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You can eat “junk” food and still lose weight

Bags of snack food | Get Gritty Nutrition

Did you know you can eat “junk” food and still hit your weight loss goals? First off, let me debunk something: There is no such thing as “good” and “bad” foods, and in my opinion, we need to stop labeling foods as such. Here’s an example… granola is considered “good” or “healthy” food, right? Let’s compare “healthy” granola to a cereal that is considered “bad” or “unhealthy” and just so happens to be my favorite cereal: Cinnamon Toast Crunch!

One cup of Quaker Simply Granola

Calories: 403
Carbs: 76g
Fat: 10.5g
Protein: 10.5g

One cup of Cinnamon Toast Crunch

Calories: 170
Carbs: 24g
Fat: 3.5g
Protein: 1g

Are you shocked?! I know when I started my nutrition journey, I was surprised to find out what I was actually eating when I compared nutrition labels. The food industry loves to label foods as “healthy” when they may actually be calorically dense and not as nutritious as you think. The granola has more fiber (10.5g versus 2g) but it does include 1.5 grams of saturated fat whereas the Cinnamon Toast Crunch contains none. As far as vitamins and nutrients, they are pretty similar, and both contain whole grains.

I like to label foods as “nutrient dense” instead of “healthy” and “less nutrient dense” instead of “unhealthy.” If you are trying to lose weight, the biggest component you need to pay attention to is calories. You cannot lose fat if you are not in a calorie deficit. You can be in a calorie deficit whether you eat a salad for lunch or a bowl of ice cream. It’s all about moderation and the number of total calories you eat throughout the day. Of course, a salad is more nutrient dense than ice cream, but this doesn’t mean ice cream is off limits! As one of my favorite foods, I enjoy ice cream at least once per week because it makes me happy and helps me to stay on track with my nutrition plan long term. If I gave up all my favorite foods, I wouldn’t be able to keep it up for very long. Deprivation is not sustainable!

To conclude, you can eat granola or you can eat Cinnamon Toast Crunch, choose whichever option you like better! It’s also cool to eat a salad or ice cream or even pizza, beer or a Snicker’s bar. The primary key to weight loss is a calorie deficit! BUT it is important to eat whole foods that are nutritious as well.

If you’re interested in learning more about flexible eating to lose weight, check out my nutrition programs!

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