Refined versus Whole Grain. There's a HUGE difference between refined grain and whole grain. refined grain had been processed, so a lot of nutrients have been lost. refining it also makes it a LOT faster to digest, so you will feel hungrier sooner. Enriched (refined) grain had some nutrients added, but it is still digests quickly. Whole grain is so much better. This goes for rice, pasta, crackers, cereal, and other grain products, too.
Whole Grain versus Fiber-Rich. I have found a bread (Pepperidge Farm whole grain double fiber bread) that I think is better than regular whole grain. A slice of that fiber-rich bread makes me feel more full than a slice of whole grain. Besides: the extra fiber helps fight constipation, which is an unfortunate side effect of extreme starvation.
Whole Grain versus No Grain. I personally try to limit my bread intake. It can be difficult to completely cut out bread and grain products, but reducing intake has definitely made it easier for me to stick to my calorie limits without getting unbearably hungry.
Ways to reduce bread (or other grain) intake:
- use open sandwiches. Only have the bottom slice of a sandwich, serving as the holder for its contents. You can often replace the top slice with a large lettuce leaf or a few. lettuce has less calories and more nutrients than bread anyways.
- spinach wraps. They look like green tortillas and are made from spinach instead of grains. They have a bit of a strong flavor, but you can often work that with the food it contains. one spinach wrap has less calories than two regular slices of bread.
- thin-cut bread. There are some thin-cut slices of bread that are 50-70% the amount of calories as a regular sized bread. They can be flimsy sometimes, but toasting them fixes their stability problems.
- lettuce leaves and kale chips. Instead of potato chips or tortilla chips for salsa and guacamole, use lettuce leaves or kale chips. Fresh lettuce leaves have a nice watery crunch. Kale chips are baked pieces of kale, and have a dry, crispy texture similar to tortilla chips.
Grains vs other Carbs. Basically, there are a lot of popular diets out there that reduce or outright remove grains and carbohydrates. Grain carbs behave differently from fruit or vegetable carbs. The starch and sugar molecules are arranged differently and therefore will be digested in slightly different paths. Fruits and veggies have more fiber and more nutrients naturally (grains are often fortified), plus a higher water content. As paleoanthropologists learned, our ancestors have been eating fruits, nuts, and veggies a LOT longer than grains. Our bodies are better adapt at handling those carbs compared to grain, corn, legumes, and potatoes.
Avoid eating grains if possible. If that is impractical, try to limit your consumption by reducing your portions or swapping grains for vegetables whenever possible. At the very least, use whole grains and not that refined grain crap.