Excess calories can be bad for you — from any food
There is no evidence that any food will cause more fat gain than the excess calories it provides. There is also no evidence that eating a certain food will help you lose fat.
Fat loss is ultimately about calories in versus calories out.
Any food that has calories can technically be bad for you — if consumed in excess.
Organic, clean eating, gluten free, paleo, low carb or no carb, it doesn’t matter, in excess it doesn’t work. This includes chicken breasts, sweet potatoes, whole grains, and even vegetables. The reason many people consider these “clean foods” is because they tend to be harder to overeat than things like cookies or ice cream. You can eat meals consisting entirely of healthy foods, such as carrots, fish, apples and whole grain bread, and continue to gain weight, because you can still eat too much, even if everything is good for you.
For this reason, some people refer to things like sweets, baked goods, and other junk food as “fattening.”
This is an inaccurate and myopic viewpoint. It assumes that you will overeat these foods — regardless of the rest of your diet.
If your diet has enough satiating power to keep you satisfied and happy, then there’s nothing wrong with also consuming some less-filling indulgences. This idea also assumes that people can’t moderate their food intake, which they can.
For some people, eating enough to gain or maintain their weight can be a struggle. In these cases, higher calorie/more palatable foods can be extremely useful for meeting their calorie needs — not to mention being more enjoyable. Yet you don’t find people saying ice cream and cookies are life-saving for an anorexic, or muscle-building for someone who’s trying to get bigger.
People look at these foods in isolation and assume they’re unhealthy regardless of the context.
Remember the potential to overconsume food is always there regardless of what you’re eating.
However, you’re also concerned with your long-term health. You want to make sure you’re giving your body everything it needs to perform optimally, and you don’t want to deprive your body of essential nutrients.
Britt’s Tips on portion control:
• Start with a glass of H2O: Drink 16 ounces (a big glass) of water. Filling your belly with water will naturally make you less likely to overeat. Plus, some symptoms of dehydration may actually be what’s causing your rumbling belly, so sipping some water before you eat may eliminate your “hunger” altogether.
• Downsize The Dishes: If you’re one of those people who eat until their plates are clean, make sure those plates are modestly sized. On a standard 8- to 10-inch dinner plate, a portion of spaghetti looks like a meal. On a 12- to 14-inch dinner plate, it looks meager, so you’re likely to dish out a bigger portion to fill the plate.
• Split your meal in half when eating out: This is especially helpful when going to restaurants that offer big portions. Don’t be afraid to ask for a to-go box when ordering. Before you even take the first bite, divide the meal in half and take it home for another meal.
• Keep a food diary of what you eat: Writing down what you eat makes you much more aware of how much you are consuming and will act as a reference for keeping you in check for your next meal.
It’s not cheating: It’s OK to indulge yourself with a meal every now and then, just “make good choices” throughout the rest of the day.
— Britt Glock is a performance nutrition specialist/personal trainer with Midland Fitness.
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