Last updated on Jun 17th, 2020 at 11:58 am

‘Health-food’ Mistakes is a series of articles devoted to helping you be more discerning when it comes to ‘health food’. Health food does not necessarily equal weight loss. You still have to avoid some common pitfalls to get any benefit from these foods.

MISTAKE: Is it edible or nutritional?

One of the commonly uttered phrases amongst health and weight loss enthusiasts and ‘experts’ with regards to ‘junk food’ is “that’s not food“.

The interesting thing about this statement is that junk food clearly IS food, because humans eat it all the time.

It is edible… but is it nutritional?

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If you ask the health pros why they say that junk food is not real food they will tell you that it’s because most junk foods are completely processed and full of chemicals. And they’ll often tell you this while eating a highly processed and chemical-laden protein bar…

By this token, if ‘junk foods’ aren’t real food, then I would submit that many ‘health foods’ are not real food either.

And as much as you may benefit from staying away from ‘junk foods’, you may benefit just much staying away from ‘health foods’ for the same reason.

Instead of asking whether it’s food, ask whether it’s nutritional. Will the ingredients benefit your mind and body?

I’d say this:

If you look at a list of ingredients, and recognise them as something you could actually eat, then go ahead and eat it… within reason.

If the list is full of numbers, letters and chemical names, give it a skip immediately.

If you recognised the main ingredient (‘Oh, I see that peanut butter is made from peanuts’) then read the ingredients list to see what else is in there and decide if it’s ‘food’ or not. Eating natural peanut butter is way more nutritionally beneficial than eating peanut butter that is full of added sugar and salt.

The easiest way to live healthily is to only eat single-ingredient foods – fruit, veg, grains, legumes, meat, nuts, dairy, eggs etc. But we live in the modern age and sometimes this isn’t always possible. Learn to sort the wheat from the chaff or you’ll be eating ‘health-foods’ that are as nutritionally ‘beneficial’ as ‘junk foods’.

While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.