Processed ... Refined ... Definitions?
A comment by Jane prompted this quick post here. Often the terms processed food or refined food tend to be used interchangeably in the general nutritional discourse. I get the general idea -- eating steak, broccoli and a baked potato is eating real, whole, unprocessed and unrefined foods. Same meal but substitute brown rice for that potato and you have added what I would call a processed food. The rice "kernel" had to be extracted from the plant.
So loosely speaking "processing" would include shucking, grinding, cracking, rolling, soaking, fermenting, and ... cooking! So then that original meal was actually processed food because we didn't just slice off a slab of meat, wash the dirt off of a tuber and some broccoli and eat them.
What of the term "refined"? Well, I tend to associate that with separating one component of a whole food from the rest of it. Thus whole wheat flour is processed (and I probably mixed up my own descriptives in the comment exchange with Jane), white flour with the bran and germ removed is refined. But this truly opens up a whole can of worms.
Here is a one page summary PDF from Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo. Lumped into refined foods are all whole grains, while I would argue that buckwheat groats and such are far less refined than "paleo approved" fats. Also lumped under refined foods in the right hand column? Pretty much all dairy. "Raw dairy is a gray area". And yet, from the more in depth Balanced Bites PDF:
Remind me where butter and ghee come from again? Raw dairy is a "gray area" but taking just the fat out of it, and going the extra mile to remove any trace of proteins (ghee), that is *quality*!! Still, I will concede that dairy fat separation is minimal processing. But I am sorry, coconut oil does not fit this bill. It just doesn't. Nor, quite frankly, does any oil although a case could be made for when you grind peanuts the oil does tend to separate out quite well all on its own. Which doesn't make them necessarily good or bad or whatever, but let's be consistent when we advocate for certain food types, shall we?
Coming off of the Paleoista/Cordain appearance on Dr. Oz, here's a thought. Olives and peaches are both fruits. If someone were to extract and sell peachysweet sugar, that would be refining, no? It would make the lists of sugar-in-disguise, no doubt. The fructose would be bad without the attendant fiber and other good stuff in the whole fruit (or at least if that's what you are inclined to believe). So why, then, is olive oil any different? Both are refined foods -- isolated parts of the whole. And yet human ingenuity has had us doing this sort of thing to at least some extent for thousands of years. Don't get me started on chocolate!
Let's face it. Whatever your dietary philosophy (unless you are a raw foodie who only eats whole foods) you're eating some processed and/or refined foods. How about we not lump in those that don't fit in with a certain philosophy with the SA(junkfood)D just to demonize them? Almond milk doesn't grow on trees. I think most of us do better to base our diets on real whole foods, but there's room and even a place for the processed and refined.
I argued that Hunza stone-ground flour had relatively large particles, compared to modern roller-ground flour which has tiny particles. There are degrees of refinement.
Minimal refining O.K.
Excessive refining not O.K.
Chickpeas are also fine parched/toasted but not boiled, and are a very popular snack in some parts of the Mediterranean/Middle East. I don't know the safety of the other legumes unboiled. Some might give you not much more than an upset stomach though, similar to some uncooked tubers. Most grains/beans will probably yield more bioavailable nutrients cooked than raw, of course, like tubers.
1) Whole = every part thereof. This is the definition used by food manufacturers.
2) Whole = in one piece. This is the definition used by me.
That was in vitro, but here is a 1999 in vivo that showed no differences: "The Effect of Particle Size of Whole-Grain Flour on Plasma Glucose, Insulin, Glucagon and Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone in Humans"
If you want to try the chickpeas, you can do them at home with canned or overnight soaked ones, google "roasted chickpeas", they're very popular on different cooking sites.
'The Seed-Eaters: A New Model of Hominid Differentiation Based on a Baboon
I studied zoology at Oxford where the emphasis was on evolution and comparative anatomy, and I like Jolly's arguments. But the paper is a bit technical for me, perhaps it isn't for you.
