Good vs. Bad Foods and the Calorie Deficit

If you’ve read my last few blog posts you will by now know that to lose body fat you need to hit a calorie deficit of around 20% by either reducing your calories in increasing your calories out or a mixture of both.

So, where does the notion of healthy and unhealthy foods come from?  If you only need to eat a certain number of calories a day to get results can those calories come from anything at all?

As with most things there are simplistic and less simplistic answers to the this.

Simple answer. Yes.

If you are currently overweight with a diet full of processed foods and you do very little activity then simply reducing the number of calories you consume and creating a deficit will work.  How you make up those calories at this point isn’t really relevant.

Yet once you get used to eating in a calorie deficit and perhaps exercising regularly perhaps you will want to start looking at what you eat to make up those calories.


This is because there are lots of benefits of eating less processed food.

This ISN’T because the calories in a banana are different or better than the calories in a KitKat (in fact the calories in a two finger KitKat are roughly the same as a large banana).

So a 1,000 calories of burger, chips and cake is the same as a 1,000 calories of chicken, salad and fruit but you might feel better eating more of the later as part of that 1,000 calories.

The thing is (and this makes me sad because I’m quite partial to junk food generally) eating more unprocessed foods can mean:

  • You have better energy levels and fewer slumps throughout the day
  • You feel less fatigued / bloated after meals
  • You can eat bigger meals (500 calories of chicken and veg tends to be a bigger portion than 500 calories worth of cake)
  • You feel more satisfied after meals
  • Your body composition can change for the better (and remember t’s not all about weight – it’s about how you feel overall)

So …

I’m not advocating living off McDonalds to get that calorie deficit.

I am saying you don’t need to eat ‘clean’ to do it.

You just need to be sensible.  If you eat less junk food you will probably feel better and notice positive changes.  If some of your calories come from processed food though it isn’t the end of the world.

Note, I’ve not even mentioned Macros here.  For some tracking their Macro splits is useful, necessary even – but if you are reading this and thinking about simply switching from ready meals to home cooked food, it’s not the stage where you really need to worry about this.

Ultimately – If you currently live of takeaways then drastically changing that isn’t likely to be sustainable.  Reducing the portion sizes (and so the calories) is more manageable.  Once that’s a habit you can start to make more changes and look at swapping some of the takeaways out.

Small sensible changes that fit into your life will always work better than drastic ‘eat clean’ diets.  Who wants to never have the foods they enjoy!

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