What’s the Difference Between Healthy and Diet Foods?

What’s the Difference Between Healthy and Diet Foods?

If you watch any TV at all, you’ve probably seen commercials for low-fat, low-calorie, high protein, or low-carbohydrate foods. The implication is that the foods pictured are good for you. Actually, the foods pictured are diet food. Healthy eating is not dieting.

The idea that “healthy” eating means no fat and no sugar is a myth. Healthy eating means eating the right kinds of food in the right amounts. The kinds of food are familiar: bread, pasta, fruits, vegetables, rice, beans, nuts, and so on. And the right amounts are familiar, too: much less than we used to. The big change, in the last few decades, has been in “right.” We eat too much fat and sugar, but we don’t know what the right amounts are.

Let’s start by thinking about what is a healthy meal. If you described your ideal meal to me, I would hear a lot about fresh vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, fruits, and low-fat dairy products. But I also would expect to hear that it tasted good.
A low-calorie, low-fat diet will not help you maintain a healthy weight. It will not make you eat less or exercise more. It will just make you hungry.

Healthy eating is about making smart choices, not about deprivation. A diet that restricts all carbohydrates is not healthy. A diet that restricts all fat is not healthy. A diet that restricts all fat or carbohydrates is not healthy. Healthy eating is about variety, not restriction.

Calories are not a measure of what something is worth. Calories are a measure of how fast that something is going. They measure how much energy there is in something. Energy is the basic commodity of life. In your body, energy comes in the form of glucose, which is what gives you your energy and which you eat. A calorie is a measure of how many calories are in one gram of carbohydrate.

Anna Daniels

Anna is an avid blogger with an educational background in medicine and mental health. She is a generalist with many other interests including nutrition, women's health, astronomy and photography. In her free time from work and writing, Anna enjoys nature walks, reading, and listening to jazz and classical music.

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