(Music) Being a savvy consumer and making healthy food choices depends on knowing the difference between whole food and processed food. We live in a culture that values convenience and technology and is in the last 60 to 70 years traded in nutrient dense whole food for the convenience of fast foods and processed foods developed by technology.
A healthful diet is one that meets your body’s nutritional needs.
The human body has evolved over thousands of years to have its nutritional requirements met by the nutrients in whole foods. Whole foods are foods that are plant and animal foods found as they are in nature.
A simple rule of thumb for recognizing a whole food is that it either grew in dirt or water or ate something that grew in dirt or water. Whole foods are sources of macro-nutrients but they are also rich in the micro-nutrients as signified by their bright colors. They’re what we call nutrient dense foods.
A whole food does not require a nutrition label because it is simply that, whole with no added ingredients.
By contrast processed foods are no longer recognizably related to their source in nature.
They did not grow in the dirt. Nor, eat anything that grew in the dirt.
They are often refined grain and sugar products filled with added preservatives, artificial sweeteners, and artificial flavors.
They may be high in one macro-nutrient, but are low in the micro-nutrients.
They are what we call nutrient poor foods, or empty calories.
When we consume empty calories we end up eating more then we normally would as our body continues to seek the true nutrition it needs. There are few simple keys to being a savvy consumer and making healthful food choices as you plan your daily nutrition.
Focus on consuming nutrient dense whole foods.
Navigate the grocery store by shopping the perimeter of the store, which is where the whole foods are found meat, dairy, eggs, and produce.
Remember that whole foods are foods that do no require a nutrition label. When you do choose a processed food, read the nutrition label carefully and the ingredient list.
You want to look for total carbohydrate content and any added sugars.
Consuming added sugars or a food with the carbohydrate content in the double digits will cause you to crave more of these sugars and end up eating more empty calories. Avoid any processed food that has hydrogenated oil or partially hydrogenated oil in the ingredients list.
These are harmful Trans Fats.
The FDA has allowed a food label to say 0 grams Trans Fat if there is less then half a gram of Trans Fat per serving.
But, consume two to three servings of one of these foods and you have included the harmful Trans Fats in your diet. Avoid foods that say Reduced Fat or Fat Free on the label.
Naturally occurring fats such as those found in peanut butter provide satiety and flavor.
When food producers remove those fats they add sugars, trans fats, and artificial sweeteners and flavors so the foods will still taste good and be attractive to us.
Remember every single food choice you make has the potential to move you closer to or farther from your body’s ultimate expression of health, vitality, and longevity.