When it comes to diets, people often turn to those that have a strict set of rules about what you can eat, how much, and when. A whole-food diet is not like that. This is because it is not a traditional diet. Rather, it’s a whole-food approach that can be used to guide your food choices over the long term.

What is a Whole Food Diet?

A complete diet is not an official or commercial diet. Rather, it’s a whole-foods approach to eating that’s designed to be a long-term, sustainable plan. It’s as self-explanatory as it gets: You fill your plate with whole foods and, as much as possible, avoid processed ones. Whole foods are as close to their natural, unprocessed form as possible. They include foods like whole grains, fruits and vegetables, lean meats like chicken and fish, milk, yogurt, legumes, nuts and seeds.

Whole or processed foods

Before trying a whole-food diet, it’s important to know that most of the foods you eat are processed to some degree. Cooked, canned, frozen, packaged, or nutritionally modified foods are all considered “processed.” Nutritionally modified foods include those that are fortified or preserved. That said, each time a food is prepared or cooked, it is processed to some degree. Take the roasted pistachios you snack on, the bagged lettuce you buy for the midday salad, or the brown rice you’re about to eat – they’ve all been processed, if only slightly.

As part of a complete diet, it’s okay to occasionally eat minimally processed foods like yogurt and cheese. Canned or frozen fruits and vegetables can also be healthy choices when eaten without added sugar or excess sodium. Just try to avoid highly processed foods, such as fast foods, frozen pizzas, and meals prepared for the microwave. You can easily identify these foods because they are pre-packaged and have a long list of ingredients that you have never heard of and are often difficult to pronounce. These foods can contain a lot of added sugar and sodium. Excessive salt consumption can lead to high blood pressure, a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. And excessive sugar consumption comes with a higher risk of health problems, such as excess weight and type 2 diabetes.

What are the potential health benefits of a whole-food diet?

Whole foods retain their nutrients, phytochemicals, and fiber, which are often lost in processed foods. Research suggests that there are many reasons to consider eating more of these nutrient-dense fresh foods and fewer processed foods:

Prevention of chronic diseases

Although some animal products are allowed on this diet plan, a whole-foods diet will most likely result in an increase in your intake of healthy plant-based foods, as it emphasizes fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes. In one study, people who ate a plant-based diet were 19% less likely to die from cardiovascular disease and 11% less likely to die from any cause, compared to people whose diet was lower in plant-based foods.
What’s more, a study showed that diets high in whole foods — including whole grains, vegetables, fruits, fermented dairy products, fish, olive oil, nuts, chocolate, coffee and tea – are associated with a lower risk of cancer, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. On the other hand, the consumption of red and processed meats and sugary drinks is linked to a higher risk of these pathologies.

Chronic Disease Management

A diet that emphasizes whole, plant-based foods is generally rich in nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. This type of diet can also help to naturally limit fat and calorie intake. For these reasons, it’s a great way to manage or treat conditions like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, chronic kidney disease, and autoimmune diseases.right up arrow


Many processed foods are loaded with sugar and salt to enhance the taste. Removing them can save calories, which can lead to weight loss and could prolong life and prevent disease. A randomized controlled trial showed that people on a processed diet consumed 500 more calories per day, compared to people on an unprocessed diet. This study was small (20 adults only) and took place over a short period of time (14 days), but larger studies show that diets with lots of ultra-processed foods increase the risk of heart disease and heart disease. ‘stroke.

In another study, six months of following a whole-food, plant-based diet resulted in a weight loss of about 5 pounds, compared to a control group who lost less than a pound during that time. period. Participants in both groups were overweight or obese and had at least one chronic condition, such as type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure. Overall, the group following the complete diet maintained this weight loss over 12 months.

Improved gastrointestinal health

By filling your diet with foods that are naturally high in fiber (whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables), you’re more likely to meet your recommended daily fiber intake. (Women should aim for at least 25 grams of fiber per day, while men should aim for at least 38 grams per day.) A high-fiber diet leads to lower rates of chronic disease and improved digestion and digestion. gastrointestinal health.

A stronger immune system

A healthy, balanced diet promotes a healthy immune system. By opting for variety, you ensure that you are consuming a whole range of nutrients, such as vitamin C, zinc and selenium, which are known to strengthen your body’s defenses. Additionally, a diet low in fruits and vegetables but filled with ultra-processed foods (which are discouraged or severely limited in this diet plan) can negatively impact gut health and increase inflammation, two factors that can have negative effects on your immune system.

What are the risks of a whole-food diet?

In general, the whole diet has few downsides, as long as you keep a sense of proportion. It is important to realize that it is not necessarily all or nothing. By avoiding this mentality, you are not setting yourself up for failure. “Be careful if you have a history of eating disorders. Following a whole-foods diet too strictly can lead to a fixation on “clean eating” and, for some people, immediate shame if they eat something processed.

If you’ve ever obsessed over your food choices, see a dietitian who can help you adapt your diet safely. You can also turn to the National Eating Disorders Association for resources and support.

The following foods can be part of your meal plan as part of a complete diet:

Whole grains
Non-starchy vegetables (asparagus, green beans, peppers)
Starchy vegetables (corn, carrots, potatoes)
Seafood, including fish
Natural yogurt
Fromage blanc
Nuts and seeds
Legumes (beans and lentils)
Oil (olive oil, avocado oil)

Avoid or limit the following foods as much as possible:

White bread
French fries
Crisps and crackers
Frozen pizza
Fast food
Chocolate bars
chicken nuggets
hot dogs
Commercial bakery products
deli meat
Most Microwave Meals
Soda and other sugary drinks


A whole-food diet can benefit your health because it focuses on the types of foods (such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds) that are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber. The principle of this diet can serve as a guideline for choosing the most nutritious foods, but it will not provide you with a set of rules to follow, and it is intended as a long-term lifestyle choice rather than a diet. fashionable in the short term.

* criptom strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can not replace the opinion of a health professional.