A question that gets asked a lot
"is this food good for you or is this one bad"? I even get people sending me a picture of a food product they have just purchased and asking is if it good or bad.
The thing is it is hard to give an answer. It isn’t so black and white. Categorising foods as just good or bad is too simplistic.
The definition of what is described as good or bad foods or even eating clean is very inconsistent and even subjective. The context of the whole diet has to be taken into consideration and it will depend personal goals, training, lifestyle, tastes etc.
What foods are good or bad for you is also something that will vary drastically depending on who you ask! Different people will give you different answers that are based on opinions.
From that list doesn’t give us much left to eat!
The confusion can be compounded through cynical opportunistic marketing of foods, terrible sensationalised scaremongering stories spread through the press and magazines, hyping up or demonising the latest fad or trend.. Look at the list above it doesn’t give us much left to eat! However unless you have some sort of medical condition, there are not really any foods that are bad for you.
So how can a diet be considered a clean diet? To my knowledge there is no definite scientific answer and the answer is more based on opinion than fact.
A General Consensus of What Many People Consider "Bad Foods…..”
Most of the foods we tend to associate as “bad“ are generally low in nutrients and energy dense.
They contain a lot of calories in small amount which can make it easy to over consume calories. (think sweets, cakes, ready meals, alcoholic drinks, soft drinks, pizza, burgers etc.)
Just because you have had some of the "bad foods" does not mean you have a bad diet.......
There is a tendency with some peoples to freak out and think they have blown their diet because they have eaten some “bad food”.
It is not as simple as going with the “good option” and your lean and healthy and eating some ” bad food” your diet is crap.
Those foods are not necessarily “bad” foods. They will only become a problem when they are consumed too frequently at the expense of getting sufficient amount of nutrients in the diet and having too much that can lead to overall over consumption of calories.
Having a slice of cake, a couple of beers or the odd pizza now and again isn’t really a problem and going to blow your diet plan. Look at it this way, a couple of beers or a slice of cake is say maybe about 400 calories. In the big scheme of things that will make a tiny dent in your weight loss efforts over a period of time. The problem is more likely to arise when you have cake, pizza, and a few beers every day.
Or the weekend comes round and you decided to go bonkers.....
You have the
-and 10 beers 10 beers (approx. 2000 calories)
- a meat feast pizza (say another 1500 calories)
- then guzzling that cake or pick n mix is going to put a significant dent in your weight loss efforts. Thinking you can get away with this every weekend certainly isn’t going to do much for your waistline however “good” you may think you are during the week.
Its The all or nothing mind set, that can be a problem
The all or nothing mind set is what I tend to find with people who struggle with weight gain and permanent weight loss, they lose the middle ground. Being on a diet trying to be as strict as possible, denying themselves any of the “bad foods” then falling off the wagon having cycles of overeating and weight gain then back to dieting again.
Its about context, balance and diet as a whole..
Eating lots of high nutrient dense/low calorie foods regularly can help to properly control energy balance and provide lots of nutrients (think fruit and veg, lean meats, high fibre unprocessed grains) and you can also enjoy some of the “bad foods” you enjoy in moderation guilt free.
Moderation is the key aspect, realising that having the odd sweet, bit of cake or having a few of drinks isn’t the problem. It’s when you are consuming more of the high calorie, nutrient deficient foods over high nutrient low calorie foods, guzzling the whole cake or getting shit faced every weekend that’s when it can become a problem.
Jamie Miller- Personal Trainer
UK Fitness Personal Training
Fitness, Nutrition & Personal Training