We have been told for some time that whole foods are better for us. Not only are they generally cheaper, however nutritionally they are superior as they have not been subjected to processing which destroys many essential nutrients.
Now, we have some powerful new research to show we have a tendency to truly burn burn significantly more calories when we choose less processed varieties of our favorite foods.
A study published in November's Food & Nutrition Research Journal completed an experiment that measured the amount of energy produced from a cheese sandwich made using dense wholegrain bread and cheddar cheese compared to a cheese sandwich made using processed white bread and processed sliced cheese.
The meals were matched for protein, carbohydrate and fat amounts and fed to healthy men and women. It was found that while the sandwiches were rated as equally as satisfying for the study participants, there were major differences in the postprandial thermogenic response or the number of calories required to burn off the sandwiches.
It was found that the whole foods cheese sandwich meal resulted in burnt 137kJ (33 calories) or 19.9 percent of the total energy of the meal compared to only 73kJ (17 calories) or 10.7 percent of the processed food meal — almost 50 percent less.
As a one of the meal this may not seem all that significant but over the course of a day, this study would suggest that you can burn 500-600kJ extra per day, or 100-150 more calories simply by choosing whole foods.
In the course of a week or a year, these numbers add up and may explain why so many of us have a gradual 1-2kg weight gain each and every year.
While this is a one-off study, it is a powerful reminder of the benefits associated with eating whole foods whenever possible.
So when it comes to some of our favorite food choices, here are simple swaps to move towards whole food eating.