Why There's No Such Thing As Unhealthy Foods!

posted on: April 03, 2017. posted in: Nutrition

We've had a response on our page...

"I disagree Liam. Surely it wouldn't be healthy or good for someone to eat McDonalds (as an example) every day even if they were under weight? Is it not true that even thin people can be internally fat? Where they have too much fat around their vital organs?"

One of the key learnings in nutrition is that there is no such thing as a "healthy" or "unhealthy" food.

It's the BIG PICTURE that counts.

Not the individual meals or snacks.

To explain.

McDonalds burgers can be healthy within the context of your overall nutrition. Fresh salmon can be unhealthy within the context of your overall nutrition.

Picture the scene.

Jenny eats a bowl of porridge for breakfast, has some fresh fruit for snacks, has a MacDonalds burger for lunch, then some fresh salmon and fresh steamed veg for dinner.

Claire eats a McDonalds burger for breakfast, lunch, dinner and her snacks, a total of 5 burgers for the day.

Becky eats fresh salmon and nothing else for her lunch, dinner and snacks, a total of 5 fillets for the day.

Who has the "healthiest nutrition" here?

The answer is in the order they are laid out.

Jenny has the healthiest nutrition, because it is balanced, including a variety of foods covering a variety of macronutrients, micronutrients and fibre.

Claire has the next healthiest nutrition, because it still delivers a variety of nutrients and some fibre.

Becky has the least healthy nutrition, because she is getting a very narrow selection of nutrients and zero fibre.

"But Liam, McDonalds is unhealthy and salmon fillets are healthy!!"


It is the CONTEXT within which those foods fall that determines whether they are healthy or not.

Dieters have a habit of zooming into individual foods and deeming them "healthy" or "unhealthy", but when it comes to nutrition, and LIFE, it's always the big picture that counts.

We could go further.

What if Becky ate her 5 salmon fillets on one day of the week, then ate Jenny's varied nutrition for the rest of the week. And what if Jenny ate her varied nutrition for one day of the week, then ate Becky's 5 salmon fillets a day for the rest of the week.

Whose nutrition is healthier?

Again, it is clearly Becky. Because her BIG PICTURE provides better overall nutrition. Whereas Jenny's nutrition remains very limited and narrow.

The take home message?

Nutrition cannot be assed by individual meals. Nor can it be assessed by individual days. Nor can it even be assessed by individual weeks. Nutrition needs to be assessed as part of the overall BIG PICTURE.

What is "healthy" or "unhealthy" is the balance of your nutrition, and the accumulation of your eating habits, over many weeks and months.

Not individual foods or meals.

A McDonalds burger for lunch every day could be "part of a healthy nutritional approach" if it is surrounded by fresh, nutritious food. A salmon fillet for lunch every day could be "part of an unhealthy nutritional approach" if it is surrounded by nutritionally devoid food.

The person having the McDonalds burger for lunch everyday (in the context of balanced nutrition) could maintain a healthy level of bodyfat, whilst the person having a salmon fillet for lunch every day (in the context of high carbohydrate, high sugar nutrition) could have a high level of bodyfat, including visceral fat.

Big picture. Big picture. Big picture!


p.s. If you'd like to learn more about nutrition, we'll be covering this subject and many more on the bronze package of our next mission Beach Body™, take a look!

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