It’s the concept behind one of the most popular health food chains in the nation, but have you ever stopped to consider what whole foods are? Learning how to identify this one difference can transform the way you think about food. Here is what you need to know.
Whole foods are sometimes referred to as real foods. They are any foods that are nature-made and no or low-processed. It’s the difference between juice made from concentrate with added sugar, coloring, flavoring and preservatives—and freshly squeezed juice with no man-made additives. Or caramel coated popcorn versus plain popcorn with a bit of olive oil, salt, and herbs.
In the average grocery store, these are the foods found primarily on the perimeter, the produce and the unprocessed meat and seafood. Whole foods also include beans, legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and minimally processed dairy. For example, plain yogurt versus yogurt with fake fruit flavor, food coloring, and added sugar.
Nature delivers the essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients our body needs to thrive. When our diet is filled with a diverse range of whole foods we can improve our immunity and balance our body from the inside out. Unfortunately, many of us have transitioned to daily diets that consist primarily of processed foods. This means that we can eat until we are full but not come anywhere near our daily recommended amount of nutrients—even if we are severely over our daily suggested amount of processed sugars, fat, and calories. This is not to say that you can’t have unhealthy dietary habits when you eat primarily a whole food diet, but the common concerns about sodium intake, trans fat, and bad sugars and carbs are of far less concern.
Any whole food can be marketed in a manner that makes it sound like it is low-processed. This is common in cereal, bread, and rice. For example, instant white rice is milled, cooked and dehydrated removing most of its fiber and nutritional value. It is essentially an empty calorie filler. On the other hand, brown rice, wild rice and grains like quinoa have only been milled, so they retain their fiber and nutrient value—they contribute to your nutrition. When choosing cereal and bread look for labels that say “100% whole grain” opposed to just “whole grain cereal” which has some whole grains but is likely over processed. These differences seem small but are detrimental.
One of the best reasons to personalize your nutrition is to learn how to read labels to determine if a food product is a whole food, low-processed or full-on processed. This one change alone plays a vital role in achieving your weight loss goals. However, the team at Personalized Nutrition Concepts will take things one step further by customizing your nutrient intake to boost your health, increase your energy, and optimize athletic performance.
We invite you to reach out today to learn how a personalized approach to meal planning can transform your health!