Good Food vs Bad Food. Basic Nutrition Rules That You Miss

Good vs Bad Food. Basic Nutrition Rules That You Miss

Our eating habits directly impact our health, well-being, and workout results. Needless to say that exercising is good for you in many ways, but you can hardly out-train a poor diet. Unfortunately, there are a lot of indeterminates, individuals and businesses that try to capitalize this.

‘Bad food’ is one of the most common terms when it comes to basic nutrition practices. It sounds frightening and dangerous. Consequently, people give up eating rice, bread, eggs, red meat, or meat in general. However, we ignore the fact that unhealthy diets may aggravate your health issues, like cardiovascular diseases, prevalent forms of cancer, diabetes mellitus type II, and more. Around 11 million deaths and 255 million disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) globally were associated with suboptimal nutrition in 2017.

Considering the facts mentioned above, you may ask — does the term ‘bad food’ really exist? Why is unhealthy food bad? And finally, what are the main components of a balanced diet? — Let’s make things clear and elaborate on each point in this article.

Good Food vs Bad Food or How to Navigate the Basics of Any Nutritional Balancing Program

What we call things and what words we use to describe them are important. Our verbiage not only illustrates our way of thinking but can also form an attitude over time. The concept ‘good food-bad food’ is probably the best illustration here since it serves as the basis for unhealthy communication and often gives rise to other misleading terms and theories.

Pinning labels on food and calling it good or bad, we shift focus from the wider picture and ignore primary factors that actually define your well-being. Yes, some foodstuff contains more nutritional qualities compared to others, but don’t forget about the context. If you haven’t eaten anything except for a carrot all day, the body can experience a lot of stress. Instead of feeling happy and healthy, you may feel drained and depressed. Let’s dive into the terminology and identify what is what.

What is junk food?

The terms ‘junk or bad food’ are used to refer to unhealthy products and meals that are rich in calories due to fat or sugar but with little minerals, protein, vitamins, dietary fiber, and other essential varieties of nutritional value. When we ask ‘what is considered junk food,’ people usually talk about fast food, although it’s not quite the case and the latter cannot be bulkily categorized as junk food.

What is good food?

The term ‘good food’ is mainly applied to healthy meals and products that are replete with important nutrients, accessible, and environmentally friendly. They ensure an increase in stamina and sustainability. People often think that when one is speaking of good food, they’re referring to vegetables and fruits only. This is not always true. The term is more capacious, and it also includes dairy, meat, and grains.

What is a balanced diet?

A healthy diet means consuming different product categories in the right proportions, depending on your individual needs and goals. It may comprise whole grains, fruits, vegetables, pulses, and meat, but should contain little to no sweetened beverages and convenience food. In general, when it comes to defining ‘what is a well-balanced diet,’ we say that it’s healthy eating that supplies your body with all the necessary nutrient content, including micronutrients, macronutrients, fluid, and sufficient calories.

A Brief Look at Bad Food Combinations and Clean Eating Basics

Now that we’ve straightened out the definitions and outlined the basic nutrition and hydration requirements, let’s get back to labeling. The bad-good paradigm in eating results in a judgmental approach not only towards food but also towards people. We call ourselves good or bad for eating an apple vs. french fries, thus provoking stress and guilt. When we say that some products or meals are bad or forbidden, in a way it makes the “forbidden fruit” even more desirable and can further add to cravings.

Taking into account all the above, does the term ‘bad food’ really exist? Or is it just a misconception? Let’s consider the following example: pizza is often referred to as ‘bad food.’ However, our experts say that if it’s not your daily go to meal and you share it with friends, along with laughing, talking, and some activities, then it turns into a good time and true balm for your soul. Unfortunately, labeling food and trying to be fitting into the sample sizes, people prefer to miss out on parties or moments with friends, which leads to feeling depressed and exhausted. This, in turn, causes many people to not achieve their long term goals with the thought that they are forced to choose between one or the other.

Clean eating is another buzzword often used by marketers. Initially, the term meant eating minimally processed products to preserve all the nutrients. Over time this philosophy evolved into another form of food and body-shaming, meaning that if you don’t eat clean, then you eat ‘dirty.’ Unfortunately, such an attitude has the same consequences as the bad-good paradigm.

