Food Fight

 Whole Foods Vs Processed Foods

This post has been inspired by some recent discussion with a few of my clients in regards to how certain foods that we eat react in the way that they do.

Pretty much every client that has worked with me, ends up eating more food than they were originally, whilst at the same time losing body fat, and gaining some muscle in the process.

How on earth is this humanly possible if they are consuming more calories? Well my friends, that is a very good question, and one that I am going to answer as simply as possible………

Let’s put foods into two categories for simplicity’s sake:

Whole Foods

  • Vegetables & fruits
  • Lean meats & fish
  • Pulses/Legumes (beans, lentils etc)
  • Health fats (nuts, seeds, oily fish, eggs, avocados, coconut oil, olive oil)

Processed Foods

  • Ready meals/pre-packed meals
  • Breads
  • Pasta/s
  • Refined sugars
  • Fizzy drink
  • Cakes, sweets
  • Baked goods (croissant, pastries etc)
  • Cereal

(The second list might look familiar to most people, and I am sure is considered to be the so called ‘Norm’)

When it comes to losing weight, or weight loss, there is a simple maths element that in theory should work in your bid to beat the bulge.

Calories in Vs Calories out

  • If your body needs to use e.g. 2500 calories per day to function, then consuming 2000 calories per day every day, you should lose weight, regardless of where those calories come from
  • Do this every day for two weeks, and you will be in calorie deficit of 7000 calories

Theoretically, this should work. However, the source of the foods you consume have a huge part to play in how they react within your body, and ultimately, in your quest to lose some body fat, and here’s why:

Whole Foods

  • Digested slower
  • Your body needs more energy/calories to break whole foods down
  • The body takes more nutrients from real, whole foods
  • Allows you to eat more quality foods
  • Leave you feeling fuller for longer
  • Keeps blood sugar/insulin levels lower
  • Helps with long-term weight management
  • Better for your long-term health

Processed Foods

  • Digested quickly by the body
  • Takes less effort/energy/calories to break down the foods
  • Usually void of nutrients, so the body takes little from the food
  • Leads to feelings of hunger, and over-eating
  • Elevates blood sugar/insulin levels
  • Leads to low energy levels
  • Over time leads to excessive weight gain
  • Bad for your long-term health

Whole Foods are exactly as it says, they come from their natural, whole source, and your body needs to work hard to break down those foods, taking the goodness from them, keeping your blood sugar levels at a lower level, and making the most of what, whole foods have to offer.

Processed Foods on the other hand, have already been broken down (processed), are usually void of nutrients, and your body doesn’t need to work too hard to break these foods down, as it’s partially done for you. This is why you tend to feel hungry pretty soon after eating something processed/simple, and not to mention a huge crash in your energy levels.

Take Away Points:

  • Base 80% of your daily diet (the food you eat) around whole food sources
  • Keep processed foods to a maximum of 20% of your daily/weekly diet
  • If you are in need of a quick fix of energy/sugar (post-work-out would be a better time to do so), some form of processed, or simple carbohydrate works quicker than whole foods
  • If you are looking for bags of energy, to lose some body fat, and to be healthier long-term, then whole foods are the ticket
  • Calorie counting is not only boring, it can lead to obsessing about food, and completely takes away the enjoyment of eating
  • Vary your food sources as much as possible, basing them around seasonal meats, fish, fruits and vegetables
  • Eating real, whole foods allows you to eat more, whilst still looking amazing
  • Be more awesome!

I wrote a similar article that will help bring some light to this post, which you can find here:


Keep training hard, keep moving well, and let’s stay fit & healthy for a very long time to come!!



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