Processed vs. Whole Foods: The Drastic Difference in Stress and Mood

You can completely change your day if you choose foods that are full of fibre, protein and vitamins. Think more energy, a better mood and a clear mind. We all experience stress and fluctuations in our mood. While many factors contribute to these feelings, one significant yet often overlooked factor is what you eat. Let’s explore how highly processed foods and whole foods differently impact your stress levels and mood, and why opting for whole foods can make a HUGE difference in your life.

What a Day of Eating Processed Foods Looks Like

Example of a Processed Food Diet Day


  • Skipped breakfast.
  • Mid morning Snack: muffin and a sugary coffee drink.


  • Lunch: Fast food burger and fries.
  • Afternoon Snack: Soft drink and a bag of chips.


  • Dinner: Frozen pizza.
  • Dessert: Cookies.

How Eating Lots Of Processed Foods Can Make You Feel

Energy Slumps

The high sugar content from the muffin and coffee causes a rapid spike in blood sugar, followed by a sharp drop, leaving you tired and irritable by noon.

Mood Swings

The sugar crash can make you feel anxious and stressed.


The lacks of protein, fibre and essential nutrients causes an afternoon energy slump and leaves you feeling tired and lethargic throughout the day.

Why Does Eating Lots of Processed Foods Make You Feel Like This?

Blood Sugar Spikes and Crashes

Processed foods are high in refined sugars and carbs, causing rapid spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels which leave you running out of energy and feeling tired.

Lack of Protein and Fibre

Eating a diet high in processed foods often results in insufficient protein and fiber intake, depriving your body of essential nutrients needed for maintaining stable energy levels and mood.


Many processed foods contain unhealthy fats and sugars that promote inflammation, linked to mood disorders like depression.

Disrupted Gut Health

Processed foods can negatively affect your gut microbiome, which plays a crucial role in serotonin production and mood regulation.

What a Day of Eating Wholesome Foods Looks Like

Example of a Wholesome Food Diet Day


  • Breakfast: Porridge topped with fresh berries, a handful of nuts, Greek yoghurt and a drizzle of honey.
  • Morning snack: Hummus and veggie sticks.


  • Lunch: Wholegrain wrap with shredded chicken and salad.
  • Afternoon Snack: An apple with almond butter.


  • Dinner: Grilled fish with steamed broccoli, brown rice, and a small mixed salad.
  • Dessert: A couple of squares of dark chocolate and blueberries.

How Eating Lots Of Whole Foods Can Can Make You Feel

Good Mood

The balanced meals with protein, fibre, and healthy fats ensure a slow and steady release of energy, improving mood stability.

Clear Head

A nutrient rich diet supports brain function and gives your brain lots of energy, helping you feel more focused and clear headed throughout the day.

Less Stress

Stable energy levels and a well nourished body reduce overall stress, promoting a sense of calmness and a stable mood.

Why Does Eating Lots of Whole Foods Make You Feel Like This?

Stable Blood Sugar Levels

Whole grains, protein, and healthy fats in meals help maintain steady blood sugar levels, providing sustained energy and preventing energy slumps.

Protein and Fibre

Regular consumption of foods high in protein and fibre throughout the course of the day keep you feeling full, keep your blood sugar stable, reduce your cravings, keep your brain functioning well and regulate your mood.

Reduced Inflammation

Anti-inflammatory properties of foods like extra virgin olive oil, fresh vegetables, and omega-3-rich fish help reduce chronic inflammation, improving mental health.

Healthy Gut

Fibre rich foods support a healthy gut microbiome, enhancing happy hormone production and mood stability.

Switching from processed foods to wholesome foods can dramatically improve your stress levels and mood. By choosing nutrient dense, natural foods, you support your mental health and overall wellbeing. Imagine a day where your energy levels are stable, your mood is positive, and your mind is clear. Start incorporating more whole foods into your diet and notice the positive changes in how you feel. Remember, your body and mind deserve the best fuel to function optimally.

Check out these nourishing and delicious recipes to help you make some healthy swaps:

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