The difference between White bread and Brown bread is a clear example between Whole Food and Refined Food. While refining the wheat the most nutritious part of the wheat – the cover, which has lots of fiber and micronutrients/ vitamins, is removed making the food inferior. Though the calories do not vary a lot – nutrition-wise there is a lot of loss. The same is the difference between Maida (refined Wheat flour) and Atta (whole wheat Atta).

The vitamins and minerals abundant in whole foods are the necessary raw materials that our bodies depend on daily. We also get the benefits of fiber and phytonutrients, which protect against chronic diseases like cancer and cardiovascular disease. Whole foods are considered “nutrient-dense,” meaning they contain a variety of nutrients and foods that are heavily processed are considered to contain “empty calories.”

Eating a diet mainly composed of heavily processed foods, or empty calories supplies us with excessive calories, sugar, fat, and sodium, and tends to be low in fiber and phytonutrients. These can negatively impact our bodies and play a role in the development of obesity, diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and certain types of cancer.

The best way to get an idea of the amount of processing a food has undergone is by looking at the ingredient list. A list with one or two ingredients may indicate a less-processed food and a longer ingredient list typically means more processing.

A whole food would be considered, ideally, as food with only one ingredient i.e. corn on the cob, apple, or cucumber. These foods will assist you in reducing your cholesterol, regulating your blood sugars, and reducing risk for diabetes while also assisting you in maintaining your weight. Processed food is any food with more than one ingredient, and food companies typically add additional sugars, preservatives, dyes, and “bad” fats such as saturated and trans fats. A perfect example would be a baked potato (one ingredient) compared to instant mashed potatoes. The ingredients list on the Hungry Jack instant mashed potatoes include: Potato Flakes (Sodium Bisulfate, BHA and Citric acid added to protect color and flavor), contains 2% or less of Monoglycerides, partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil, natural flavor, Sodium acid pyrophosphate, butter oil. (Hydrogenated oil is trans fat, which is directly linked to heart disease and plaque buildup.) It makes you wonder, with all of these added ingredients and chemicals and altering of oils, is this a real food?

In the present times, many packed food items are using refined cereals which are not so healthy. There is an argument that if we add salads in white bread makes a sandwich and then takes it – does it eliminate the difference? Yes, Saaol feels that it can be made up to the extent of 90-95%.

So the advice to people is whenever you have no option other than refined food try to add a lot of vegetables, salads in the food, and make up for the loss during refinement.  

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