When a less nutritious food might actually be a good choice

There is a tendency, in some cases a slight obsession, these days to get caught up with the nutritional value of a food above all else.

At a workshop Jodie and I delivered, the question arose regarding added sugar and sweeteners as being something best to avoid in snacks and how isn’t one is best to always choose the more “natural” food.

Well, like with almost everything in nutrition, not always…

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I’m going to use one participants experience as an example. Let’s call him Bob. Bob is a farmer and works in the fields all day, when he gets home in the late afternoon, he’s starving and usually goes for the easiest thing such as sweets biscuits, when really he’d prefer something more nutritious. But he’s too hungry to think straight and he needs to eat then and there, he also tends to over-eat at dinner and often feels too full.

I asked Bob what he thought he could do differently to avoid being so hungry when he walked in the door. Bod said he’d thought about taking muesli bars in the tractor with him but said to me “aren’t they full of rubbish, sugar and additives?”

Regardless of the actual ingredients, we discussed how if Bob ate a muesli bar or two, perhaps he wouldn’t be so starving when he came home and then he’d be much more likely to make a nourishing snack rather than inhaling a few sweet biscuits and then over-eating at dinner. Allowing the convenient pre-packaged snack might afford Bob better eating habits in the afternoon. The overall effect being a positive one, not only physically by mentally too as Bob often feels guilty for eating the sweet biscuits and over-eating at dinner.

Now of course, not all muesli bars are full of sugar and additives, some are perfectly nutritious, but I think you get my point. If you really want to be wholistic, then you need to look at whole picture, not just the food in isolation. If you find yourself inclined to judge others for a particular food choice, try and take a moment to remember we usually don’t know what the full picture looks like for other people.

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