What you eat matters, because we are – literally – composed of the molecules in the foods we consume. The food we eat is disassembled, chemically, in our bodies, and the various molecules are used for cell growth and repair and a myriad of other functions it needs to perform to keep us alive and well. If the food you eat doesn’t provide the right kinds of molecules, your body will not be happy and over time will degenerate.
Eating some processed foods will not harm you, but you put your health and your weight at risk if you eat a steady diet of them. Whole foods will fill you up and satisfy you (those two things are not the same), while processed foods will compel you to eat more. I don’t believe that we have to be fanatical – that we have to eat a 100% whole-foods diet. I actually believe in an 80/20 principle: if 80% of what you eat is good for you, the other 20% is not going to kill you. Unfortunately, many people’s consumption is probably the reverse – 80% processed and 20% whole. Not good.
Here’s a bit about from The Whole-foods Advantage, excerpted from Resetting Normal.
Whole foods actually taste better, too. Compare real ice cream with an artificially flavored low-fat substitute. Or freshly cooked string beans with the canned variety. Or Mac & Cheese made with a high-quality mix of cheeses (such as Beecher’s Cheese). Many processed foods are designed to trigger addiction – so we buy more – and sometimes flavor-enhancers can make it seem like the artificial version tastes better, but once you develop a taste for the real thing, you’ll be much happier, and your body will be too.