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Calorie Count Blog

Why "Bad" Foods are Good For You


By +Carolyn Richardson on Apr 06, 2013 10:00 AM in Healthy Eating

Think dietitians don’t eat cake? Of course they do, and you should too. So says a newly updated position paper by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. Simply put, they don’t support labeling foods as "good" or "bad" and instead support a “Total Diet Approach to Healthy Eating.” With this news we offer up some reasons why it’s actually good to eat "bad" foods.

Practice Makes Perfect

Study after study has proven that those on restricted diets have more cravings. More cravings and desire for restricted foods can derail your healthy eating. If you can learn how to eat healthier foods while also learning how much of the “bad” stuff is enough, you’ll be in a better place mentally. By gaining confidence in your ability to control yourself, you’ll throw off the shame and guilt that comes with labeling foods you love as "bad". With the freedom of a clear conscience and the confidence of when to say when, you may do a better job at controlling emotional and stress eating as well. You’ve heard practice makes perfect. Well you can’t practice if you lock yourself out of the gym.

 

Social Enjoyment

We’ve got birthday cake, Thanksgiving pies, and Christmas dinner. All of which include food indulgences as part of the festivities. Add to that the bevy of children’s milestones and other holidays and you’ve got way too much celebrating to do to deny yourself tasty treats in the name of being “good.” Most, if not all, these occasions carry with them a celebratory tone which usually is coupled with eating more than you should. This is normal. Let me say this, people who are a healthy weight overeat from time to time. So, eating something "bad" is not what makes or keeps you fat. It’s doing it way more often than you eat healthy foods, exercise, and control portions. It’s ok to taste something rich and fattening. It’s not ok to have that become an everyday, all day practice.


Stop the Obsession

I know it’s possible with this site, but you shouldn’t know the calorie count of everything you eat. Having a fixation to know and control every single calorie isn’t realistic. Are you going to ask for a nutrition label for your grandmother’s cookies recipe? We hope not. If you know you’re eating healthy most of the time, it’s easy to allow yourself a treat every so often. Do you check the driver’s manual at every turn or would you ask to be trained for a job you’ve been doing for 5 years. No. The reason why is because you know that you know what you’re doing. If you’re new to eating healthy, of course you need to strategize and be detailed about what you eat. That’s why dietitians are available to help you plan meals, and give you advice about navigating your new healthy eating outlook. But as you continue on the journey, it’s OK to take the training wheels off sometimes and trust yourself. The challenge to balance what you eat with a little bit of pleasure is a tough one, but it can be done.

For the Total Diet Approach to Healthy Eating report in its entirety, click here.


Your thoughts…

How has your perspective of “bad” foods changed during your weight loss journey?




Comments


I eat a lot more 'good' food than I used to but I still have the occasional treat because if you deny yourself the little things then eventually you'll want to stop your diet all together as you're not enjoying it.



I stopped eating processed sugars, processed foods and beef that was fed or finished with corn... and funny thing, I don't get cravings for cakes and cookies and candy.  I have one little piece of very dark 72 to 90% chocolate daily.  I've lost the weight and am hovering right in a happy zone.



This article is wonderful! People tend to become obsessive about the food, when food should be about nutrition AND enjoyment. Today, it seems that we take pride in what we don't eat: "I don't do carbs", "I don't eat meat", or "I don't eat processed foods." Our relationship to food has become masochistic. This article reminds us that it's okay to be human and enjoy 'no-no' foods every once in a while. We shouldn't be all about renovating recipes (Hungry Girl) to make a healthier version of a fattier classic.



I give myself permission to eat what I want but the more I eat healthy the less I want unhealthy foods.


It's SOOO true. The moment you put that into your life, everything changes. Good attitude, not frustration is the clue :)



What a wonderful article!  I eat ice cream every night.  Not a lot, just 65g, but it makes me happy =)  Moderation is the key.



Original Post by: toothcentral

I stopped eating processed sugars, processed foods and beef that was fed or finished with corn... and funny thing, I don't get cravings for cakes and cookies and candy.  I have one little piece of very dark 72 to 90% chocolate daily.  I've lost the weight and am hovering right in a happy zone.


I am actually somewhat in the same mindset as you. I also stopped eating most processed sugar and overly processed foods and the cravings have totally stopped. I stick to dark chocolate and for the most part only want to indulge in small portions of it once week a month, right before my period.

While I agree in moderation and in sampling all the foods in life even "bad" ones on occasion, at this point I don't actually feel the need or desire to eat them. Cutting non-natural sugar sources from my life, was the best move I have ever made and I will never regret that decision. If I had known the true relationship between sugar and my cravings, I would have done it as soon as I was old enough to pick my own foods.



This article is eminently sane.  Every Christmas and Thanksgiving, we get a spate of articles earnestly suggesting alternatives to turkey stuffing, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie so that we can stay on our diet and eat healthy over these holiday meals.

I always wonder: who writes these articles, and what planet do they come from?  Here's why.

