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The Whole Food Is Greater Than The Sum Of Its Parts

Photo from Huffington Post

Photo Credit: Huffington Post

This entry is long overdue, but all for good reasons. For starters, I stuck to my word from my last entry and started getting back on track with work-life balance. I’ve been planning and preparing more meals, staying physically active, getting more sleep and working shorter hours. Another reason for the delay was deciding what my next topic would be. I finally chose something I’ve been passionate about for a long time—whole foods. Aah, yes, the whole food is greater than the sum of its parts.

Let’s get real; people are obsessed with specific nutrients. Is fat bad for you? Is sugar evil? How much sodium is too much? Do I need to get more protein in my diet? And my all time favourite—what supplements should I be taking? We need to remind ourselves that food was designed to fuel our body and give us everything we need. I admit, it’s not always easy or practical to get everything you need from food—for example, getting adequate Vitamin D in Canada is almost impossible without a supplement. Where the misconception lies is thinking a vitamin C supplement will amount to the same nutrition as eating an orange. Science has shown us that it is not the effect of individual nutrients on our body, but rather the result they have when combined with other nutrients. The human body is smart and can distinguish between a whole food and receiving nutrients separately. A person may compensate for a lack of fruit and vegetables in their diet by taking a multivitamin, but what about the fibre? What about the phytochemicals and antioxidants that have cancer fighting properties? What about the taste, the enjoyment and fulfillment you get from eating the fruit as opposed to popping a pill? For these reasons, my diet has shifted a lot over the years from whole wheat to whole grain and even to include full fat dairy products. Dairy has been the hardest to overcome by switching back to whole milk when I have drank skim milk my whole life,  but the evidence is overwhelming and continues to show benefits of consuming the whole food.

Bottom Line: It is not always practical to get everything you need from food. I also understand food preferences and allergies limit individuals from consuming certain foods. In these cases, a supplement may be the best option. What I do encourage  is for everyone to look at the big picture and think about foods as a whole. Stop deconstructing food and isolating certain nutrients. Instead, think of the synergy of nutrients combined, which is what makes a whole food so powerful.

In Good Health,
Raman Khatar

Can’t remember my food philosophy? Check it out!

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