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Disappointed by What are "Whole Foods"

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Old 11-22-2011, 01:38 AM   #1
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Default Disappointed by What are "Whole Foods"

The thread is closed so I can reply but after reading it I was a little bit disappointed.

Quote:
A whole foods diet should include a variety of foods such as fruit, vegetables, dairy products or alternatives (soy milk, almond milk), healthy fats and oils, natural sweeteners, grains, pulses, beans and seeds.
Dairy is only a whole food if raw, unpasturized,

Dairy alternatives are definitely not whole foods, to make soy or almond into 'milk' it needs to be highly processed.

Healthy fats and oils is very misleading and should be explained a bit better. Lard, ghee, coconut oil, olive oil are generally said to be 'healthy'.

Natural sweeteners like honey, aguave etc are pure fructose and not healthy.

Grains even as a whole food are high in lectins and generally very inflammatory.

Meat seems to be missing from this list as well, and although it needs to cook, it is a whole food.
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Old 11-22-2011, 02:11 AM   #2
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While you make some good points, your definition of whole foods is not the only one. "Whole Foods" is a term that has no universally accepted definition and is still quite open to interpretation, with different individuals and different groups or "factions" arguing over which foods should and shouldn't be included under the defining umbrella of the term "whole foods."

While most agree that foods should be unprocessed, different folks define processing itself differently. Is applying heat (cooking) processing? Some argue yes, some argue no, and some argue that it depends on the temperature. Is grinding (as in making peanut butter or grinding whole grains into flour) processing? Some say yes, some say no. Is "seperating" processing (is it ok to eat egg whites without the yokes, beans removed from the pods, grains with the germ removed, juice seperated from the fruit fiber)? Again it depends on who you talk to.

The "whole food" movement suffers from the same ambiguity as does the term "low-carb," and as a result, both terms end up very much "in the eye of the beholder."

On one hand, I'd love to see the definition tightened up, and on the other hand I think quibbling over which foods are and aren't "whole" ends up obsucruing the true point... of eating less processed foods, closer to their natural state. In fact, tightening up the definition may scare newbies away from the "whole foods" concept, because they're not ready to live with the most extreme definitions of whole foods. Rather, seeing a "whole foods lifestyle" as an incremental developmental process rather than a set of requirements "set in stone," may make the most sense, because overhauling your diet often is less successful than making incremental and gradual changes. However, incremental change isn't very popular in diet and weight loss culture. The "overhaul by perfection" is the far more common model - and I think that is a very big part of why diet success rates are so poor. We don't consider incremental improvement a legitimate strategy. Only perfection counts, and if we can't be perfectly on a perfect plan, we might as well have no plan at all.

For example, many people do not consider any cooked foods to be whole foods. It's a legitimate argument, because "cooking" is a process, and one can argue that cooking is not a natural state for food (you can also argue that it is).

My point being that your definition of whole foods is not the only one, and while it's ok for you to have a different definition than other folks, and to share your opinions and defend them - making definitive declarative statements as to which foods are and aren't "whole" is premature. There just isn't enough consensus to declare other people's definitions inappropriate (you can argue that specific foods should be excluded, but not that they definitively have been).
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Old 11-22-2011, 02:22 AM   #3
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I agree with Kaplods. I define 'whole foods' as being as close to nature as possible, with little to no additions. I prefer honey to sugar, because making sugar requires a long process of turning the cane into granules. Natural sweeteners-honey, agave, bananas-exist in nature in that state. I believe in eating a wide range of foods made or eaten as simply as can be, with nothing artificial added.

Also, I'm assuming you've never made almond milk, but it doesn't require loads of processing (not sure about soy milk). In fact, I might consider home-made almond milk to be a fairly whole food-there's still nothing artificial added and it's simple to make. All you do is soak raw almonds for a day in water, blend them in a blender with some of the water, strain the grit. Presto, delicious almond milk, nothing added, no chemical processes required.
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Old 11-22-2011, 07:19 AM   #4
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I make soy milk at home. All I use are soy beans, water and a little salt. It is minimally processed.
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Old 11-22-2011, 08:46 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by swtbttrfly23 View Post
Natural sweeteners-honey, agave, bananas-exist in nature in that state. I believe in eating a wide range of foods made or eaten as simply as can be, with nothing artificial added.
I am no where near perfection on a whole foods lifestyle, and I don't try to get there. I make choices on an individual basis, and sometimes I embrace a highly processed food, but in general I do take level of processing into account and overall my food choices are less processed that what most people choose.