You use the word refined because you think finely ground wholemeal flour is less healthy than coarse flour or whole wheat berries because in some studies it has a higher glycemic index. I would argue that glycemic index doesn't mean much. The glycemic index of starchy foods can be greatly reduced by eating them with dairy products, for instance, according to Paul Jaminet. Stephan Guyenet has a post entitled 'It's time to let go of the glycemic index'. http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.co.uk/2009/03/its-time-to-let-go-of-glycemic-index.html
Now Gary Taubes thinks glycemic index is very important indeed. He thinks wholemeal flour is just as bad as white flour because they have the same glycemic index. He has no idea whatsoever that obesity and diabetes might be caused by deficiencies of the micronutrients removed from white flour and other refined carbs, although the evidence to my mind is overwhelming.
I would argue that glycaemic index means a lot! See http://nigeepoo.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/diogenes-high-protein-low-gi-weight.html
I won't discuss the idea of compensating the GI issue with high fat dairy, which can have its own problems for those with insulin resistance, weight issues, and cholesterol problems. If GI doesn't matter, then why get into reducing it?
The real question: if it is all about essentially micronutrient status. And that saturated fat, which is hardly one monolith, doesn't matter. And carbohydrates tolerance is a result of poor micronutrient status. I don't see any of that supporting a case for whole grains at all. If anything, it's making the case for paleo with fruit and offal.
"Conventional" flour is unlikely to be stone-ground. When I buy flour the label will specify if it is stone-ground; it is normally more expensive and is often produced by the smaller mills which also specialize in organic flours.
According to my bread baking forums, stone-ground is normally going to be "whole grain" by default, e.g. have all parts of the grain since the stone-ground product can't be separated as with the conventional modern milling. (So stone-ground also has a shorter shelf-life because of the oils and germ parts retained in it.) Regular "whole grain flour" is actually reconstituted from the separated parts. The separating/reconstituting done by the big flour companies is also to keep a consistent product, because e.g. the amount of protein in grains can vary from field to field, and from year to year.
My problem with modern food is that it's become just another commodity to be bought & sold for profit. Long shelf life maximises profitability at the expense of nutritional value. Grrr!
The problem with high fat dairy is that saturated fat can inhibit copper absorption http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8618945
...and dairy products are anyway very low in copper. So if you want to eat a lot of high fat dairy, which I do, you must eat high-copper foods as well. Whole grains are relatively high in copper, so I eat butter and cheese with wholemeal bread, and whole milk with oats.
Yes I remember now what the 1:1 copper to iron ratio was about: that paper showing cognitive function increasing with copper intake. The highest copper intake was 8 mg/day, and I suggested the iron requirement was not more than 8 mg/day.
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With me (and a large percentage of the sedentary population) it's always been about insulin resistance, and you know what I did about that!
No I don't know what you did about insulin resistance. I'm all ears, or should I say eyes.
Anyway, a party is calling me. Gotta go. Bye!
I, myself have been known to refer to 'my sweetbread'. However, this has sometimes been misunderstood . . . .
The substitution of 'you' for 'one' leads both to confusion - as in Nigel's comment - and indignation, where 'one's view' is the opposite of 'your view' and mostly 'your view' is in actuality 'my view'.
I often wax indignantly on hearing sentences such as "We are eating 147 teaspoons of added sugar per day"; the radio, however, refuses to transmit my answer -"I stopped adding sugar to tea or coffee when I was eleven".
" . . . there's the (lack of) respect
That makes calamity of so long life;"
My greater point was that we could use these terms to apply to all manner of foods and IMO the paleos are guilty of doing that with so-called bad foods while not recognizing that many of their so-called good foods are equally "guilty". Also to correct/clarify my comment to Jane.
This notion that somehow grains and legumes aren't even real food (read blogs like Paleoista's for just a few days and you'll get the point) because to eat them some processing may be required, yet chocolate truffles and coconut butter are, because these just grow on trees? Laughable!
But surely we can all agree that there's a difference between a Pop Tart and corn bread, even corn bread made with lard? People are literally living on modern processed foods and the results are terrible.
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