Today, we’ll explore the difference between whole and processed foods.
For many average North Americans, breakfast probably involves something like toast with peanut butter and jam, cereal, and of course, orange juice for the vitamin C.
Decades of food commercials have told us that these are all “part of a nutritious breakfast”. If we look on our breakfast food packages, we might see things like:
- “A good source of fiber”
- “Enriched with vitamins and minerals”
- “High in calcium”
- “Contains 30% of the RDA for vitamin C”
- “Made with real fruit”
- “100% pure premium fruit juice”
That all sounds pretty good, right?
But wait . . . remember how you learned to look at the back of the package — at the ingredient label — and not the front? Aha!
Whole vs. processed foods
Here are two important PN principles:
- Eat whole foods.
- Avoid or minimize processed and refined foods.
Okay, that makes sense.
But what is a “whole food”, anyway? Why is it better?
And what happens when something is “processed” or “refined”?
Great questions. Why does this matter?
The more steps a food has to take to get to its final destination, the less “good stuff” it contains.
Fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains have naturally occurring:
- good fats
- beneficial phytonutrients (plant chemicals), such as the pigments that make strawberries red
Processed foods have none of these naturally.
All the nutrients were removed during processing with heat, solvents, additives, preservatives, bleaches, deodorizers, and other industrial chemicals. Any vitamins, minerals, fiber, and “natural” colors and flavors have to be added back in.
And often, they’re a poor imitation of Nature’s amazing products.
So, when you’re looking at your breakfast this morning, ask yourself: How far has this food traveled?
What to do today
- Think about the food you’re eating today.
Ask yourself: How far has this food traveled to get to me?
- If the food you eat comes in a package, read the label.
- What does it contain?
- What was added to it to make it “healthy”?
- Do you know how that food was created?
*Article powered by Precision Nutrition Team