Unhealthy Foods, Mindful Eating, Sustainability, Balanced Diets
April 23, 2023
3 minute read
Why No Food Can Be Deemed "Fattening"
Have you ever called a food “fattening”? If yes, this article is for you.
This word is extremely toxic, and can give us skewed notions of how food truly nourishes us. By the end of this piece, I would like to hope you believe that there are no “good” and “bad” foods – just foods that make us happy, and some that serve us better nutritionally than others. Each have their place in our lives.
When it comes to weight gain, many people tend to believe in the notion of "fattening" foods. We often associate certain foods with weight gain, such as pizza, hamburgers, and sugary snacks. However, the truth is that no food can be deemed "fattening" on its own. Weight gain is a function of consuming more calories than you burn, and one can gain unwanted weight by consuming too much of any combinations of food.
Numerous studies have shown that it is not the type of food but the amount that contributes to weight gain. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition examined the effects of different macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins) on weight gain. The study found that consuming more calories than your body burns is what leads to weight gain, regardless of the type of macronutrient consumed.
The harsh truth is that you can be in a caloric surplus of clean food, and still gain weight (whether its wanted or unwanted weight is a whole different conversation). While quality is super important, quantity is too.
It is also important to note that not all foods are created equal in terms of caloric density. Some foods, such as vegetables and fruits, have a lower caloric density, while other foods such as processed snacks and fast food have a higher calorie density. Each type serves us differently.
When you are trying to adopt a healthier lifestyle, it would be prudent to focus on nutritionally dense items such as good quality protein, carbs, fats, and vegetables that help promote your fitness and aesthetic goals.
However, getting on any kind of diet or unsustainable regimen that forces you to cut out things out of your life that you enjoy, whether it's pizza, pasta, cake, or alcohol – promotes a pattern of restriction to binge behaviours which could lead to creating a negative relationship with food.
Finding a regime that is well balanced and allows you to consume less nutritionally dense items in moderation, but also prioritise the nutritionally dense ones is the way to go.
In conclusion, no food can be deemed "fattening" on its own. Weight gain is a function of consuming more calories than you burn, and one can gain unwanted weight by consuming too much of any combinations of food. It is important to maintain a balanced and varied diet, including a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats, while also being mindful of portion sizes to prevent overconsumption of calories.