Possibly the most confused topic in the world
What is”Healthy” food?
Healthy food = food good for your health (duh). Full of nutrients that help the body to function. Less processed food, more naturally occurring food.
The word “healthy” is thrown around a lot with different foods. Some foods just get a reputation for being healthy or unhealthy and people just go with it. Eggs for example are considered healthy by some people and hazardous to your health by others!
I was once sitting down to eat a few boiled eggs on my lunch break and got told that that was very dangerous and unhealthy by a co worker as she drank her can of coke and ate her pastry.
The same can be said for items like dairy, full fat versions of products and red meat. Then of course there’s gluten/dairy/lactose/ free products available initially for people with allergies or intolerance but then these get labeled healthier by some people and they get used by people without allergies. So when thinking about healthy food people should think of foods that make or keep you healthy. This would be specific to you and what you need or should avoid but in general it will be similar for everyone. A balanced diet with loads of vegetables of different colours, fruit, lean meats, wholegrain etc.
Healthy eating ≠ losing weight
Wait what? Yup that is correct! When people want to lose weight they go on a “healthy” diet cutting out the obvious foods like sweets and fizzy drinks, Fatty foods or carbs like white bread and pasta. These may be replaced by “healthy” foods like fruit and vegetables, avocados, quinoa etc. And what happens? Well they’d probably lose weight! Confusing I know but….
Eating healthier food is going to make you healthier for sure but there is no guarantee it will help you lose weight that will depend on how much food you were eating before. By cutting out sweets and bread you lose weight because your eating less not because your diet is suddenly healthy.
For example lets say Johns old diet was;
- No breakfast
- a bag of skittles and coke for lunch
- a Rustlers™ burger for dinner and coke
- Snickers, Tayto and Coke snack
And is changed to this;
- Bowl of porridge and an apple for breakfast
- Tub of natural yogurt with mixed berries and seeds
- 2 chicken breasts, quinoa, mixed vegetables and milk
- Protein shake and palm full of nuts.
What would happen?
Well for one he’s gonna be a whole lot healthier! Energy levels will probably increase, Sleep better, get sick less and just feel great. But.. He’s probably going to actually gain weight… which may not be a bad thing based on his diet! The reason he’ll gain weight isn’t because his new diet is bad or unhealthy it’s because its more calories than he was eating previously. Simple as that.
Too much of a good thing is bad for you
Pick any healthy food you can think of and eat too much of it and its going to be bad for you eventually. Spend all day stuffing your face with avocado and quinoa then you are going to gain weight my friend no matter how “healthy” the food is. This is a trap that many people fall into when they are looking to lose weight. Healthier food like nuts, wholegrain bread, meat and eggs can all still be over eaten and stop you losing weight.
Calories dictate weight
To lose wight you need to take in less calories than your body needs. It sounds over simplified and too obvious but that’s how you gained weight or lost it. All food has calories, “healthy” or “unhealthy.” Therefore it doesn’t matter how healthy you are eating you may still be eating too much. Generally, eating healthier helps people to lose weight because most foods considered healthy are low in calories. Fruit and vegetables for example would be hard to get too many calories from but its not impossible. Items like nuts, porridge, wholegrain pasta, bread and rice for example are considered healthy by most people but it is very very easy to eat too much of these foods.
(Yes there are things like hormones and insulin resistance and metabolism boosting foods that people like to throw out to sound smart and over complicate things but those are things you shouldn’t even begin to think about until you get your calories sorted so I’m not going to talk about them any more in this).
The right balance
So in an ideal world you should want to be healthy and lose weight right? This is 100% possible and what everyone should really be aiming for. A diet based around healthy nutrient dense foods eaten in moderation will give you maximum return for the effort put in to it. There’s always room for slip ups and treats but moderation is key. If you are struggling to lose weight on a seemingly healthy diet just re assess things, is there something your eating too much of without realizing? Is it balanced with the right amount of protein, carbohydrates and fats? Small changes will make the difference and keep things on track.
The wrong balance
While it is possible to lose weight on an un-healthy diet it is not worth the reward. You only get one body and there can be a whole list of stuff going wrong inside it even if on the outside you are losing weight. Use common sense.
Writing this gave me headaches so I’ve probably only added to peoples confusions. The point was that eating healthy is a vague idea. Not all foods labeled healthy are actually healthy. In an ideal world just eating healthy would lead to everyone having a balanced diet and their weight taking care of itself. In reality people will over indulge in everything and anything and there are lots of foods you didn’t know were high in calories. If you want to lose weight you need to make changes to your diet to get you to lose weight. Not make it “healthier”.
As I said my brain is melting on this topic so that’ll do!
Any questions or comments let me know.