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What are Whole Foods? Learn about the Whole Food Diet

Author: Cara Walsh

June 03, 2014

What are Whole Foods? Learn about the Whole Food Diet

Author: Cara Walsh

June 03, 2014

Often after losing weight, there is a ton of information thrown at you regarding how to eat and what is considered ‘healthy’. It can be easy to feel overwhelmed. Every person you speak with has their own opinion, and it’s hard to know who to trust. At Medifast, we have tried to make it a little simpler with our meals and food products. Choose whole, real, unprocessed foods as much as you possibly can.

The information provided below was designed to help you take the guesswork out of eating healthy!

What are whole foods? Whole foods are foods that have been processed or refined as little as possible and are free from additives or other artificial substances.

Which of the following has more ‘whole food’ characteristics? Chicken breast or chicken strips? If you answered chicken breast, you are correct. This meat has not been transformed. Chicken strips are pounded, cut and mixed with other meats to form a specific shape. They are also usually breaded and fried, taking it further from its natural state.

What are some examples of whole foods?

  • All fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Canned or frozen fruits and veggies, with no added sugar or salt.
  • Fresh or frozen lean meats such as chicken, fish or steak (with no added nitrates or sauces).

o   Good to know: Wild fish such as salmon contain higher levels of EPA and DHA than their farm raised counterparts. This is due to the rich and healthy diet of plankton and other small invertebrates that are consumed in the ocean.

  • Raw, unsalted nuts such as almonds, walnuts, pecans, etc.
  • Brown rice, quinoa, steel cut oats

What does it mean to choose whole foods?

  • Foods with NO nutrition label on the product. (Ex: fruits and vegetables)
  • You understand and recognize all of the ingredients listed on the food label.
  • The nutrition panel ingredients list is very short (Ex: Canned Corn—ingredients: corn)

Minimally Processed Whole Foods
These foods have been altered slightly from their original state. However, they still contain very few ingredients or preservatives and are essential to a healthy diet.

  • Dairy and Non Dairy Products: low-fat/fat free milk and yogurts, unsweetened almond, rice, soy milk.
  • Whole Grains: choose 100% whole grain when possible, ex: whole grain bread and pastas.

Tip: Whole grain vs. whole wheat. Whole grain contains the intact grain of the bread, meaning it is less processed, higher in vitamins, minerals and fiber.

What would be the opposite of whole foods? Processed Foods.
Processed foods are those that are drastically transformed from their original state and created into something completely different. Can processed foods be a part of a healthy diet? Of course, just in moderation.

About the Author:

Cara Walsh
Counselor at The Carmel Mountain Ranch Medifast Weight Control Center
Cara Walsh is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Weight Control Counselor. Cara received her bachelor’s degree in Nutritional Science from San Diego State University and completed her dietetic internship to become a registered dietitian through the Utah State University. Cara is currently completing her Masters in Dietetic Administration through Utah State University. Cara has always had a passion for healthy eating and cooking. She loves to focus on how food can heal and provide nutrition-while tasting delicious. Cara thrives on helping others reach their full potential nutritionally. In her spare time she enjoys reading, going to Pilates and running the boardwalk on the Pacific Ocean with her son and husband.

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