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why we'll never say well done if all you eat is kale

2 minReading time

NO snaps for Kale.

Believe it or not, there is no quick-fix for weight loss. If you want to see lasting change, it’s highly unlikely it will happen overnight. And if you do find something that works overnight, it’s unlikely it will last.

Sorry for the depressing news folks, just keeping it real.

We get innumerous complaints on a daily basis from people who are upset that their meal-rating isn’t an A when all they’ve tracked is kale (or any other A-rated food). They don’t understand that only tracking kale (or similar) all day isn’t healthy.

That’s right. Isn’t.

The thing is, what makes a food healthy and what makes a meal healthy are two different things.

A food is healthy when it’s low in sugar and salt, and contains a substantial amount of at least one of the nutrients the body needs, such as iron, fiber or vitamins.

A meal is healthy when it’s low in sugar, salt, and empty calories (calories without nutritional benefit), and contains a healthy balance of most of the nutrients necessary for the body.

The problem with eating only one type of food is that you only get the nutrients that one food provides. You’re not getting enough of all the other nutrients. So, if for example, you’re eating kale for breakfast, you’re getting plenty of fiber, iron, and vitamins A and C, but very little carb, fat or protein. You’re going to be hungry and pretty low on energy.

This is why we need variety. We need to make sure we cover the whole spectrum of nutrients – and unfortunately there is no single food that does that.

There is a positive to this though. It means that you can incorporate a food that doesn’t contain a good balance of nutrients into a meal(i.e. an unhealthy food), and still have that meal be healthy. You still have to watch your intake obviously, but you can eat it. It’s straightforward food math. You could have chicken, which is a good source of protein, but low in fiber and carbohydrates; fry it in coconut oil, which is very fatty (albeit a good source of healthy fat), but contains no protein or carbohydrates; and eat those with some sweet potato and broccoli, which are fibrous, full of healthy vitamins and unrefined carbohydrates but don’t contain fat or protein. Alone, all of these items would make for bad meals, but altogether they make a healthy, well-balanced meal.

Back to the kale for a second. Nutrients aside, if all you’re eating is kale, it’s unlikely that you’re eating the amount you’d actually need to stay energised all day, as it’s extremely low in calories. This means that you’re probably under-eating, which might help you drop unwanted pounds in the short-term, but will actually end up destroying your health long-term as it is lacks the energy to support the parts of your body that keep you strong and healthy, and make sure your organs, muscles, immune system and hormones are working as they should.

FYI, this isn’t a war on kale, but generally speaking, even if a food is good for you, it can’t be the only food in your diet. Some foods can help boost weight loss, but there is no magic weight loss food that will help you lose weight overnight.

Eat up, and eat well, your body will thank you!

/Femi, The Girl Who Hates Working Out

RELATED: #onefoodtwoways Kale

With Lifesum, tracking your healthy habits (and the not so healthy ones) becomes a breeze. We’ll help you pick the right food, and eat the right portion sizes, to reach your personal health goals.

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1 comment

  1. By Rhys Kiddle on Wed Oct 05 2016

    There’s definately a great deal to learn about this topic.
    I like all the points you made.