Find Freedom with Food

by Dean McKillop 1872 views Nutrition

Find Freedom with Food

You can have your cake and eat it too…How many times have you read the opposite to the above statement? I know I’ve read it too many times to count. According to the plethora of Facebook fitness professionals these days on more than one occasion I have read that the following foods are bad:

Ice Cream Cake Sugar Lactose
Fruit Processed Food Eggs Gluten
Artificial Sweeteners Red Meat Bacon Fructose
White Potato / Bread / Rice Flour All Carbs All Fats

And no doubt you’ve read even more. So why are there so many ‘bad’ foods?

Well the reality is, there really are no foods we can truly label bad, other than trans fatty acids. It’s just the perception of why they are bad that makes people feel like they shouldn’t eat them.

So why is it that…
  • If a cake is made raw, flour free, gluten free and organic that it is deemed better for weight loss?
  • Why, if all fat makes us fat do people still suggest fish oil or label coconut oil as a magic potion?
  • If red meat is ‘bad ‘and yet someone is anaemic (low iron) should they still eat it?

The point of these questions is to show that unless we have context, how can we answer something accurately?

  • Is the flourless cake eaten within the person’s calorie limits or can they just eat it freely because it is ‘healthy’?
  • Are all fats actually bad or should we just focus on omitting the ones we truly know have negative health effect (trans fats)?
  • Is red meat really no good for us? Is it truly carcinogenic or was the study that found this just poorly written? In fact why didn’t they mention that the reference group used were otherwise unhealthy individuals? And why did they blame red meat when the study was predominantly focused on processed meats and not actual beef?

The reality is, in today’s society we are more focused on selling ideas and fear in the media than we are selling information.


Lets look at sugar as an example and why it is now being blamed for fat gain, obesity and diabetes.

It’s been labelled as toxic, fat creating and as addictive as cocaine. But is sugar really the problem or has the context of the studies on sugar been skewed? 

Now lets preface the following information by stating, we acknowledge that sugar yields no health benefits other than being fuel, and it has no vitamins and minerals either but is it really to blame for our societies current obesity epidemic or should we look at context?

In the past 40 years –
  1. Sugar consumption has gone UP
  2. Calorie consumption has gone UP
  3. Exercise and therefore calorie burn has gone DOWN
  4. None exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT – Thermogenesis refers to the creation of heat via the burning of fuel [calories]) has gone DOWN

So in a nutshell, we as a society are doing less while eating more.

Which is undeniably the best recipe for ensuring weight gain occurs. Worse yet, it’s not just any weight gain, it’s excessive fat gain.

So do we blame the food type for the weight gain and diabetes or is the quantity of calories consumed to blame for fat gain?

Of which fat gain then leads to obesity and obesity is a primary cause of diabetes.  

It’s a fair question isn’t it?

non-processed food

Now back to the cake… yes you can have your cake and eat it too, it just can’t be the major component of your dietary intake. Stick to the 80:20 rule of non processed, nutrient dense foods loaded with vitamins, minerals and fibre for 80% of your food but if you want to have a sneaky treat, a slice of cake or some BBQ sauce on your potato chips, just moderate its intake for the remaining 20% of your calories.

Still to this day the longest standing equation in human metabolism states that energy in = energy out. Therefore if we match the calories we consume, with the calories we burn, where those calories come from in essence does not matter, especially when the macronutrients (protein, fats, carbs) are maintained as well.

So before demonising food groups and labelling them as bad, we must consider the context of which they are eaten. 

No a piece of cake will not make you fat, but 10 pieces may.

Yes a raw vegan cheesecake is ‘healthy’ for you as a nutritious source of protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals and fibre but if its calories outweigh those we burn, it will still cause weight gain when eaten in the context of the entire days food.

So what does it all mean?

I say think less about what you eat and focus more on how much you eat instead. Focus on non-processed healthy meats, dairy, vegetables, grains and fruits but if you would like to factor in a small treat each day, go for it.

We have enough fear mongering in today’s society and food is not something we should fear, but instead embrace its enjoyment.

Remove the fear of food types and embrace the freedom of food choice! 

Dean McKillop

Exercise Scientist

I completed my Exercise Science Degree at the University of QLD and have worked in the fitness industry for over 8 years, including a short stint at the Brisbane Broncos in 2010 as a student. I also hold my Level 2 Strength and Conditioning Coach accreditation (ASCA) and have competed in 1 bodybuilding season, placing 2nd at the IFBB u85kg Nationals.

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