Good Foods Vs. Bad Foods

Reviewed by James Brann, M.D.

A Common Sense Approach To Diet And Nutrition
The first thing you should do is erase the terms ‘good’ and ‘bad’ from your diet. Following a diet that is too strict or severe may eventually result in dissatisfaction and feelings of deprivation. What you should do is adopt a common sense attitude toward dieting. This means you can eat almost all foods in moderation.

You’ll want most of your diet to consist of foods that are wholesome and nutritious (usually all those foods you might consider "good"). These include:
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Lean protein
  • Whole grains
You should try to include fewer refined foods in your diet. While you don’t have to avoid them altogether, keep in mind they pack the least nutritional punch. Examples of refined foods or foods processed from refined products include:
  • White or bleached flour
  • White bread products
  • White rice
  • Cornbread
  • Macaroni or pasta products
Now keep in mind, refined products can be part of a healthy diet. Most refined foods are enriched with B vitamins and iron, adding to their nutritional power. While they aren’t as helpful as whole grains like bulgur, cracked wheat, oatmeal or brown rice, they are still better for you than nutritionally empty products like diet soda.

Next, you’ll want to limit your intake of processed foods. Most people consume far too many processed foods in their diets. These include pretty much any food that comes packaged and ready to go. TV dinners, instant waffles or pancakes, packaged meals, boxed lunches… you get the picture. All of these foods typically contain hydrogenated fats to help extend their shelf life. Over time, too much hydrogenated foods can contribute to heart disease and arteriosclerosis. Your body will work more optimally the fewer processed foods you eat.

That doesn’t mean however that an occasional indulgence in a piece of chocolate or soda will necessarily destroy your diet and exercise plan. In fact, you may find your approach to weight loss improved and your success much better if you do occasionally allow yourself to indulge in a few treats. Chocolate is actually one of the least offensive ‘cheat’ items most people like to include in their diet. Why? It’s actually jam-packed full of antioxidants, particularly dark chocolate. It makes you feel better! Your just far better-off having a mini piece than an entire candy bar. A cup of cocoa is as indulgent and far less caloric for example, than a snicker’s bar.

The key to good health is approaching your diet sensibly. Anyone that sustains their weight on a pack of diet sodas and bubble gum every day is not going to be as successful as someone who eats well and indulges in an occasional soda or sweet. You don’t want to feel deprived, you want to feel great! That is the key to success. If you plan to eat a decadent meal, be sure to eat many fibrous vegetables to counterbalance the less healthy aspects of your meal. Drink plenty of water to help flush your system and help you stay hydrated. Many people may be shocked to find that thirst stimulates a sensation much like hunger in the body.

So, if you haven’t already, decide today to remove the terms ‘good’ and ‘bad’ from your diet vocabulary. Instead focus on your diet as a whole, so you get the ‘big picture’ when it comes to your health and well-being. This may mean cutting back the day after a big meal or indulgence. Most people for example, go a bit overboard on Thanksgiving. Far too often people start talking about all the ‘bad’ food they ate. Realistically speaking however, one day of indulgence of 300 good days is not really ‘bad’ at all. It’s perfectly normal. You can take charge of your health. All you need to do is adjust your attitude a little and make room for a little flexibility.