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Are Bagels Good For Weight Loss

by Annabel Caldwell
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Are Bagels Good For Weight Loss

Are Bagels Good For Weight Loss

“Bagels can absolutely fit your weight-loss goals!,” says Lauren Smith, M.S., RD, LDN, owner of the Sorority Nutritionist. “If you love bagels and want to lose weight, you’re in luck because how many calories you eat matters more than where you get those calories from, when you are first beginning to lose weight.

Do you like bagels? If so, do you also find yourself looking at them with envy as they sit on a plate, knowing that there’s no way you could ever eat just one? Well, maybe not exactly envious, but definitely curious about what all the fuss is about. They look good enough to eat for breakfast (or lunch or dinner) right out of the box, but then you start thinking about each delicious ingredient — lox, cream cheese, pastrami, corned beef…and suddenly you’re ready to go back to bed.
But while it may seem impossible to eat just one, if you really think about it, it’s possible to have only two slices of plain whole wheat bread. It’s called portion control. And if you’re trying to lose some pounds, this type of restraint is important.
Why does eating just one slice of anything make us feel deprived? Because our bodies respond to food stimuli very much like Pavlov’s dogs. When we see something new, we automatically begin to crave it. Before long, we’ve eaten an entire sleeve of Oreos without even being aware of it. This happens because our brains release dopamine, which makes us feel pleasure, whenever we see anything associated with our favorite foods. In other words, it doesn’t matter what kind of food it is; once we decide to try it, our brain will tell our body to release the hormone ghrelin, which tells it to lower our inhibitions and increase hunger levels. The end result is that we eat far too much.
Since bagels are usually made with white flour, most people don’t associate them with foods high in fiber or healthy carbs. But did you know that whole grain bagels contain higher amounts of water than their refined counterparts? That means less room for the fat and sugar content that contributes to obesity. So instead of feeling deprived by eating just one bagel, you’ll actually be getting more nutrients per bite.
So whether you prefer rye, sourdough, poppy seed or any other flavor, bagels are a great source of fiber, protein, iron and calcium. However, keep reading to learn why certain types of bagels might help you shed some extra poundage.
Healthy Carbs vs. Unhealthy Carbs