A more commonsense approach would be to advise dieters to just enjoy the one big holiday meal, especially since many of the foods are seasonal and you won't be eating them again until next Christmas or Thanksgiving.  One big meal, one indulgence in a seasonal holiday favorite will not set your diet back or ruin your health.  The same is true for the periodic birthdays, weddings, or other celebrations.

After these celebrations, go back to normal portions of healthy foods.  Make that your default for every day eating.  In fact, instead of concentrating on what you can't have, on a daily basis, plan and focus on the wholesome, healthy and tasty foods you can and should be eating.  You will be happier and more successful in meeting your goals with this approach.



Great article.  The point about confidence makes great sense but I feel that counting every single calorie is what has given me the confidence since my internal perception/intuition is presumably broken. So knowing every single calorie can be passed-up with grandma's cookies, knowing the calories - or at least guessing - leads to the confidence the writer refers to as needed in the "practice makes perfect" section of the article.



Original Post by: karen71

This article is eminently sane.  Every Christmas and Thanksgiving, we get a spate of articles earnestly suggesting alternatives to turkey stuffing, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie so that we can stay on our diet and eat healthy over these holiday meals.

I always wonder: who writes these articles, and what planet do they come from?  Here's why.

A more commonsense approach would be to advise dieters to just enjoy the one big holiday meal, especially since many of the foods are seasonal and you won't be eating them again until next Christmas or Thanksgiving.  One big meal, one indulgence in a seasonal holiday favorite will not set your diet back or ruin your health.  The same is true for the periodic birthdays, weddings, or other celebrations.

After these celebrations, go back to normal portions of healthy foods.  Make that your default for every day eating.  In fact, instead of concentrating on what you can't have, on a daily basis, plan and focus on the wholesome, healthy and tasty foods you can and should be eating.  You will be happier and more successful in meeting your goals with this approach.


yep, a vicious circle, by quitting processed sugars and anything in a box I was able to stop my nicotine habit too, which fueled the fire of craving stuff that just did my body no good.Laughing



I agree 100% with this article and found it to be 100% true!  Not to mention, as much as a lot of people don't like to hear it, the Bible teaches that we are to do all things in moderation, why shouldn't that apply to how we eat?  Doing this very thing...my husband went from 303 pounds to 194 pounds in 16 months and is now maintaining.  He did this mathmatically finding out what his caloric amount was for a day, and whatever he ate, he counted...even his cups of coffee with cream & sugar because we don't use anything with artificial sweeteners.  Yet he's had him "piece of candy"or "slice of  cake".  While he at much healthier, he still had a slice or 2 of pizza from time to time, even chinese food.  Its all about portion control and moderation and it works.  I'm bedridden, yet from a hospital bed, in the same amount of time, eating the same way, I went from 399 pounds to 297.  I'm loosing slower, but I'm still loosing just by counting calories and moderation. :)  You can do it too!  Don't be afraid to try.  However, keeping in mind, that as with anyone who has an addictive personality, food can trigger that addiction the same was as alcohol with an alcoholic...and perhaps may be better staying away altogether lest it bring you back down.



Great article, thanks :)

I wanted to have some advice regarding the inclusion of bad foods:

- small portion from time to time

or

- one day/week of freedom?

I believe option 1 is hard to control the cravings but option 2 has stronger effects on the body like water retention, bloating etc?

Thanks



I disagree with this updated paper by the Academy. "Bad" food is just as stated, bad for you. If you're eating the right types of nutrient dense food, cravings for crap "food" manufactured by the conglomerate for-profit food industries will not seem appealing. In fact I'm probably leaving this site as the whole as calorie counting is not my chosen plan of health and weight loss. Eating an unrestricted amount of nutrient dense whole food plant based diet with exercise is my plan; calorie counting is out of the picture. Good luck to all!



To me, the more I eat healthy the less I want less healthy food. This article is not a good lead for people who- are living a LIFESTYLE of wellness, who have addictive behaviors/ binges triggered by sugar and fat or someone who is aiming for adaptations in palate permently.

I for one do not find this to work. I do know I CAN have anything within reason, but choose not to. The satiation and joy in alternatives to my favorite items is so wonderful to me and I search, experiment and have discovered new, better and healthy nutitionally dense "goodies" and indulgences!!

My 2 newest are Lindnt 99% dark chocolate (whole bar is 200 cals... just in "case" lol ) and Quest BAr's Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough....I put it in the fridge and It tastes like the real thing!.

Nothing tastes as great as health, fitness and wellness feels :D



Calorie counting is about choices:  if you count what have eaten and plan what you will eat with a number of calories in mind, you can choose how and what fits into your daily plan for calorie intake.  E.g., If I have 2000 calories for a day I can blow it all on cookies (not a great choice), or I can fill the 2000 calories in other ways such as salads, whole grain cereal, milk, fruit and a couple of cookie...

It's all about about making informed choices .



this person agrees http://gokaleo.com/

so does this one http://180degreehealth.com/

 



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