Barley for breakfast? Of course, says OSU nutrition expert

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OSU's plant breeders are developing barley varieties for food as well as brews

Obesity remains one of the biggest threats to the health of children and adults in the U.S. Hefty portions, inexpensive fast food and unwise food choices contribute to the problem.

Nutrition scientists at Oregon State University are working to promote barley as an important ingredient in helping people manage their weight. Recent research suggests that when people have barley for breakfast, they don’t eat as much at the next meal. The study followed a group of 60 people who ate a breakfast of oatmeal for five straight days, then switched to eating a barley cereal for five days. What they found was people consumed an average of 90 fewer calories at lunch when they had barley for breakfast, compared to when they ate oatmeal.

One of the most common problems with dieting is that people often feel hungry, said Mary Cluskey, one of the study’s authors. Eating fiber-rich, low-energy dense foods like barley decreases people’s appetites and helps them feel satisfied longer.

Oregon State Agricultural Sciences barley experts are leading international efforts to increase food barley production. Cornell and Purdue have consulted with Oregon State to develop food barley programs at those institutions. With nearly double the hunger-satisfying power of fiber per serving and similar in taste to the breakfast staple oatmeal, barley could be the next superfood.

Source: Mary Cluskey

See Bringing Barley Back, a story from Oregon’s Agricultural Progress.

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