There is some encouraging news for those seeking natural weight loss solutions particularly around their waist. According to some recent research findings from the Journal of American College of Nutrition [August 2010], people eating more beans and whole grains lost more weight around their middle than their counterparts following similar diet but consuming refined grains and very little beans.

In our quest for losing stomach fat it is good to know there are some foods that are not only good for you but the consumption of which will actually help with problem areas such as belly fat. The research states that consumption of whole grains and beans is better and more beneficial for the body. These foods are considered complex carbohydrates i.e. the good carbs because they have a low-glycemic-index. Such foods are processed more slowly by the body than the refined foods thus stabilizing blood sugar and providing a sustained source of energy. Further, they leave you feeling fuller longer and therefore you are less likely to snack.

There is now a lot of information around about whole grains being healthier than refined grains. Think of your wholemeal bread and white bread. The wholemeal bread is more nutritious than the white bread and most supermarkets and shops now have a range of these healthier breads in stock.

Why are the whole grains better for you?

These are grains that are unprocessed and unrefined so that they still retain all their parts i.e. the outer fibrous shell also referred to as bran, the germ and the endosperm which is the inner main part of the grain. Refined grain will have the bran and germ removed and you are left with the endosperm which is just pure carbohydrate. A lot of nutrition is lost with the bran and the germ. The bran, the fibrous-like part is actually a useful source of soluble fiber which is very healthy for the body. Beans are also a nutrient rich food providing protein, the useful soluble fiber and many other nutrients. And both are low in fat.

What whole grains and beans to include in your daily diet?

Both whole grains and beans are extremely adaptable and versatile and easy to include in your daily menu. You can substitute whole grains for the refined grains e.g.: whole wheat bread, brown wheat pasta, brown rice, wild rice, buckwheat, quinoa, millet and barley instead of white bread, white wheat pasta and white rice.

There is a huge variety of beans you can include in your daily diet such as black beans, kidney beans, black-eyed peas, garbanzo beans, mung beans, split peas, pinto beans and soy beans to name a few.

Any of these beans can be used in a variety of ways e.g. in soups, mashed in place of potatoes, in hot or cold salads. The possibilities are endless. Beans are also very easy to get hold of. You can buy them canned in supermarkets; just make sure to rinse out the salt and sugar they often add as preservatives. If you buy them raw, you will need to soak them a few hours and then boil them until tender and then use them in whatever way you like.

Of course, although substituting refined foods for healthier unrefined foods will, according to the research mentioned above help to whittle your waistline and lose belly fat, don't forget you need to include some regular exercise or physical activity too to tone up overall and get down to your desired weight.