Good Food vs Bad Food

As you may or may not know I don’t believe there is such thing as a good food or a bad food…As far as I’m concerned there is just food.

Is this a good or bad food?

When I make this sort of statement the common reaction I get is something like this: “surely it’s not healthy to eat candy all day long compared to fruits and veggies and lean protein.”

This is a false premise for the following reason; Eating any single food all day isn’t good for you (and it’s not the claim I am making).

For example you couldn’t exist eating only tomatoes all day any better than you could eating potato chips all day. But I’d bet 100 out of 100 people would suggest tomatoes are a ‘good’ food and potato chips are a ‘bad’ food. This isn’t an argument about the goodness of a food, it’s an argument about lack of variety.

The point here is that you will never encounter a situation when you are forced to choose one food alone to eat for an entire day or longer. This is an interesting thought experiment, but it will never happen in real life…or at least you pray it will never happen.

The other reason I say there is no good or bad foods is because of volume or quantity.

If a potato chip or candy is a ‘bad’ food, does that mean even 1 chip is bad? Or one piece of candy?

As with any food the devil is in the dose, not the food itself.

The following two statements are scientifically correct and demonstrate why it’s impossible to label something as good or bad without considering quantity, and variety of other foods.

a) 1 bag of potato chips isn’t going to cause any measurable health problems, however it would be impossible to survive eating potato chips alone.

b) 1 tomato isn’t going to cause any measurable health problems, however it would be impossible to survive eating tomatoes alone.

In both cases you cannot survive. You will need a variety of other foods to survive…so which is the good food and which is the bad food? The answer of course is neither, because neither a potato chip or a tomato has enough nutrients for a human being to survive.

The point is that you and I require a certain minimum variety of food and nutrients in order to survive and avoid deficiency.

At the end the day food is just the sum of its parts (macro and micro nutrients). Overloading your diet with any one nutrient is going to cause problems. Conversely striving to eat a variety of food is probably the best option for ensuring that you get all of your required nutrients.

Hence my position: There are no good or bad foods…there is just food.

John