Buckwheat Diet – Can It Help You Lose Weight?
The buckwheat diet refers to eating only buckwheat groats, a type of grain similar to oats, for a short time, usually just two weeks. While it’s never good to follow any extreme diet and especially without talking to your doctor first, you might consider some benefits of using buckwheat cereal as part of your everyday eating. You can use this grain as part of a raw foods diet or in place of flour when you bake and cook, or add buckwheat groats to other dishes to give them bulk and fiber. There are many benefits to doing this, including losing weight, fighting fatigue, and keeping blood sugar levels in check!
Let’s first talk about buckwheat groats for those who have never heard of this particular food, and then about the buckwheat diet itself, as well as how to add this nutrient to your everyday meal plans. You can then make a healthy choice about whether or not to follow a strict buckwheat diet itself, or to just add more of this food to your cooking.
1. What are buckwheat groats?
Simply put, buckwheat is a plant, just how wheat is a plant, and this buckwheat plant may be processed to create groats, which are similar to oat grains. The groats are a bit more firm and crunchy than oatmeal, but they can be boiled and eaten just as you would standard oats. The buckwheat can also be finely processed and milled so that it becomes buckwheat flour. Like any other type of flour, it can then be used for baking bread, muffins, pancakes, and noodles.
Roasted buckwheat can have more flavor than plain groats. Roasted groats may have a slightly toasted flavor, and they can be boiled or even eaten on their own as a snack. This is especially good for those who follow a raw foods diet or who need to increase their everyday fiber intake.
2. How to cook buckwheat
Because buckwheat groats are a bit thicker and more coarse and crunchy than standard oatmeal, you may find that you need to boil them longer than you would standard oatmeal. The groats also won’t absorb as much water as oatmeal, so don’t assume you need to keep cooking them until the water disappears, as you usually do when cooking oats. Instead, cook them just until tender, and then drain the buckwheat cereal in a colander. You can then add some honey or maple syrup or whatever else you would add to your standard oatmeal dish.
When using buckwheat flour, you can use it as you would any other type of flour in a recipe. The grain may have a bit more of a pungent or toasted flavor, so be prepared for a heartier taste to your muffins, pancakes, and noodles.
3. The benefits of buckwheat recipes
Many studies have suggested that buckwheat flour helps the blood to better absorb glucose, which can be very beneficial for diabetics. Of course, you never want to stop taking any medication without talking first to your doctor, and should always monitor a condition like diabetes closely, but using buckwheat flour in your recipes or having buckwheat groats for breakfast can be just what you need to help keep your blood sugar levels in check.
Maintaining healthy levels of blood sugar with buckwheat groats can also help with fatigue. When your body’s blood sugar fluctuates, you may get tired and sleepy, as the body needs a certain amount of glucose for energy.
Because buckwheat groats aren’t as finely processed as white flour, they will have more fiber content; buckwheat flour typically contains about 17 grams of fiber per cup, whereas a cup of white flour has less than a gram of fiber! This added fiber in buckwheat flour can help to fill you up so you eat less and feel full for longer, helping you to lose weight and keep it off.
4. Following the buckwheat diet and using this nutrient for cooking
To follow an actual buckwheat diet, you would have buckwheat groats as the main staple of your eating for two weeks. You don’t want to rely only on buckwheat cereal during this time, as you can then miss out on some vital nutrients. Instead, it’s good to have a piece of fruit or cup of fruit once per day, and to vary this fruit every day, so you’re getting their healthy vitamins and trace minerals.
You also need protein when following the buckwheat diet; you might have a few ounces of meat every day, or your favorite vegetarian source of protein. This might include a small handful of peanuts, a small bowl of black beans, or some hummus.
These other foods should add up to about a fourth of your everyday eating while filling up on buckwheat porridge or roasted buckwheat groats. You can also add a bit of honey to your buckwheat cereal every day for a bit more sugar and protein, to ensure healthy energy levels.
Also, since the fiber you’ll be getting with your buckwheat diet will absorb moisture in your system, be sure you drink copious amounts of water and cut down on the caffeine intake during these two weeks. If you get cramps or an upset stomach when filling up on buckwheat groats, have more water so your body can easily digest the grains and break them down.
5. Some more things to consider
You may also want to take a break from the diet at the end of the first week and have some salad, raw veggies, eggs, and other light but healthy foods. This will ensure you don’t have any gaps in your nutrition while following the diet. Consider having olive oil and vinegar as dressing on that salad, so you know you’re getting the healthy fats your body needs to absorb vitamins and minerals.
Once you’ve finished this diet, use buckwheat flour in all your baking rather than white flour, and have some buckwheat cereal for breakfast at least three times every week, in place of sugary packaged cereals. If you do, you’ll find that the buckwheat diet may be just what you need to lose weight and keep it off for good!