Our society has become so scientifically advanced that we have veered away from natural plant-based foods and heavily relied on chemically laden processed foods to meet our nutritional needs. Heavily processed foods have become the norm out of sheer convenience. Our lives are consumed with a race against time, as we are in a constant rush to work, eat, and live. So much so, eating packaged food for the ease of time has become the norm. Sadly, the nutritional focus has transitioned away from foods made by nature, to foods that are produced in a scientific lab. Somewhere along the way, counting calories has become the mainstay for maintaining health and wellness. Often Low-calorie food is preferred over nature-made food.
What is a Calorie?
Calories are the amount of energy required to heat 1 gram of water by 1 degree. With regards to food, it is the amount of energy you get from a serving of food. Calorie counts are based on serving size. A serving size can vary from person to person. Food labels list a calculated amount per serving. The FDA recommends an average daily intake of 2000 calories per day. The challenge is recognizing an actual serving size.
Imagine this, purchasing pre-packaged low-calorie food with the aim of eating a predetermined amount. The problem is, there is not a readily available measuring device to police the amount you eat in one sitting. Let’s take chips, for instance, be it low-calorie or not, you typically cannot just eat one or five. Consequently, the labeled low-calorie food can quickly become null and void as soon as you exceed the total amount of chips eaten. Then boom there goes your strategy for a low-calorie snack.
All Calories are Not the Same
All calories are not created equal. Just because a product is labeled low calorie does not mean that is “healthy.” Sodas are often marketed as having little to no calories. But a soda is a mix of acidic carbonated water, sugar, and high fructose corn syrup. Regardless of the little to no calorie count, it has nutritional value. Meaning the body does not nutritionally benefit from the ingestion of sodas. Once ingested, it contains empty calories which are incapable of providing the body with usable energy.
Healthy Eating Vs Low-Calorie Count
The measure for healthy eating, should not be solely based on the total amount of daily calories consumed. But it should rely on the quality of the foods we eat. Far too often, we are consumed with our daily caloric intake. For some, this borders on obsession. Since when did low-calorie foods outweigh the natural benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables. Frankly, there’s no comparison. Meal plans and diets that take into account daily caloric intake do not highlight the importance of eating natural nature made foods. Yet it’s focus is on teaching you to select pre-packaged foods with a low-calorie count. Sure foods that are low in calories will result in some degree of improvement in your health. However, diets by definition are temporary.
Natural vs. Processed Food
Lifestyle modification is the only sustainable approach. One of the biggest challenges with healthy eating is steering clear of processed foods. Let’s face it processed pre-packaged “foods” are all around us. Let’s take the grocery store, practically every food item outside of the produce department is processed to some degree. Without chemical ingredients and artificial additives, there would be no “fast” food.
Diet and weight loss programs often have their own processed food product line. In turn, these products solve two problems accessibility and convenience. By making the food fast and easily accessible, it makes it that much easier to convert the consumer into a paying customer. Unfortunately, weight loss programs are in the business of making money. Therefore, educating consumers on the benefits of eating fresh fruits and vegetables is counterproductive to their bottom line.
There has been a significant push for people to follow a low-calorie diet. Eating low-calorie foods will result in weight loss but it doesn’t necessarily equate to healthy food. Don’t believe the hype. Good quality foods will not come pre-packaged with an extended expiration date. Most packaged foods are infused with chemicals to extend its shelf life. If these chemicals can make it last for years, just think of what it can do to your body.
Once ingested chemicals are broken down into smaller particles which are often more toxic as it is broken down. As a result, our digestive and detoxifying organs (i.e., colon, and liver) are often overworked in an effort to keep the body in a healthy balanced state. Over time, repeated injury can cause disease over time. Rather than obsess over counting calories, buy fresh fruits and vegetables. Opt to use your all five of your senses to determine the freshness of your food. Don’t rely on sell-by dates, and complicated scientific ingredients to sustain your health.