Whenever I prepare food for my clients, I always get asked about the differences/benefits when it comes to consuming foods that are whole foods and plant-based (wfpb). Here’s how I break it all down:
When it comes to nutrition, the quality of the food we eat is just as important as the quantity. Processed foods and whole foods that are plant-based are two types of foods that are vastly different in terms of their nutrient content and can have a significant impact on our health. In this blog post, we will compare the benefits and drawbacks of processed foods and whole foods that are plant-based.
Processed foods are foods that have been altered in some way from their natural state. This can include adding preservatives, sugar, salt, or other additives to enhance flavor and shelf-life. Some examples of processed foods include cookies, chips, and soda.
Benefits of Processed Foods:
- Convenience: Processed foods are often quick and easy to prepare, making them a convenient choice for busy lifestyles.
- Cost-effective: Processed foods are often cheaper than whole foods, making them an attractive option for those on a tight budget.
Drawbacks of Processed Foods:
- Low nutrient density: Processed foods are often high in calories but low in nutrients, which can lead to overeating and poor nutrition.
- High in sugar and salt: Processed foods are often high in added sugar and salt, which can increase the risk of chronic diseases such as obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
- Chemical additives: Processed foods often contain artificial ingredients, such as preservatives and flavorings, which can have negative health effects.
Whole Foods that are Plant-Based:
Whole foods that are plant-based are foods that are minimally processed and are derived from plants, such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Examples of whole foods that are plant-based include kale, quinoa, and lentils.
Benefits of Whole Foods that are Plant-Based:
- Nutrient-dense: Whole foods that are plant-based are rich in nutrients such as fiber, vitamins, and minerals, which can help promote overall health and prevent chronic diseases.
- Low in saturated fat: Whole foods that are plant-based are typically low in saturated fat, which can help lower the risk of heart disease and other chronic diseases.
- Anti-inflammatory: Many whole foods that are plant-based have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as arthritis, cancer, and heart disease.
Drawbacks of Whole Foods that are Plant-Based:
- Higher cost: Whole foods that are plant-based can be more expensive than processed foods, which can be a barrier for some people.
- Limited convenience: Whole foods that are plant-based often require more preparation and cooking time than processed foods, which can be a challenge for those with busy schedules.
Processed foods and whole foods that are plant-based are two vastly different types of foods with different benefits and drawbacks. While processed foods may be convenient and cost-effective, they are often low in nutrients and high in sugar, salt, and artificial ingredients. Whole foods that are plant-based, on the other hand, are rich in nutrients and have anti-inflammatory properties, but may be more expensive and require more preparation time. Choosing whole foods that are plant-based whenever possible can help promote overall health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
To help you get started, try my vegan Lentil Soup Recipe. It includes lentils, vegetables, and vegetable broth. It’s also high in fiber and protein, making it a filling and nutritious meal. It’s easy, hearty, healthy, and delicious!
Until next time,
~Your Neighborhood Health Dealing Nutritionist & Chef~ K