You’ve probably heard some mention of the Plant-Based Diet in recent years, or maybe you are already an active follower of a Plant-Based Diet.
However, you may not be aware of the Whole Food Plant-Based Diet, or you may have heard of it, but are wondering what it might be.
In this post, we will cover the basics of what the Whole Food Plant-Based Diet really is!
What is a Plant-Based Diet?
First let’s cover what a Plant-Based Diet is, in case you aren’t yet aware.
The Plant-Based Diet is a diet that consists either mostly or entirely of foods that come from plant-based sources (that is, plant-based foods). For most people, this means you will be eliminating most or all animal-based foods, such as meat, cheese, milk, or dairy, and replacing them with plant-based options instead. (Things like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and beans)
This could be done for either health reasons, since eating plant-based has been found to be healthier and increase longevity, or for animal rights or even environmental reasons. (See 6 Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet)
(See WHY I Went Plant-Based Over 5 Years Ago to see my reasons for going plant-based!)
What is a Whole Food Plant-Based Diet?
The Whole Food Plant-Based Diet is a Plant-Based Diet, which seeks to only use whole foods, or foods in their whole forms. It does this by seeking to eliminate processed foods, or foods that have been broken down into parts, having some of their elements removed.
(You can learn more about the Whole Food Plant-Based Diet and get started or find tips at The Whole Food Plant-Based Diet (WFPB) Beginners Guide)
One example of this might be refined sugar, which has been broken down into different parts using processes and has had the fiber and healthy part completely removed, leaving the sugar which has unintended consequences on health.
Sometimes you will find the Whole Food Plant-Based Diet abbreviated as either WFPB or WFPBD. (The D stands for diet)
Also, you may have heard of the popular Mediterranean Diet. The Mediterranean Diet is actually a type of plant-based diet, and the real Mediterranean Diet is actually a whole food plant-based diet! (See the What is the Real Mediterranean Diet?)
Plant-Based Diet vs. Whole Food Plant-Based Diet
What is the difference between a Plant-Based Diet and a Whole Food Plant-Based Diet? Well, technically, a Whole Food Plant-Based Diet is a Plant-Based Diet, but a Plant-Based Diet is not always a Whole Food Plant-Based Diet.
This is because both diets seek to eat all or mainly plant-based foods. However, there are plenty of plant-based foods which come from plant-based ingredients, however, they do not contain whole foods in them. The main culprit is going to be processed foods, which are found in abundance in modern-day supermarkets.
These processed foods, even if they are made from only plant-based ingredients, do not contain whole foods in them. Instead, they contain parts of the plant-based foods.
Examples of this include refined sugar, flour, vegetable oils, protein isolates, and more. All of these ingredients, which are common in most processed foods, have been stripped from their whole foods using chemical or other processes, and are then, much less healthy for us.
Not only do you find these stripped-down foods, but you also find a lot of chemicals and other unnatural ingredients in these processed foods, even if they are plant-based.
So in this sense, a diet could be a Plant-Based Diet, and may have removed all or most animal-based foods, yet could still not be a Whole Food Plant-Based Diet, since it is based around a lot of processed foods.
Whole Food Diet vs Whole Food Plant-Based Diet
The Whole Food Diet is similar to the Whole Food Plant-Based Diet since they both seek to eat unprocessed foods in their whole forms. However, the difference is that Whole Food Plant-Based Diet seeks to minimize or eliminate all animal-based foods, even if they are in their whole forms.