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Benefits of Eating Whole Foods Over Others?

John Davis
Benefits of Eating Whole Foods Over Others?

The idea of eating whole foods rather than processed foods may seem like the obvious choice for most sportsmen, yet how is it to make this choice in real life? Sports and Exercise Scientist Jack Wilson explains the differences between these two types of food and offers tips on the best ingredients you'll need for that next dinner.

Processed vs. whole food foods

At Porsche Human Performance, the plan for the nutrition guidance we provide to our athletes is based on seven essential "habits." Like hydration, one vital aspect that frequently is not acknowledged in the mainstream of nutrition is that there's no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach.

A strategy for nutrition that works for one individual cannot be guaranteed to work for another. That's why our seven practices while being recommended to everyone, permit a certain amount of flexibility to be tailored to each person's desires, goals, and needs.

The first habit we develop is the most important one, and it summarizes our primary diet philosophy and reinforces our other 6 habits that follow.

Choose whole food items rather than processed foods as often as is possible.

Why do we process food?

In general, food items are usually processed according to:

  • Increase the shelf life
  • 'Improve' taste
  • Create more consistency in form.
  • Enhance their appearance
  • Reduce or increase certain nutritional value (e.g., low fat)
  • It is easier to pack them, store and transport
  • They are easier to cook and eat

The results above are good news for food companies, but they're not always good news for us. Food processing frequently reduces the nutritional value of food items and increases the probability of eating increasing quantities.

For a long time, food and beverage companies have been hard at work in their labs, systematically studying the exact balance of the ingredients that pinpoint reward centers within our minds while amplifying that voice in the back of our minds that encourages us to eat. Sometimes, they've even screamed in shame about it. Can you think of a famous crisp company that had the tagline 'once you've popped, you'll never stop, Do you?

The issue with processed food is that it can be contaminated

The seemingly irresistible mix of salt, sugar, and fat is often cited in this context. Many experts have described food items that contain this triad of ingredients as "hyper-palatable." Numerous studies have examined whether or not these foods can be classified as addictive in the same manner as other recognized substances. 

The difference between processed and whole food food

Instead of imagining two distinct types of food when trying to differentiate between whole foods and processed ones, It's better to think of food and drink as the continuum. While we don't want to confuse things, it's essential to recognize that this continuum isn't associated with a healthy or unhealthy spectrum (e.g., the natural products of dairy aren't more nutritious than those at the entire food end).

As per Habit 1, the bulk of your nutritional needs is derived from foods that fall on the whole food part on the scale. When we get to the processed side, and whenever feasible, these food items are the best replacements with whole foods alternatives. This strategy is the most efficient method to improve the overall nutrition of our diet while improving our body composition and performance by diet.

If you're uncertain about where a certain food or beverage is on this spectrum, it is always recommended to look over the ingredients list. Its presence on an ingredient list, to begin with, could be the first warning signal! In general, the longer the list of ingredients and the more of the ingredients that aren't easy to comprehend or pronounce and pronounce, the further away from the processed side that food is likely to be and the more likely you're better off selecting an all-natural option.

John Davis
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