The good, the bad and the... food?

How do you define food?

Good? Bad? Ugly?!

The chances are, if you're on a diet you probably have a mental list of which foods are 'good' for you and which foods are 'bad'. But the real fact of the matter is that there's no such thing.

After all, the fact the lists differ so much depending upon which diet you're on is a good indicator that these are constructed ideas rather than fact.

Let's take avocados as an example:

WW or SW: bad
Atkins: good
Paleo: good
Vegan: depends who you talk to ;-)
The grapefruit diet: bad
The avocado diet: good


You see what I mean? The reality of the situation is that avocados are high in fat, which is why they're high in points on a low fat diet. However, fat loss simply requires a calorie deficit. Therefore, if in a day, you eat an avocado but stay within your calorie requirements, you'll still be on track for success.

Does this mean they're a 'good' food then?

Well, they certainly have beneficial properties. They're high in vitamins, minerals, fibre, heart-healthy fats and because of this they will also keep you fuller for longer. In fact, they've been touted as a super food so many times they've achieved Trendy-Food-Blogger-Insta fame. Fantastic! A big tick in the 'good' food list.


Eat too much of a good thing and it's no longer good. And here's the problem.

Too many avocados = too much fat = too many calories = sabotaged fat loss and now avocados are back to bad.

The chances of you eating an avocado in a trendy beard-friendly restaurant on its own is slim. So now your lunchtime avo is presented 'healthily' on a plate with salmon, poached eggs and a drizzle of olive oil. All 'good' foods for inclusion in a heart-healthy meal except it's a meal which is now topping in excess of 1000 calories; a 'bad' chocolate bar would have averaged 250 calories.

Do you see the problem? It's just too simplistic a way of identifying foods and the reason for that can be boiled down to one word:


There is no such thing as a good or a bad food because the reality of the situation is that ALL foods can be enjoyed in moderation. Yep, that's right, ALL foods.

Cous cous

And that's just the foods that begin with the letter C! There are so many other foods out there to be enjoyed whatever your goal. The key to enjoying them is balance.

Remember, so long as you're in a calorie deficit, you'll lose weight. How much weight you shift and how quickly will be down to how restrictive you are with your deficit. Ultimately, chocolate has more calories than carrots so if you want to eat more food but consume less calories, you're better off with the carrot. However, unless you're Bugs Bunny, there's no reason why you can't balance this with a whole range of other foods.

balanced food

So, if you've found that you're struggling to stay on the diet wagon, or you're feeling guilty about the food you've eaten today, or you're wondering why you can't 'stick with it', perhaps you need to consider how you're labelling food. Scrap the idea of 'good' and 'bad' and instead simply balance the amount of food you consume which is high in nutrients and filling, with the amount you consume which is low in nutrients but oh-so-super-tasty!

For more support, help and advice join Spark Fitness Coaching on Facebook or contact Aimi and Maggie for a more personal approach.