Weight Loss Benefits of Fiber

The Best Ways to Lose Weight With Whole Grain Bagels

Healthy Carbs vs. Unhealthy Carbs
When people hear the word “carbohydrate,” they often assume carbohydrates are bad. After all, they contribute to weight gain and excess body fat when consumed in large quantities. As such, they’re seen as culprits behind the rising rates of diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. Carbohydrates actually play an essential role in our daily lives, including energy production, cell growth, muscle development and blood glucose regulation. The best sources of carbohydrate come from vegetables such as beans, fruits and grains. Foods containing lots of processed sugars, however, include soda, candy bars, cookies and cake. These should be limited or avoided altogether.
Whole grain bagels fall into the category of healthy carbohydrates. Unlike their refined counterparts, they provide complex carbohydrates, which are easier for the body to break down. Instead of sending blood sugar soaring after a few bites, these carbohydrates convert quickly into glucose and send it throughout the body. Since they take longer to digest, you won’t experience a sudden rush of insulin, which causes spikes in blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Complex carbs also provide fiber, which helps regulate digestion and prevents constipation. Fiber-rich foods can help prevent cancer, colon problems and heart diseases. Other benefits include lowering LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and increasing HDL (“good”) cholesterol.
While whole grain bagels are a great choice, there’s another reason why they’re beneficial for weight loss. Read on to discover more amazing ways whole grain bagels can boost your health.
Many experts recommend limiting your intake of red meat during dieting because it contains a lot of saturated fats. According to Dr. Weil, lean cuts of meat are fine to consume up to three times a week. He advises against eating red meat every day. [Source: WebMD]
Weight Loss Benefits of Fiber
Fiber has been shown to reduce risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease and stroke. It also reduces total cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Eating foods rich in fiber lowers LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and raises HDL (“good”) cholesterol.
A lack of fiber can lead to constipation. The opposite effect occurs with soluble fiber, which absorbs moisture in the digestive tract and adds bulk to stool, preventing it from becoming compacted. Soluble fiber also helps soften stools by absorbing water. Stool softening leads to better defecation, which allows waste material to pass through the intestines faster and easier.
Soluble fiber found in whole grain bagels works wonders by helping to cleanse the intestinal track and promote regularity. It also regulates appetite and decreases postprandial glycemic response (the spike in blood sugar caused by consuming carbohydrates).
In addition, studies show that women who ate diets high in fiber were able to maintain their menstrual cycle, a benefit for women who suffer from hormonal imbalances. Women who took folic acid supplements experienced fewer miscarriages. And research shows that women who ate diets high in fiber had significantly reduced risks of ovarian cancer.
Although fiber isn’t digested by humans, it increases the size of food particles, making them harder to swallow. Therefore, you need to avoid taking it within four hours of your mealtime. You can easily incorporate fiber into your diet by adding oatmeal, barley, bran, citrus fruit peel, prunes, nuts and seeds to various meals.
To maximize the weight loss potential of whole grain bagels, choose ones that are 100 percent whole grain. Look for ingredients such as brown rice, whole oats, wild rice and quinoa.
Read on to learn what part of the whole grain bagel you should opt for.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans get half of their dietary fiber from grain products, such as bread, cereal and pasta. [Source: USDA]
The Best Ways to Lose Weight With Whole Grain Bagels
As discussed earlier, choosing whole grain bagels over their refined counterparts can greatly impact your overall health. Now that you understand how they work, here are some tips to help you put their weight loss powers to use.
Start off slowly. If you’re used to munching on a traditional bagel topped with cream cheese, lox and sausage, it may take time to adjust. Try substituting sliced turkey deli meat or egg salad sandwich spread for the fatty toppings. Or simply buy smaller portions. Once you get used to this change, you’ll probably find yourself eating less.
Eat before going shopping. Going grocery shopping hungry can cause you to impulse shop for items you wouldn’t normally purchase. Eat a couple of crackers or granola bars before hitting the store.
Shop online. Online stores offer many different flavors of whole grain bagels. Order a variety pack and freeze the extras until you’re ready to bake. Then whip up a batch of muffins or pancakes using your frozen treats.
Don’t skip breakfast. Skipping breakfast puts you at risk for overeating later in the morning. Your body needs fuel to function properly throughout the day. Plus, skipping breakfast makes your metabolism sluggish and sends signals to your brain to slow its activity down. Start your day with a nutritious snack, such as a piece of fruit, low-fat yogurt or whole grain toast.
Limit alcohol consumption. Alcoholic beverages contain empty calories, which can add hundreds of calories to your daily intake. Choose nonalcoholic drinks such as sparkling water, tea and coffee.
Watch your salt intake. Salt can wreak havoc on your system. Too little sodium can cause a person to become dehydrated, leading to headaches and fatigue. Excess sodium can lead to hypertension, kidney damage, stomach ulcers and osteoporosis. Most people require 2,400 milligrams of sodium a day, while others need 1,500 milligrams. To determine how much sodium you need, visit http://www.niddk.nih.gov/bfrh/index.htm.
Maintain a balanced lifestyle. A proper diet combined with exercise is key to losing weight. Make sure you’re eating well-balanced meals featuring plenty of fruits, veggies and whole grains.
Now that you understand how whole grain bagels work, try incorporating them into recipes that call for refined flours. Here are a few simple suggestions:
Puff pastry dough – Substitute whole wheat flour for half of the white flour in your recipe. Also substitute butter or margarine for the oil.

Cinnamon rolls – Mix together yeast, warm milk, eggs and melted butter. Combine 3 cups whole wheat flour, 4 teaspoons baking powder, ½ teaspoon cinnamon and ¼ teaspoon nutmeg. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 35 minutes.

Date-nut bread – Use dates and pecans or walnuts. Add raisins, cranberries, ground ginger and cinnamon.

Brownies – Use cocoa powder instead of chocolate chips. If you must use

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