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Over the past few decades, the fiber content of diets in all industrialized countries has declined dramatically; in Italy, for example, the average fiber consumption is around 20 grams per day against 30-35 grams suggested by nutritionists (with great regional, daily, seasonal and, obviously, individual differences). The causes of this deficit are to be found not only in the change in eating habits but also in the greater refining of flour.

Refining is a process that includes a precise series of food transformations that are able to eliminate certain substances or parts of a food, to increasingly concentrate the properties of interest. During the refining of flour, for example, the germ and the outer part of the grain are eliminated but unfortunately, at the same time, nutrients of vital importance for the organism are also eliminated. The benefits that come from eating whole foods, as perhaps happens with the wholegrain biscuits we eat for breakfast, are largely due to increased fiber intake.

Alimentary fiber:
– increases the feeling of satiety and greatly facilitates intestinal transit;
-reduces the risk of developing different types of cancer;
-reduces the absorption of fats and cholesterol;
-reduces the absorption of all substances considered carcinogenic.

Other important benefits of consuming whole foods come from increased vitamin E intake (in the specific case of vegetable oils, refining that would reduce the content of tocopherol and essential fatty acids essential for our health ) and also some B vitamins. In addition, whole foods have a lower glycemic index and lower calorie content and for this reason they are particularly suitable for weight loss diets (provided, however, that whole foods do not become no reason to eat much more since the caloric differences between the two foods are, for the most part, modest).

Do whole foods have any disadvantages for our body? Let’s first say that they are less preservable and, generally, less appetizing than the refined ones. Excessive consumption of fiber leads to an excess of phytates, or substances that hinder the absorption of certain minerals including calcium and zinc. It is also good to remember that the outer part of the grain, the one that is normally eliminated during refining, is the part most exposed to the chemicals used in agriculture. For this reason, it is necessary to ensure the origin of all the food purchased, in order to avoid the introduction of substances harmful to our body.

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