Column: Whole foods a big part of nutrition story
A “whole” food is one that is still in its most basic and unadulterated shape; when it still contains all of the nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants that are naturally inherent. It has not been processed, added to, or manipulated. Think of the difference between a plain baked potato and a box of dried potato flakes. Or compare a whole roasted chicken to a chicken nugget.
When a food is processed, many of the benefits of the whole food are lost. One very good example is bread or other baked goods made from refined white flour. When whole grains are refined, the bran and the coat of the grain are often removed. Guess where the vitamins, fiber, and minerals in grain reside? In the bran and coat. So these nutrients are lost and then the flour is often enriched, meaning that nutrients may be artificially put back in. Even after enrichment, the final product is likely to be less nutritious than the whole grains you started with.
Science recognizes that supplements, whether added to food or taken independently of food, do not have the same health benefits as those that naturally appear. The science of nutrition is always evolving, and at this time, it still has not identified all of the components found in food.
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