Food Quality Matters
The surge in the number of diets around results in people having a distorted idea and perception of food. People have lost sight of what real food is and why we eat.
While I am a huge proponent of flexible dieting and living a lifestyle with no restrictions, I still firmly believe that food quality matters.
What do I mean by that?
When people think about clean eating they often categorise it as a diet, but in reality, it is simple an approach to eating in which you focus on eating whole foods- these are foods that have been minimally processed and are close to their natural form as possible.
As I mentioned, I am an advocate of flexible dieting. However, there has been a trend in recent years in which people are have lost sight of the importance of eating 'real' food, micronutrient dense, home cooked meals.
All through Instagram and social media platforms you see people comparing a 'healthy' food with an 'unhealthy' food and how they share the same amount of calories.
As someone who has had an eating disorder, I understand how something like this may help. Comparing two foods, one classed as 'good' and the other 'bad' and then showing how they share the same amount of calories may help in some way. Furthermore, images such as these may also help others break out of the dieting mindset by showing you how you can be flexible with your diet and that you do not have to eat chicken and vegetables all day and every day.
Focusing too much on the calories rather than the quality of food
The problem, however, is that is not always about the calories you are eating. Sure when you are trying to lose weight calories are important. However, is not always about calories, your food choices are a lot more important than the number of calories you are eating. Your body and brain require good quality food. But also if you want to feel great and perform optimally you have to feed your body nutrient-dense foods.
Studies consistently show that the food we eat has an impact on our health and our mood.
If you compare a 188 calories worth of almonds and 188 calories worth of sweets, after eating what food will you feel fuller and most importantly from which food will you get a good source of nutrition from?
That's right, the almonds.
So while two foods may share the same number of calories, its effect on the body is different.
The diet of the Western society is made up of sugar, processed and junk foods. Researchers have found that there has been a significant increase in obesity in recent years. Therefore, more needs to be done to educate and help individuals eat healthier and better quality food.
Furthermore, if you are someone who is following a Ketogenic diet make sure you are eating the healthiest sources of fat, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat. While this also applies if you follow a Vegan lifestyle make sure that you are opting for the best carb sources, complex carbohydrates and carbs which have been minimally processed.
It is often suggested that you should focus on eating more macronutrient and micronutrient dense foods as they will keep you satiated and fuller for longer. However, studies consistently show that living a lifestyle free of restriction is important too and this is why also allowing yourself some 'bad' foods is also be beneficial.
While approaches such as flexible deiting are great, it is importat that we put food quality above how many calories is in a certain food. Good nutrition is the foundation to living a healthy life and preventing many chronic diseases.
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