What is a whole food diet? A Whole food diet is a diet that gets most or all of its calories and nutrition from foods that are unprocessed or hardly processed. Foods such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, uncured meat, fresh fish, and non-homogenized dairy products. So, why whole foods? The health benefits are many, as we’ve discussed below.
Fats: Fats are needed for the body to function. A diet rich in whole foods has more “good” fats, such as omega-3s and monounsaturated fat. Omega-3s are found mainly in fish and some plants. These fats can help with cardiovascular health and have anti-inflammatory properties. Monounsaturated fats are found in red meat, whole milk products, nuts and high-fat fruits like olives. These fats can protect against cardiovascular disease
Fiber: Fiber is the indigestible portion of plant-based foods. It is found in vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. It is easier to get fiber from whole foods than from processed foods. When a food is processed fiber can be removed to make the food more palatable. Fiber is needed for good digestion.
Phenols: Phenols are antioxidants found in food such as; berries, tea, olive oil, cocoa, coffee, pomegranates, cider, wine, vinegar, vegetables, and nuts. Some phenols are toxic, but the ones found in whole foods are beneficial to the body.
Vitamins and minerals: Whole foods provide the vitamins and minerals needed to maintain health. Many people do not get enough vitamins and minerals. To compensate for this lack, synthetic supplements are often used. Processed foods often tout the vitamins and minerals they contain. These are synthetic versions added back into the food because during food processing the natural vitamins and minerals are often removed or destroyed.
Why does eating whole foods help in losing weight?
The main reason why whole foods can help you lose weight because there is “less” in whole foods than processed foods. When food is processed flavor is often lost. To make up for the lack of taste food manufacturers will add more fat, sugar, and/or sodium. Many people’s diets are already too full of those three nutrients. Fat and sugar add more calories to food. By consuming whole foods fewer calories are ingested.
Another reason is fiber. As mentioned above, fiber aids in digestion. It also helps a person feel full, sooner. And keeps a person feeling full, longer. This satiety helps stop people from over-eating. So fewer calories are consumed.