The whole food, plant-based (WFPB) diet is quickly gaining popularity. However, the term diet is not necessarily appropriate. The WFPB diet is more of a lifestyle. Learn all about the whole food, plant-based diet and find out what it can do for you.
What Is The Whole Food, Plant-Based Diet?
There isn’t a strict definition of the WFPB. Unlike many other diets, this one offers you some flexibility. How you handle the diet depends on your own preferences.
Of course, there are a few basics that you need to know about the WFPB diet. Here’s an overview of some of the basics:
- Most of your foods are made with minimal processing
- You completely avoid or limit animal products
- You eat mostly plants, vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, and whole grains
- To the best of your ability, foods with extra sugar, processed oils, and white flour are not in your diet
- You emphasize the importance of food quality and opt for locally sourced and organic food choices
If you think that the WFPD diet sounds like being vegan or vegetarian, you’re right. However, there are differences between the diets.
When people follow a vegan diet, they don’t eat any animal products. This includes dairy, poultry, meat, eggs, honey, and other products that come from animals.
The whole food, plant-based diet is more flexible. Although you shouldn’t eat too many animal products, you can eat some. Some individuals choose to forego all animal products, but others just limit it.
What Can You Eat?
Still confused about how a whole food, plant-based diet works? Check out this shopping list of foods you might buy if you’re switching to the diet:
- Brown rice
- Rolled oats
- Cashew butter
- Natural peanut butter
- Coconut milk
- Soy sauce
If you choose to eat animal products, choose your products carefully. Look for pasture-raised eggs and free-range chicken. Beef and pork products should be grass or pasture-fed. When you buy seafood, purchase wild-caught fish from sustainable fisheries.
Although you can eat the animal products listed above, you should try to limit them. Doing so allows you to reap the most benefits from the diet.
There are many other foods that you can eat on the WFPB diet. As you shop for foods, look for quality products. If possible, buy from local farms and farmers markets.
Myths About The Diet
There are several myths about the whole food, plant-based diet. Before you decide whether or not you should try the diet, you should learn fact from fiction. Here are some of the most common myths regarding the WFPB diet:
1. The Diet Has No Scientific Basis
Some people believe that there are no scientific studies that document the benefits of the WFPB diet. However, this is not the case. There have been many scientific studies that document the benefits of the diet.
2. The Diet Does Not Provide Enough Protein
Contrary to popular belief, meat and poultry aren’t the only sources of protein. You can get enough protein from other sources, like beans and nuts. With the WFPB, you can get just as much protein as you do with a non-vegetarian diet.
3. The Diet Is Too High In Carbs
Due to the popularity of low-carb diets, some people believe that the WFPB diet is too high in carbs. However, there are different types of carbs. The WFPB diet has carbs that are good for your body.
Benefits Of The Diet
There are many benefits to the WFDP diet. It takes some adjusting, but the benefits make the lifestyle change worthwhile. Here’s a closer look some of the major benefits of the diet:
1. Fight Heart Disease
Eating plant-based whole foods is good for your heart. When you eat vegetables, whole grains, fruits, and nuts, you lower your risk of heart disease1.
That said, you need to eat the right foods to maintain a healthy heart. If your WFPB diet includes a lot of fruit juices and refined grains, you’re not doing your heart any favors.
2. Limit Your Risk of Cancer
When you stick to your whole food, plant-based diet you can limit your risk of developing cancer. Specifically, the diet can lower your risk of gastrointestinal and colorectal cancer. In one study, researchers found that vegetarians had a 22% lower risk of developing colorectal cancer than non-vegetarians2.
3. Slow Down Alzheimer’s
Plants contain antioxidants. When you eat plants, those antioxidants impact your cognitive functions.
By eating a plant-rich diet, you can prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Furthermore, studies show that plant-based diets can slow and even prevent the decline of your cognitive functions.
4. Manage Diabetes
A plant-based diet can help you manage diabetes. It does so by helping your body control your blood sugar. Additionally, it can reduce your risk of diabetes.
In one study, people who maintained a plant-based diet experienced a 34% less risk of getting diabetes3. A different study showed that people who have plant-based diets had a 50% less risk of type 2 diabetes than those who ate non-vegetarian diets.
5. Lose Weight
It’s not easy to lose weight. In fact, obesity is a major problem in the US. About 69% of people throughout the country are overweight.
By making some lifestyle changes, you can lose weight. The WFPB diet is one effective way to shed pounds. Because it’s high in fiber and excludes foods that are processed, the diet can help you lose weight.
6. A Smaller Environmental Footprint
The earth is suffering, and your lifestyle choices can contribute to that suffering. Even your diet affects the environment. When you eat animal-based foods, you contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and water consumption that comes with farming practices.
By cutting out animal products, you can limit your impact on the environment. If multiple people take on a WFPB diet, the impact on the environment can be great.
If you want to start experiencing the benefits of the whole food, plant-based diet you should give it a try. When done properly, the diet can improve your health.
If you are unable to eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables on a daily basis, you may want to consider adding a high-quality whole food multivitamin to your daily regiment in order to supply your body with the key nutrients it needs.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28728684, Healthful and Unhealthful Plant-Based Diets and the Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in U.S. Adults, 2017 Jul 25;70(4):411-422. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2017.05.047
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25751512, Vegetarian dietary patterns and the risk of colorectal cancers, 2015 May;175(5):767-76. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.59
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27299701, Plant-Based Dietary Patterns and Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes in US Men and Women: Results from Three Prospective Cohort Studies, 2016 Jun 14;13(6):e1002039. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1002039. eCollection 2016 Jun