There definitely seems to be a lot of people that believe that because a food is exotic it is healthy. BIG MISTAKE! In my experience posh food can be every bit as unhealthy as your average Iceland item. By the way in the last year or so Iceland have really stepped up their game in the health department.
I’ve seen many hundreds of food diaries in my day, and clients have been tucking away close to 1000+ calories from foods that they think are healthy. Because they are perceived to be high quality. For example an article by the Independent highlighted that a Bacon & Brie panini had more calories (624) than a McDonald’s Quarter Pounder (518). So if you had decided to pop into Pret for a snack rather than McDonald’s (because you were trying to be healthy) you would have ended up eating more calories and gaining weight!
The answer here is to start measuring what calories you are consuming. If you aren’t using a calorie-counting app such as myfitnesspal then you are just guessing whether your food choice is correct, and we are useless at estimating calories. We have way too many pre-conceived ideas of what is healthy and what isn’t, and posh food is definitely a blind-spot for most!
Another issue that is becoming increasingly common is people getting confused by food marketing, on my desk at the moment is a packet of Sweet Chilli & Lemon Rice Sticks. My girlfriend’s nan somehow got hold of about 400 packets of the stuff. Looking at their packaging you would think that they were the healthiest snack of all time. They claim to be a source of protein, high in fibre, and only 96 calories per pack.
Amazing right? Well …. let’s examine these claims. Each pack contains a grand total of 3.8g of protein which is pretty poor, particularly if you have a big “source of protein” sticker on you. The fibre content is even lamer, 2.4g per pack. Yes if you ate 100g of these rice stick things you would be eating 18.2g of protein, and 11.4g of fibre which are decent amounts, but you would also be eating 20g of fat and a grand total of 457 calories. In other words the marketing department has pulled the wool over your eyes here. Something that is pretty common in the food industry. Now I’m not saying you should replace all posh food with crisps, but it wouldn’t necessarily hurt!
At the end of the day, tracking your calories is the only way to take control over your diet. Give it a go, your knowledge will increase your waist will shrink. You’ll also be able to annoy all your friends by calorie counting their food when you all go to dinner.
Hope this helps
Matt “taste the difference” Smith
Matt Smith is the owner of Beer N Biceps. He has a degree in Sports Science, 10 years of experience working in the fitness industry, and has written for hundreds of fitness websites. He is a lover of good quality beer and believes that drinking in moderation can form part of a healthy lifestyle.