The Whole Truth

With so many nutrition gurus making health claims, deciding food choices can feel like calculus. But research suggests such complexity is unwarranted if most of your diet is whole foods. To simplify, keep these tips in mind on your next grocery trip:

  • Think more about what you should eat and less about what you shouldn’t. Avoid the sliding scale effect — if you have to convince yourself it’s not that bad, it probably is.
  • If the wrapper has to announce nutrition benefits, the product doesn’t qualify as whole. Fruits and vegetables don’t proclaim their nutrients. Neither do whole grains or beans. And while you still need to limit your saturated fat intake, beef and poultry are straightforward, which is far better than processed animal products like sausage, lunchmeat, or bacon.
  • Aim to feast more on Mother Nature’s banquet and less on products passed through a machine. Before you buy, ask yourself: “Did this live or grow at any point?” A bag of marshmallows certainly never sprouted from the ground.
  • Notice ingredients. If they’re difficult to pronounce, they’ll be difficult to digest. Avoid words like enriched, bleached, refined, or hydrogenated, and anything with additives — they indicate processing. White flour products, candy, soda, and frozen, boxed, or fast foods are good examples.

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