A Date With Disaster: Sounds silly, but it is amazing how much is often promoted as being healthy when it isn't—and how many terms are associated with health that may or may not be healthy at all. For instance, we often hear words such as "whole," "natural," "plant," "unprocessed," etc. Foods, recipes and products are frequently promoted as being healthy and often solely based on these descriptions.
However, these terms, in and of themselves, are not always synonymous with health and, in and of themselves, have no real health meaning. Whole foods can be healthy or unhealthy. It may have been whole, natural, plant and unprocessed, but I wouldn't touch it. Yet, at the same time, there are many "processed" foods that are extremely healthy.
Part of the confusion over this issue has to do with understanding exactly what a processed food is or isn't and the impact of processing on food. Some processing actually increases the health value of a food, while some processing decreases the health value of a food. So, while this is an important issue in and of itself, we will save this topic for a separate article on another day. In and of themselves, these terms have no real "health" meaning.
So, while a healthy diet tends to be one that includes more foods that are whole, plant, natural and unprocessed, these, in and of themselves, do not define what is healthy. What really matters most are the numbers, and the numbers don't lie. Not just calories, salt, sugar, saturated fat, refined grains and cholesterol, but the amount and, as you will see, especially the concentration. This is especially an important issue for those of us who find ourselves caught up in "the pleasure trap.
Salt is not really an issue in regard to whole natural plant foods, as it does not show up anywhere in any whole, natural, plant food in a concentrated amount. But, fat and sugar do. So, lets take a closer look at those two and see why they can be a problem. Not fat, sugar, or even alcohol, heroin or cocaine. In addition, the exact same molecules glucose, fructose, etc.
So, the questions is, why do they seem addictive when we consume them in the form of table sugar or honey but not in the form of fruit or corn? The answer has to do with concentration. Same as with cocaine. Coca leaves are not very addictive. Cocaine, a more concentrated form, has a much higher potential for addiction. Crack, a much more concentrated form, is much more highly addictive. Let's look at sugar. The same example will also hold true for fat.
Sugars that occur in most foods fruits, vegetables, starchy vegetables, whole grains, etc. Rarely do these foods ever cause anyone to feel as though they are addicted. So, the real issue is not sugar, or whether the sugar is "whole," "natural," "plant" or "unprocessed," but the concentration of the sugar. Again, concentration is the real issue. So, lets look at some foods that are sources of sugar and see how they compare in their concentrations of sugar, or "sugar density" grams of sugar per lb of food Fresh Fruit.