But I honestly don't understand why people consider agave a whole food product or healthier than sugar from sugar cane. It's pretty highly processed and has a higher percentage of fructose than HFCS. It's often called nectar, and I think people might believe it's just drained straight from the flowers.

There are reasons to choose agave (and fructose in general) if blood sugar spikes are an overriding issue. But I would like to think people are making that decision from an informed viewpoint, rather than being taken in by marketers.

This from wikipedia...

To produce agave nectar from the Agave tequiliana the leaves are cut off the plant after it has aged 7 to 10 years. Then the juice is expressed from the core of the agave, called the piņa.[2] The juice is filtered, then heated to hydrolyze polysaccharides into simple sugars. The main polysaccharide is called inulin or fructosan and comprises mostly fructose units. The filtered, hydrolyzed juice is concentrated to a syrupy liquid, slightly thinner than honey, from light- to dark-amber, depending on the degree of processing.
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Old 11-22-2011, 05:11 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by yoyoma View Post
I am no where near perfection on a whole foods lifestyle, and I don't try to get there. I make choices on an individual basis, and sometimes I embrace a highly processed food, but in general I do take level of processing into account and overall my food choices are less processed that what most people choose.

But I honestly don't understand why people consider agave a whole food product or healthier than sugar from sugar cane. It's pretty highly processed and has a higher percentage of fructose than HFCS. It's often called nectar, and I think people might believe it's just drained straight from the flowers.

There are reasons to choose agave (and fructose in general) if blood sugar spikes are an overriding issue. But I would like to think people are making that decision from an informed viewpoint, rather than being taken in by marketers.

This from wikipedia...

To produce agave nectar from the Agave tequiliana the leaves are cut off the plant after it has aged 7 to 10 years. Then the juice is expressed from the core of the agave, called the piņa.[2] The juice is filtered, then heated to hydrolyze polysaccharides into simple sugars. The main polysaccharide is called inulin or fructosan and comprises mostly fructose units. The filtered, hydrolyzed juice is concentrated to a syrupy liquid, slightly thinner than honey, from light- to dark-amber, depending on the degree of processing.
Interesting! I don't really use agave, and I was very much of the mind that it just gets drained from the plant and that's it, but I obviously haven't done my research on that one. I really only use raw honey as my sweetener, and I'll probably continue to avoid agave considering that processing!
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Old 11-22-2011, 05:19 PM   #7
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There are definitely a lot of different approaches to what we call "Whole Foods" here. Mostly we'll all agree on fruits and veggies, but everyone has a personal tolerance for processing that may change from person to person (or even year to year, with an individual adjusting their definition over time).
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Old 11-22-2011, 06:02 PM   #8
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Default Just because foods are 'whole' foods in their natural state, or close to it, does not

Quote:
Originally Posted by nelie View Post
I make soy milk at home. All I use are soy beans, water and a little salt. It is minimally processed.
Quote:
Also, I'm assuming you've never made almond milk, but it doesn't require loads of processing (not sure about soy milk).
I have not made these but I do know the 'process' required to make them .... LOL


I do agree with what you all are saying and it made me re-evaluate the point I was trying to get across. I would now change it to

"Just because foods are 'whole' foods in their natural state, or close to it, does not inherently make them healthy"

Honey for example is really no different than high fructose corn syrup, its mostly fructose and some glucose. It is no healthier than cane sugar. Same with agave.

Soy is highly genetically modified and are among the richest foods in total phytoestrogens.

Wheat is also highly genetically modified and as I said before very high in lectins and gluten.

And again meat and animal protein seems to be left out, yet it is a whole food that humans have ate for millions of years, and it can be eaten uncooked as well.

