Whole food diets don’t require you to count calories, use supplements, or deal with any complicated meal plans. They simply require you to eat mostly whole foods while reducing the amount of processed foods you eat. Not only do these whole food programs help individuals lose weight, they also offer many health benefits, such as reducing glucose levels, high blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.
Why Eat Whole Foods?
Why should you eat whole foods to promote weight loss and improved health? Whole foods refer to foods that are completely unprocessed or minimally unprocessed. This means that these foods are free from added sodium, preservatives, fats, and sugars, which all should be limited when you’re trying to eat a healthy diet.
Why Do Whole Food Weight Loss Diets Work?
Many individuals find that they do lose weight when following whole food diets. Why do these diets work so well? Restaurant foods and processed foods are very high in calories from the added fat and sugar. If you begin eating these foods regularly, all the extra calories will result in weight gain. However, when you cut those processed foods from your diet, you limit the intake of calories, which prevents further weight gain and promotes weight loss.
For example, simply eating a plain baked potato instead of eating fast-food French fries can save you more than 200 calories. When you substitute processed foods with whole foods, over time those calorie savings can result in considerable weight loss. Many whole foods, such as veggies, fruits, and whole grains, also include plenty of satiating dietary fiber. This fiber helps to make you feel full and keeps you feeling full longer, helping you to eat less.
Foods You Can Eat
So, what should you eat when you are on whole food diets? You actually have many options. You can eat lightly cooked or raw veggies and fruits, and lean meats, including fish, turkey, and chicken. Seeds and nuts can be eaten, as well as whole grains. Whole foods should make up most of your diet, and you can eat as much of these foods as you need to satisfy your hunger. Check out this comprehensive list from James Ward and this one from Dr. Charles – two respected diet authors.
Things You Shouldn’t Eat
If you want to get the best results from whole food weight loss diets, certain foods shouldn’t be eaten. You should avoid eating anything that comes in a package, bag, or box. Avoid foods that have added fats and sugars. Candy, crackers, frozen dinners, and other junk foods are just a few of the foods that should be limited or completely avoided. You also need to avoid sweetened drinks. Even whole grain products that have been processed, such as whole wheat pasta and whole wheat breads, should be limited. Avoiding these foods helps to control blood sugar and triglycerides while helping you to lose weight.
Other Weight Loss and Health Benefits of Whole Food Diets
Following diets that focus on whole foods offer many other great weight loss and health benefits as well, including:
- High in Phytochemicals – Many phytochemicals are essential to overall health. Important phytochemicals include lycopene, found in tomatoes, anthocyanins, find in berries, and pterostilbene, found in blueberries. Pterostilbene actually helps to switch cells to begin breaking down cholesterol and fats.
- Correct Nutrient Shortages – Nutrient shortages are very common among Americans. Unfortunately, these nutrient shortages increase the risk of health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, and high blood pressure. Common nutrient shortages include deficiencies in potassium, fiber, magnesium, vitamin A, and vitamin. Eating whole foods has the power to correct these nutrient shortages, aiding in weight loss and boosting overall health.
- Increased Fiber Intake – Fiber is essential for weight loss. Fiber makes you feel full longer, it helps you feel full faster, it fights heart disease, and it keeps your gastrointestinal tract moving. Whole foods are rich in fiber, while junk foods, fast foods, and processed foods aren’t. The increase in fiber from following whole food weight loss dietswill help you lose weight while offering many other health benefits.
Here are some popular weight loss and fitness programs which recommend a whole foods approach, and that have seen a huge success rate from customers:
All of those 4 reputable diets use whole food principles as the basis for getting in shape (and staying healthy) through nutrition.