Fast FoodI got to thinking about this phrase recently. We definitely use it a lot, often towards the purpose of helping ourselves eat healthier. But then I started thinking about what this means and what it says to society given the abundance of fast food, junk food, and processed foods.

Clearly this phrase means something different for everyone. If your guilty pleasure is fast food, for example, moderation for some people might mean to eat it only once a month. For another person it might mean to indulge only once a week. And for another it might mean just once a day. So who is right? Who’s practicing moderation here? Frankly, everyone is in their own definition of the word. “Moderation” has no clear boundaries. By using this term are we really helping ourselves or only letting bad habits linger?

Then there is the word “everything.” I assume this encompasses all types of foods. Now some may disagree with me, but I think some edible items that are stocked in the grocery store should never be consumed at all. I might even dare to say they aren’t actually food but a concoction of chemicals or lab-altered fats. Depending on if you agree with me or not depends on how you interpret the “everything in moderation” tagline.

I realize there is no right or wrong answer here, but in my opinion health would be better served if we made some foods “never” foods. Nope, no moderation here folks. I mean never. I know that will never actually happen, but I’m going to put it out there for you to think about. Do you think there are foods (and in many cases I think we are using the word “food” very loosely) that should never be consumed?

Let me give you Danielle’s purely subjective list of “eat in moderation, “never eat” and “eat regularly” foods.

Eat in Moderation

  1. Anything with added sugar (ice cream, candy, chocolate, etc)
  2. Breads, pasta and other handmade bakery items
  3. Anything processed (ie you bought it in a package from somewhere in the middle of the grocery store)

Never Eat

  1. Most Fast
  2. Anything with trans fats
  3. Most brands of cereal
  4. Microwave popcorn
  5. Soda/Pop with high fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners
  6. Any artificial sweeteners except for Stevia

Eat Regularly

  1. Vegetables
  2. Fruit
  3. Nuts/seeds
  4. Legumes
  5. Organic tofu
  6. Grass-fed animal products (meat, dairy, eggs)
  7. Low-mercury, wild seafood (salmon, sardines, anchovies, mackerel)

I know a few of these are a tad ambiguous. All types of fast food? “Most” cereals? I could go into more detail about each of these, but I think you know what I am aiming for there. Is Chipotle ok? Probably. What about organic bran flakes? Sure, maybe once in awhile. It’s the processed, sugar and fat-laden foods that I’m talking about here. Use your judgment, listen to your gut (pun intended),and I think you will know the right answer.

So there you go. What do you think? Agree? Disagree? Others to add? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

About Danielle VenHuizen

Registered Dietitian, Certified LEAP Therapist