Thoughts?
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Old 11-22-2011, 07:02 PM   #9
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Well I don't eat meat so I can't comment on that. The idea of whole foods is to eat minimally processed foods and foods as close to their natural state as we can. When I started eating a whole foods diet, I basically ate a lot of fruits, veggies and legumes. If I picked up a package of something such as bread and it had more than 5 ingredients in it, I put it back. I eat corn tortillas, again minimally processed.

Everyone has to work to figure out what works best for them.
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Old 11-23-2011, 07:11 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justhamade View Post
I do agree with what you all are saying and it made me re-evaluate the point I was trying to get across. I would now change it to

"Just because foods are 'whole' foods in their natural state, or close to it, does not inherently make them healthy."

Honey for example is really no different than high fructose corn syrup, its mostly fructose and some glucose. It is no healthier than cane sugar. Same with agave.
Absolutely!

However, in defense of "whole foods" lifestyle, I'd say it's a useful tool. If you make an effort to choose foods that are less processed, *in general* you will be steering your diet in the right direction. It's a rule of thumb that helps you pick a large apple instead of a 100-calorie oreo bits snack pack.

Diet approaches like whole foods, low carb, Mediterranean, paleo, etc. are good tools for people to improve their food choices without turning each choice into a detailed analysis. Unfortunately, some people do forget that it's just a tool and start to misuse it -- too many fried pork rinds on Atkins (btdt), too much "natural" sweetener in whole foods, etc.

Although "whole foods" is not the only food approach that is subject to misuse, it is true that "healthy" and "whole foods" have become almost synonymous in many people's minds and it gets more play than most other approaches. And marketers buttress that association while pushing processed products that they somehow manage to pawn off as whole foods to siphon consumer cash. For example, Whole Foods sells a lot more than fresh produce, grass-fed meats, and bulk grains -- and I do shop there sometimes; they serve a purpose, but *their* goal is to make money, not keep customers healthy.

So, I think it's useful to have a reminder that we need to use our tools responsibly. That no food choice approach is a guarantee of a healthy diet if we don't scrutinize it. But I wouldn't throw the baby out with the bath water. Let's keep the "whole foods" approach in our tool chest.
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Old 11-24-2011, 08:26 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by justhamade View Post
Honey for example is really no different than high fructose corn syrup, its mostly fructose and some glucose. It is no healthier than cane sugar. Same with agave.
I respectfully disagree with this statement. I am a big fan of honey, although it often doesn't replace good old sugar in the same way. But I do think it's a healthier option- http://www.superfoodsrx.com/superfoods/honey/
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Old 12-05-2011, 12:54 PM   #12
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I believe if we truly want to nit pick, we must hunt with our own spears. Until then, use your judgment accordingly and read labels - decide for yourself. At the end of the day, it's your body. Peace
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Old 12-06-2011, 02:38 AM   #13
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I essentially try to follow Michael Pollan's food rule, I don't buy anything that my great grandmother wouldn't have recognized as food. I also steer clear of anything with ingredients I can't pronounce.
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Old 12-13-2011, 06:56 PM   #14
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I personally use the term whole foods for any natural, unrefined food.
Any plant product, unrefined and unprocessed, is a whole food. This obviously excludes sugar, refined grains, high fructose corn syrup, etc.
Whole grains, although not a natural part of the human diet, are whole foods, I think.
Honey is a whole food. I do not eat it for ethical reasons, but I do believe it has health benefits.
I do not think meat or dairy are whole foods.. I suppose this is because I view the two as incredibly unhealthy (I realize grains are not healthy either, but they're more respectable).


I agree very much with hlaoroo, too.
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Old 01-04-2012, 06:21 PM   #15
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I personally use the term whole foods for any natural, unrefined food.

I do not think meat or dairy are whole foods.. I suppose this is because I view the two as incredibly unhealthy (I realize grains are not healthy either, but they're more respectable).
Whole grains require processing to make edible, and have been extensively bred into the forms we know today. Meat can be eaten raw with only teeth and hands, from an animal in any era.

how can you justify excluding meat as a whole food, whether you think it is healthy or not? It is the ultimate in natural & unrefiner, to use your words.
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