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Refined vs. Unrefined Products

I understand that food and nutrition terminology can get confusing. To make informed food choices when shopping, you need to know what certain terms mean. Understanding what they mean can help you make better decisions and improve your health and well-being. 

Two terms that are used often nowadays are, “refined” and “unrefined.” When you’re strolling in the supermarket or talking to a friend, you may see a product or hear the terms that say “unrefined oil” or “refined carb.” What does it all mean?

Refined ingredients are heavily processed and stripped of key nutrients, usually fiber. This means that refined foods have fewer vitamins, minerals, and nutritional value to them. These foods usually aren’t filling because our body digests them at a quicker pace. This is why it may be easier to overeat refined foods. Refined foods are products like white flour, cereals, and baked goods. 

It’s important to mention that carbs are not bad for you. We need carbs in a balanced diet. Carbs are the preferred energy source for our bodies. There are nutritious carbs, and then there are less nutritious carbs. Consuming more nutritious carbs is best for the health and function of our bodies. Nutritious carbs that are “unrefined” are whole grains, fruits and vegetables, beans, and legumes.  

Unrefined ingredients are minimally processed and retain their nutrients. They are more nourishing since they provide vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Unrefined foods would be products like fruits, veggies, and raw nuts/seeds. 

It’s important to know the difference between refined and unrefined products. It’s best to consume more unrefined foods. Unrefined foods create a better environment for our bodies to thrive. Refined goods in moderation are preferred. Excess consumption of heavily processed products can wreak havoc on a person’s body. It could lead to diabetes, heart complications, mental health issues, weight gain, and high blood pressure. You don’t need to give up your favorite goodies entirely. Food and life are a balancing act!

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