluble dietary fiber useful for having a healthy intestinal microbiota), phytosterols (valuable for cholesterol control), hordein, maltose, magnesium, selenium, potassium, calcium and silicon and vitamins of the B complex. The nutritional composition varies according to the pearling. World barley is the most nutritious whole grain, while the pearled one lacks its bran part and therefore has a lower nutritional value than the first ".

“Finally, on the third day, we add spelled. Rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals, this cereal also contains proteins of high biological value with branched amino acids and phenylalanine, substances that give our body tonic effects. It is therefore a suitable food for those who need momentum and a better mood ".

“The nutritional purpose of these three whole grains – explains prof. Pierluigi Rossi – is to provide a healthy dose of complex carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins and dietary fiber adequate for the control of the intestinal microbiota. Finally, whole grains contain molecules with a positive action on the body lymphatic system necessary to promote metabolic drainage from tissues and organs ".

The food day

"The three cereals – underlines the doctor and nutritionist – must be inserted at lunch (the dose is 50 g raw; 150 g if cooked) and at dinner (40 g dose raw and 120 g if cooked) together with protein foods and extra oil virgin olive oil (3 coffee spoons). On the other hand, there are no raw and cooked vegetables, since dietary fiber is obtained from whole grains, nor bread, pasta or alcoholic beverages (beer or wine). An unsweetened coffee at the end of the meal, if desired, can be taken.

In snacks, on the other hand, I recommend (centrifuged) extracts of vegetables (80%) and fruit (20%), to obtain carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins and molecules with action on DNA, with a net reduction of dietary fiber ".

The typical menu

BREAKFAST: 1 cup of green tea; lean raw ham; pumpernickel bread; 4 almonds (or other oily seed); coffee, if desired, unsweetened

MORNING SNACK: 1 centrifuged juice composed of 80% vegetables and 20% seasonal fruit

LUNCH: a protein food of your choice from those listed in the list below; a portion of cereal (first day brown rice; second day barley; third day spelled)

AFTERNOON SNACK: 1 centrifuged juice consisting of 80% vegetables and 20% seasonal fruit

DINNER: a protein food of your choice from those listed below; a portion of cereal (first day brown rice; second day barley; third day spelled)

AFTER DINNER: 5 almonds or 6 walnut kernels or 5 hazelnuts

Protein foods to choose from for lunch and dinner

White meat

Chicken (breast): 120

Chicken (whole without skin): 140

Lean rabbit: 120

Turkey (breast): 130

Red meat

Lean beef: 120

Lean lamb: 130

Lean pork: 120


Hake: 160

Snapper: 170

Grouper: 160

Sea bream: 140

Palombo: 170

Race: 200

Rhombus: 170

St. Peter: 170

Fresh salmon: 150

Sole: 170

Sea bass: 170

Mullet: 180

Swordfish: 170

Sardinian: 130

Octopus: 220

Cuttlefish: 200

Squid: 220

Cured meat

Lean raw ham: 70

Lean cooked ham: 60

Bresaola: 70


Cow's milk mozzarella: 100

Stracchino: 70

Scamorza: 70

Cow's milk ricotta: 150

Low-fat cottage cheese: 150

Asiago: 70

Parmesan: 50

Grain: 50


2 eggs

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