Is this meal good or bad?

‘How bad is this [pizza – or any other meal] for me?’ is a question I get asked a lot at dinner parties or social engagements. I feel that this kind of question speaks to a flawed way of thinking about dieting that is held by many people trying to lose some weight.

Now, don’t get me wrong here, I’m never going to advocate pizza (or whatever other fast-food/dessert/sweets) as a dietary staple. But that’s the exact reason I am writing this article.

A meal can only be judged as good or bad – or more accurately HELPFUL or HARMFUL – in the context of your goals and in conjunction with an understanding of what your typical, everyday diet looks like.

Eating a couple of slices of pizza for breakfast, a burger and fries for lunch and a chocolate cake for dinner every day is NOT going to help you lose weight or be healthy.

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How bad is it for you to eat the chocolate cake for dinner?

Pretty bad BECAUSE OF WHAT YOU ATE AT THE OTHER TWO MEALS and on the days prior to that one.

But what if you are at a party and are offered dessert when you’ve been pretty disciplined for the entire week before that? Is that dessert BAD for you? I’d say NO. You CANNOT put on weight from eating one dessert in the course of an entire week of healthy eating.

It’s all about CONTEXT

A meal is either helpful or harmful based on everything that happens around it. A meal rich in fresh veg is a ‘good’ meal, but if your goal is weight loss, it’s a NORMAL meal. If you eat normal meals 90% of the time you’ll be OK having a ‘NOT-NORMAL’ meal like a slice of cake every once in a while.

View previous fashionable nutrition myths below: