What is a whole food anyway?

ImageThe other day I found my self shopping in Whole Foods unable to answer: What is a whole food? Why is it so special?  Why is it more money? If you’re wondering the same question, I just might have the answer for you!ImageImage

A whole food it a product that has had “nothing added or taken away” from it.  Usually when we talk about a whole food, we are referring to a type of pasta, rice, bread – a form of carbohydrate. The most literal interpretation of a whole food it a product that contains only unrefined dry ingredients.  So, what does unrefined mean?

Unrefined products do not endure any unnecessary processing, chemicals, additives, coloring, or flavoring. Vegetables, fruits, beans, legumes, potatoes, yogurts, oatmeal and whole grains (like rice, pasta, quinoa, buckwheat) are all examples of unrefined foods.

Refined foods are foods that are processed or altered chemically changing their nutritional benefits.  Oftentimes refined foods are made with white sugar or white flour. Processing reduces the amount of essential nutrients in a product, whereas unrefined foods offer a greater source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.  Unlike refined foods it takes our body a longer time to break down unrefined foods.  This is the reason why unrefined foods are a superior carbohydrate source, because they give us optimum energy and keep us feeling full for longer periods of time.

Not so fast though, you don’t need to go cleaning out all the refined foods in your cabinets.  They are still an essential part of our diet.  Just because whole foods offer nutritional advantages doesn’t mean that refined foods don’t.  Refined foods are okay in moderation. It would impossible to limit ourselves to a strict whole foods or refined foods diet.

Hopefully this helps the next time you are perusing through the pasta aisle.

Sources:
“Vegetarian [Paperback].” Vegetarian: Nicola Graimes: 9780760749531: Amazon.com: Books. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2012. (6-9)
"The Difference between Unrefined and Refined Carbohydrates." / Nutrition / Carbs. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Jan. 2013.
"Unrefined vs. Refined Carbohydrates – The List." HallfordHealth. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Feb. 2013.