Scott McDermott

Healthy food can make you fat

Sometimes too much of a good thing is just too much

Speaking to a client recently, we discovered a problem that was causing weight gain: healthy food.

The challenge arrives when we establish some essential good habits and move to eat healthier food as a rule. That is a good thing for sure, with a ton of wide-sweeping benefits. Eating healthy food from its original form and taking charge of what goes into your body is the best way to fuel a human body. Choosing foods that are the ingredients, versus having ingredients, is a great way to start. In addition, avoiding empty calories in junk food and moderating or eliminating inflammatory foods will undoubtedly change your life.

Soon we begin to become aware of all the good things that exist along this spectrum, and this can be where the trouble starts. This client was having a healthy protein shake each morning. A scoop of protein blended with water or coconut milk, plus some healthy, organic frozen berries (or fresh if in season) and life was good.

Weight was in a great place after a significant fat loss, exercise was on point and life was clicking along tickety-boo.

Then an article came along that said hemp hearts were delicious and had health benefits. That is true, and they added them to the shake. Then another report noted that adding greens was beneficial, and they added that in too. It was said that some good fat in the form of nut butter was a great idea, so in it went. Another article showed that two scoops of protein provided more essential building blocks for lean tissue, so that change was made. Have you heard about the benefits of chia seeds? Fantastic, in they went. Acai berries are a superfood, and they must go in too.

Soon there was a change in how things felt and the weigh scale’s direction. No longer did they feel like eating their mid-morning snack. In fact, they were feeling bloated well into lunchtime. Strange, they said, they used to feel so good after a shake, but not anymore, and it made no sense. The ingredients were all healthy, good choices according to the research.

It comes down to math eventually, and this is the secret of every single diet or meal plan in the world: caloric responsibility. Specifically, creating a caloric deficit through eating enough for your healthy muscles, organs and tissues to thrive. Optimally, doing this while adding exercise or movement to burn calories and to create a need to burn fat as a fuel source instead of storing it.

The morning shake had gone from an excellent 500 calories to a whopping 1,300 calories, pretty much by accident.

Although the added foods were healthy, there were too many of them, and all at once. A better option would be to space some of these yummy health foods out during the day or have three or four different morning protein shake recipes that change it up throughout the week. Knowing how much your body needs each day concerning calories and, if you want to really progress forward, what macronutrients to choose from will further benefit you in this quest for health. If you wish to succeed faster, then how much protein, fat and carbohydrates per day to make up those calories is the next step.

Too much of anything is too much, healthy or not. It is essential to know what things will get you in trouble the fastest, calorically speaking. Eating well is never about starving; it is about awareness. Three cups of broccoli will provide you with 93 calories, which happens to be the same as one donut hole. Which of those would fill you up and give the most nutritional value?

That is pretty clear, and honestly, I would never suggest anyone eat three cups of broccoli in one sitting. At this point, it is important to know where balance comes in. At each meal, having some protein, fat, carbohydrates predominantly from veggies and a healthy lifestyle is easy. Just watch those articles on the latest superfood because no matter how great it may be, you need to consider the caloric load on the day.

Health and wellnessOpinion

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