Exploring the idea of good and bad cholesterol foods, people try to follow standardized diets found online and ignore their unique needs. However, your diet shouldn’t be perfect, and there’s no room for stress or guilt. It’s critical to plan your own nutritionally balanced meal that will help you feel happy and energized.

Let’s keep to the point: what are the three basic principles of healthy eating?

  1. Eat a larger variety of foods. When it comes to healthy eating basics, nutrition should include the following categories: grains, dairy, protein (meat, fish, and legumes), vegetables, and fruits.
  2. Choose whole foods. Currently, people tend to eat excessive sugar, salt, refined grains, and processed fat. Too much of these leads to health problems and discomfort. The basic principles of human nutrition provide for the use of natural products and whole foods since they are more nutrient-dense and help you feel full for a longer time.
  3. Opt for traditional cooking methods. That doesn’t mean that you should be cooking over a campfire in your apartment. We are mainly talking about baking and boiling. For instance, a boiled egg will provide you with numerous nutrients (selenium, phosphorus, folate, iodine, vitamins B2, B5, B12, A, D, E, and more) that are important for your health; meanwhile, a fried one will bring oxidized cholesterol to your arteries. Additionally, mix products and cooking methods, as our body better assimilates multiple nutrients together.

The Essential Rules of Nutrition to Follow When You Work Out

Figuring out what to eat before and after workouts can be challenging. What to eat before a morning workout (bodybuilding)? How long should I wait to workout after eating? What to eat after a cardio workout? All these questions are critical since if you don’t eat enough before training, you may feel hypersthenic and dizzy. Rewarding yourself after a workout will help you avert muscle breakdown and contribute to your quick recovery. In the meantime, choosing the wrong products can foil all your hard work and delay the achievement of the desired results.

So, let’s proceed to the main topic. The best time to eat before a workout ranges from 30 minutes (snacks) to up to three hours (meal).

What to eat before a workout?

  • Carbs for immediate energy, like a granola bar, oatmeal, a toast, or a few crackers.
  • Proteins are highly-recommended before strength training and can be found in a hard-boiled egg, Greek yogurt, nuts, or a slice of turkey.

You can mix these food categories, as well as add blueberries, peanut butter, almond milk, honey, bananas, apples, raisins, or avocados. A tasty smoothie can be the best bet.

What to eat after a workout?

  • Fluids are critical, and you should drink enough water or blend it with natural juice to rehydrate your body and replenish the fluids you’ve lost while exercising;
  • Carbohydrates are the major fuel for your muscles, and they contribute to faster recovery. As you finish training, make sure to replenish your supplies in 20-60 minutes, and here are several options to choose from oatmeal, rice cakes, crackers, whole grain toasts, quinoa, chia seed pudding, bananas, or sweet potato/rice.
  • Protein will help you recuperate and build muscles. You can have a protein shake, Greek yogurt, salmon/tuna, chicken/turkey, cottage cheese, boiled eggs, or chocolate milk.
  • Healthy fats can add to your muscle growth and help you feel full longer, but they shouldn’t be the main post-workout meal. You can complement your carbs-proteins dishes with avocado, flax seeds, or coconut oil.

When choosing things to eat after a workout, give preference to whole grains since they are split slowly and affect your blood sugar less. We don’t recommend missing a post-training meal because it can lead to injuries, ill-being, and longer and less effective recovery. You can either use a convenient fitness and food tracking apps, like The Better Human app or diarize all your achievements for better control and visualization.

Final Thoughts

We’ve covered the basic nutrition facts and general guidelines to make your workouts not only effective but also tastier. Of course, your meal plan highly depends on your kind of training and the desired goals. For instance, people wondering how to plan a nutritionally balanced meal and lose weight should eliminate excessive carbs or processed food and boost their protein intake. Asking what to eat after a workout to gain weight (muscles), you may also hear ‘protein’ since it’s critical for muscle-building and power athletes should eat around 0.25-0.30 grams per each kilo bodyweight (kbw) at every meal. And more importantly, don’t forget about rehydration and good sleep as the latter not only adds to your muscle growth but also keeps your level of stress (namely hormone cortisol) under control.