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3 Reasons Eating Quality Foods Is Important When Determining Being “Healthy”


By Heather Kiddoo, Owner-Partner, Live Active 563 Wellness & Nutrition

This statement is going to astonish you; you can eat junk food and still lose weight! Yep, you read it correctly! You can lose weight by eating junk food, crap, rubbish, and garbage.

In 2010, for a class project, Mark Haub restricted his caloric intake to 1,800 per day and 2/3 of his diet consisted of Twinkies, Nutty Bars, and Little Debbie Snack Cakes. His goal was to figure out if pure calorie counting is what matters most for weight loss as compared to the nutritional values of food. He shed 27 pounds in two months. His bad cholesterol went down by 20 percent, his good cholesterol increased by 20 percent, and his triglycerides decreased by 39 percent.

Teacher John Cisna lost 56 pounds in 90 days by eating only McDonalds. He restricted his calorie intake to 2,000 and exercised for 45 minutes 5 times per week.

Anthony Howard Crow, a 32-year-old trainer and YouTuber lost 32 pounds eating 2,000 calories of ice cream and 500 calories of protein per day. His body fat went down, along with his energy levels and muscle mass, but he was able to decrease his cholesterol levels and triglycerides.

All this can be deceiving because, in the above examples, these people bettered their health by improving a couple of major health markers and lowered body fat all by eating foods that are considered “bad.”

Do these studies indicate that food quality doesn’t matter when trying to achieve a state of health? not at all, and here’s three reasons why.

A calorie is just a unit of energy used to function; fuel per say. Just like the type of fuel we put in our cars’ tanks matters, the type of energy or fuel we put in our bodies matters, too. Eating fewer calories than you burn helps you lose body fat and weight despite the quality of the food. Because of this weight loss, your cholesterol and triglycerides could lower too. In addition to these short-term measurable changes, we must also be mindful of the long-term changes that come along with eating foods that are rich in essential vitamins and minerals that keep our body healthy and functioning optimally.

  1. Micronutrients — Harvard Medical School states that micronutrients have a major impact on health. In order to maintain the function of many of our bodies’ systems and stave off disease, we must have micronutrients in our diets. Some examples of foods rich in micronutrients are bananas, tomatoes, citrus fruits, peppers, broccoli, kiwi, sunflower seeds, almonds, legumes, peanuts, and potatoes with skin.
  2. Fiber — In addition to these micronutrients, your body needs fiber and phytochemicals to properly function. Often times, foods labeled as “bad’ are very low in fiber and phytochemicals and will not contribute to the functions of your digestive track or other systems.


    • Can lower blood pressure
    • Can lower cholesterol
    • Can aid in gut health
    • Can even lower your risk of cancer

  3. Phytochemicals
    • Stimulate the immune system
    • Block substances we eat, drink, and breathe from becoming carcinogens
    • Reduce the kind of inflammation that makes cancer growth more likely
    • Prevent DNA damage and help with DNA repair
    • Reduce the kind of oxidative damage to cells that can spark cancer
    • Slow the growth rate of cancer cells
    • Trigger damaged cells to commit suicide before they can reproduce
    • Help to regulate hormones

In addition, one of the biggest struggles in weight loss is that one often feels hungry. Eating foods that keep you feeling full increases your chance for success. Look for foods that are…

  • High in protein
  • High in fiber
  • High in water

The conclusion I draw is this: for fat loss, eating fewer calories than you burn is what matters most. But to be healthy, you must possess way more than low body fat and cholesterol levels. You need properly functioning systems fueled by foods that are high in fiber, phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals. If you are looking for a short-term weight loss fix, don’t care if you gain the weight back, and don’t care about longevity — go on the ice cream diet. If you want to live a long time, care about your muscle mass, energy levels, eat a balanced diet including unprocessed to minimally processed foods including protein sources, fruits, and vegetables 80 percent of the time.

If 20 percent of the time you want to eat like a maniac for the sake of sanity and adherence — then go for it. Always remember that balance
and consistency is what equals results.

To learn more about healthy eating and overall fitness, contact Heather Kiddoo, at heather@liveactive563.com.
Live Active 563 Wellness and Nutrition, 983 40th Ave., Bettendorf, IA.

Sources available upon request.