Whole Foods Vs Processed Foods: Key Differences


The famous old adage, “You are what you eat” defines how whole foods have a great impact on a person’s health while processed foods have more added chemicals than nutrition. Here we shall discuss the key differences between whole foods and processed foods. This guide is your one-stop solution to get a better understanding of how processed foods harm our bodies while whole foods provide full nourishment. So, let’s start right from the basics and understand their meanings below.

What Are Whole Foods And Processed Foods?

Well, wholefoods refer to the items that are not processed, refined, or contain any added ingredients. Some examples of whole foods are nuts, seeds, whole grains, meat, fruits, vegetables, fish, eggs, etc. With whole foods, you can think of items that exist directly in nature like potatoes, fish, and tomatoes. Some people exclude the animal-based diet and follow a plant-based wholefood diet.

When it comes to processed foods, the items go through a modification that transforms them from their original form to the last consumable product. The whole process includes the addition of chemicals and additives that strip the nutrients from the food items and revamp the taste, looks, and feel of items from their natural form.

Major Differences Between Whole Foods And Ultra-Processed Foods

There are several differences between these two different types of food types. The calorie count is one of the major differences that you need to consider while consuming food items. The ultra-processed food items generally have a higher calorie count than the wholefood items as they go through a large transformation process where several more ingredients are added to them to create the final product.

For example, if you compare a 100-gram serving of potato chips with plain baked potato chips you will see significant difference in total calories. The processed potato chips contain 545 calories while the baked ones only contain 95.

The next difference is the overall sugar content. The ultra-processed food items have added sugars in them as manufacturers make them hyper-palatable. They add sweeteners like corn syrup with high fructose, cane sugar, and invert syrup to modify the taste.

However, these additives increase the overall sugar content when compared to normal wholefood items. For example, a bowl of processed cereal will have a higher sugar content than a bowl of breakfast containing rolled oats with fresh berries.

Besides all this, the ultra-processed food items are low in nutrition value and fiber. Moreover, they often contain higher amounts of salt and fat which can be pretty harmful to people, especially teenagers. According to the source, 61% of adults above the age of 16 are obese or facing issues of obesity in Wales.

Some food items come with diet, low fat, and lite labels. These items have reduced fat content but contain high amounts of artificial sweeteners, colors, flavors, and several other chemicals that can have a bad impact on your health.

So, make sure you analyze the nutritional value of the item before consuming it and giving it to your loved ones.

Should You Avoid All Ultra-Processed Food Items?

Well, as a human being, you cannot exclude all the ultra-processed food items from your life. Food is a source of happiness and enjoyment and it is okay if you consume the items once in a while. However, you have to make sure that you balance your diet with more whole foods.

Processed food items can impact your health adversely if you start consuming them on a regular basis. So, make sure you do everything in moderation and strive for a healthy lifestyle for a long and healthy life.