January 18, 2019

Are there “Good” and “Bad” Foods?

By Julia Kaesberg, MS, RD, LD, CHES

So often, the members I work with use the words “good” and “bad” to describe foods. I hear, “Well, I ate some bad foods this week, which is why I didn’t lose weight,” or, “I shouldn’t have eaten that.” Does this sound like you? If so, you aren’t alone!

However, I challenge you to rethink this idea of “good” and “bad” foods and “should” and “shouldn’t” eat. What makes a food good? To me, a food is good if tastes good or is satisfying to what I am looking for in that moment. A food is bad if it doesn’t taste good or is spoiled. Simple as that.

What people usually mean when they say “bad” foods are foods that are high in calories, sugar, or fat. But eating 1 donut or 1 scoop of ice cream is not going to make you gain weight. In fact, it’s important to include your favorite treats in your routine occasionally so you don’t feel deprived and go overboard next time.

If you can reframe your thinking towards thinking of foods as nutritious (providing important vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates, and fat), you can change the way you view eating. Eating is wired in our DNA to be a pleasurable experience. The key is finding the balance between eating nutritious foods and occasionally splurging on the ones that maybe don’t give us quite as much nutrition (like the ice cream)!

A good place to start is thinking of the 90-10 rule. 90% of the time, try to have foods that are nutritious and are providing you with something beneficial. 10% of the time, have reasonably sized portions of those not-so-nutritious choices.

And next time you think “good” or “bad” about a food, I hope it is because of the taste!