There has always been a push for us to eat healthier.
For those of us trying to lose weight, lower blood pressure, or just try to take better care of ourselves by the request of a loved one -- we all have our own ways of trying to eat and live healthier.
...the problem, however, is that each of us have our own definition of the term “healthy.”
The ambiguity that surrounds this term stems mostly from the fact that each of our bodies are completely different from one another: some of us have lightning fast metabolisms that burn up food and convert it into energy right away without storing it, which keeps bodies looking thin and lithe. Other bodies exercise every single day and still appear overweight with fat collecting around their midsection.
With those two extremes, the definition of what exactly is “healthy” for them is probably very different. The good news is, regardless of your body type, there actually is one definition for the term “healthy” that applies to all of us.
Today, we jump into the diet debate, seek out a definition for how to eat “healthy,” and explore how to navigate the supermarket for foods that genuinely qualify as good for you.
It’s all about what foods can do for your body
When we are rolling through the aisles of the supermarket and looking for “healthy” options, we might take special notice of the labels that promote things like fewer calories.
When we see something like a pint of ice cream with fewer calories than other brands surrounding it on the shelf, we may think that it is actually “healthy” to eat. This often leads to us eating too much without thinking twice. Yes, that pint of ice cream may boast zero sugar, fewer calories, or even be “natural” or “organic” --but these alterations do not suddenly make it into a healthy food.
Despite fewer calories or reduced this or less that -- you are still scarfing down a pint of ice cream. On top of that, those removed sugars and fats are usually replaced with even more artificial ingredients, possibly making it even worse for your body than it would be with all the sugar and fat left in.
Increase the good, and decrease or eliminate the bad
Reduced fat, reduced calories, reduced sugars… if it needs to be reduced, then it’s probably a product that you would do better to live without.
While it may be difficult, this is what “healthy” looks like: Cutting out the bad and focusing only on the good. Foods that offer more benefits than negatives.
It’s not always about what is “less.” Although we would like to cheat the system and find ways to sneak in those cookies or cartons of ice cream guilt free… to maintain what is “healthy”, you will need to significantly pull back on those sugary and fatty foods.
Does this mean that you cannot ever have these delicious treats anymore? Absolutely not! Just be careful not to fool yourself into believing that just because it has less sugar or reduced fat... that your favorite dessert is now magically “healthy”. In small and infrequent portions, you can still enjoy your favorite treats.
When looking for a definition of what is healthy, it’s all about the benefits compared to the setbacks. Ask yourself, “How can this food actually help my body” whenever you are in question of whether it is healthy or not. It may be tough at first, but like all things with practice -- it will soon become a habit.
Keep your eye on what is optimal for your body, and don’t settle for less.
Nguyen, P K, S Lin, and P Heidenreich. “A Systematic Comparison of Sugar Content in Low-Fat vs Regular Versions of Food.” Nutrition & Diabetes. 2016.
Strawbridge, Holly. "Artificial Sweeteners: Sugar-Free, But At What Cost? - Harvard Health Blog." Harvard Health Blog. N. p., 2012. Web. 14 Feb. 2012.
"Fats And Cholesterol." The Nutrition Source. N. p., 2012. Web. 14 Feb. 2016.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with questions regarding a medical condition. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you have read here. This article is for general information only.