Whole foods are much more than the sum of their parts. In an era of “nutritional reductionism”, plant-based foods tend to be regarded collectively as protective against disease and aligned with better health. Unfortunately, this viewpoint often underappreciates some of the most important difference makers with respect to a food’s ability to influence health promoting qualities.
Identifying and categorizing foods as simply plant-based or defining them solely by their macronutrient content, generally omits critical aspects that influence disease processes. It is paramount that health professionals and consumers alike give greater consideration to the level of food refinement and subsequently, the many beneficial properties that are lost in this refinement — limiting a food’s inherent potential to impact health.
Whole foods are collectively viewed as higher in fiber and lower in sugar or fat. While this may be a common attribute, there is far more entailed and that should be appreciated in a whole, complex food than in those that are refined or reduced. This discussion highlights many interactive molecules inherent to whole plant foods, simply missing from foods comprised of isolated ingredients.
APPROVED FOR 1 CPE CREDIT BY THE CDR OF THE ACADEMY OF NUTRITION AND DIETETICS
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