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Are You Clean? Dirty? Maybe Somewhere in Between?

Let’s Talk About “Healthy Eating”

Posted by Sean_Seaberg - August 2nd, 2012

I'll be first person to talk about all the healthy options there are when it comes to low-no fat products and alternatives to unhealthier foods, but I'm also not afraid to brownbag a quart or more of some locally made chocolate from Shaw farm dairy inc in Dracut, Mass. You have to know what health is before you can understand what is unhealthy. So here we are once again my friends and critics.

Calorie- The energy needed to increase the temperature of a given mass of water by 1 °C at atmospheric pressure depends on the starting temperature and is difficult to measure precisely.

So most of us who are in the fitness industry have heard the term 'eating clean'. You may have even heard people ask questions like 'what are dirty foods?' or ask their trusted health counterpart ' Is this a dirty food?' about something they weren't sure if they should eat or not. This is a term that has been talked about and thrown around for a while now and it's just that, a TERM. While the term itself has no direct objective definition or meaning it implies that something is unhealthy. This may not seem like a real gasper in terms of fitness or nutrition terms, but it is somewhat asinine at times considering the evidence. 


Foods may be calorie dense or nutrient dense one way or another, but in general most food that we consume shouldn't necessarily be looked at in terms of good or bad. Anything that can keep me alive is pretty good in my eyes. Some people ask questions like 'Will this make me fat?' which some people willingly and hastily answer yes or no without considering the factors behind the implied question. Will that greasy cheeseburger covered in onion rings, mayo, and BBQ sauce surrounded by even greasier french fries make you fat? Well if you eat enough of them it will. The problem with questions like this is they are usually coming from the ill informed.

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The point I am poking at here is that people should be focusing on the actual important information rather than the arbitrary questions surrounding the actual foods. People should be learning from trainers, doctors, and dieticians that calories are your overall concern, not simply just the types of foods you are consuming.

American society specifically have a tendency to hyperfocus on certain things and items. Whether it be Chic-Fil-A, zombies, or bacon I think we all know what I mean here right? The questions should be aimed at the individual who is eating the food rather than the food itself. A cheeseburger isn't a clean or dirty food. Does it have potential to be unhealthy? Of course. Cook that sucker up with some trans-fats and now we are looking at an unhealthy item for anyone. Take away the trans-fats and you have a good old fashioned burger. People shouldn't be afraid of food at all and clearly they aren't here in America, but people often get confused when it comes to the facts.. People should be afraid of not knowing what is or isn't healthy under any circumstance.

Macro Nutrient- A nutrient required in large amounts for the normal growth and development of an organism.

If you eat more calories than your body burns, that can get unhealthy. This goes especially for those who don't exercise on a regular basis. If you are able to stay within a healthy bodyfat range and eat what you want that is fine, clean or dirty. There are way more factors than meets the eye here when we are talking about this topic. Exercise and individual health history will be major factors. Are you getting enough? Do you have a family history of diabetes? While it is great for people to get in the habit of focusing on the 5 key foods (meats,nuts,eggs, fruits, vegetables) you do not by any means have to be limited to just those foods to be healthy and fit. 


Another factor that goes a step beyond just knowing your daily RMR (Resting Metabolic Rate-How many calories your body burns while resting), is knowing what your macro-nutrients (Proteins/Carbs/Fats) look like. This goes a step beyond just knowing calories and starts to help you pinpoint exactly what you are consuming and how it may effect your body composition in detail. I call these the details of nutrition. Is it necessary to count the calories in every cookie you consume? Well that depends on whether or not you are interested in knowing what you may look like later in the week. While it may come across as very type-A and strict in habit to count calories it is the most surefire way to get the job done when it comes to accurately gaining or losing lbs.

I tend to find that after a month or two of consistently counting calories most people can eye things out a bit anyways. So if you take a couple months to get serious it will pay off most likely for the rest of your life. Food is food. From what we can tell the foods that definitively can be labeled as something that is bad for health is hydrogenated oils which have become popular over the past few decades, but have since been fought back by a number of healthy trends in todays society.

Is sugar bad? Well if you are going to ask that you have to ask yourself - is fat bad? Are certain amino acids bad? Well one thing my mother always said to me growing up that stuck and seemed to make sense was 'All things in moderation'. Now more than ever this statement holds true and tested. It's not about staying away from that dirty dirty donut. It's about knowing what you can manage. Knowing your own limits and practicing healthy habits that will carry over into your future lifestyle. Eating cake 2-9 times a week, even if it fits into your calories, may not be very well for your body and self respect, so you may want to consider how much sugar you are having when you ask the questions about sugars being bad rather than trying to simplify something that can be a little more complex. 


Making knowledge and continued education about the one thing you truly have in this life...a human body, is one of the best mental investments you can make. Eating is one of the most basic functions of survival in mammals, so it would make sense that learning about the whole process would carry over to the rest of your life quite nicely. Labeling food as clean or dirty really tends to muck up the whole education process in general. We would all do ourselves a dis-service to brush aside all this easily accessible information just for some quick terminology that most likely came from people trying to simplify topics that are already pretty simple when it comes down to the math and science.

Trans fats (or trans fatty acids)- are created in an industrial process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid.  Another name for trans fats is “partially hydrogenated oils."  Look for them on the ingredient list on food packages.

Next time you want to label a food good or bad take a look at the label and read through the macros and ingredients for yourself. Chances are if you remember anything from this blog you will know what to look for that counts good or bad...clean or dirty. Keep it clean everyone and stayed tuned in ;)



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