Is tasty food always unhealthy?

By Mikayla and Olivia

How to define healthy:

The Oxford Dictionary defines health as being in a good physical or mental condition; in good health. It can also be associated with appetite and appearance. Health is very important in life. Many people believe that being healthy requires special diets and gym equipment, but in actual fact no extra expenses are necessary to live a healthy lifestyle.

Good food does not mean a sugar overload. It can be described as nutritious and good quality. People have varying views as to what makes good food. The palate and food that appeals to people varies with age and lifestyle. Students that are younger generally enjoy food that they feel “tastes nice” this is because they are not as experienced with the varieties of foods that are available to them, and are only just beginning to discover new flavours and meals. Interviewing a Year 8 student, we found out that while taste is a primary factor on deciding what to eat, ‘nutritional value’ has an impact.  As well, they value “high quality” food. Likewise even students in Year 7 believe that good food should taste pleasant, be filled with flavours, and be balanced with as many food groups represented as possible. This information raises the question: is good food always healthy?

When students in Year 9 were asked for their opinion on the matter, they all had fairly different views to put forward. The first student interviewed defined good food as “food that makes you feel good in your body and mind” which suggests that the older you get, the food choices you make are more important to your health. Furthermore moving into adulthood, the foods we eat become more sophisticated such as grains, seeds and wholemeal wheat instead of white bread, rice and flour and sweeter choices.

There are many recipes that are healthy and taste good. In order to keep blood sugar levels up and have the correct balance of sugar in the diet, eating a whole packet of sweets is not the correct way. A perfect substitute for sweets and chocolate is fruit, containing natural sugar which gives energy.

Some desserts can be marked as healthy even though they are sweet. The picture on the left is an example of this is: This dessert (Chocolate and Berry mousse) only contains two teaspoons of sugar and 75 grams of dark chocolate meaning that it is a perfect dessert because it contains an energy boost and is healthy.

What are the effects of unhealthy eating?

Eating unhealthy foods that are high in sugars and calories but low in nutrients can have negative impacts on a person’s health. Eating healthily can help a person to stay lean and fit.

It is important not to exceed the advised daily sugar intake.

Daily sugar amounts:

  • For men: 37.5 grams a day, which is the equivalent of 9 teaspoons.
  • For women: 25 grams a day which is the equivalent of 6 teaspoons.
  • For children aged 4 – 6: 19 grams which is the equivalent of 5 teaspoons.
  • For children aged 7 – 10: 24 grams which is the equivalent of 6 teaspoons.

Over a period of time, eating unhealthy foods can cause weight gain, bloating and increase the risk of developing heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and certain cancers. Nutrients are crucial for the body to function properly because they give the body energy, and they are essential for many of the body’s organ systems to function properly. Nutrients help build strong bones, muscles and tendons. They also help regulate certain bodily processes, such as blood pressure and cholesterol eating unhealthy foods means that the body cannot take in these nutrients. 

When attempting to be healthy, most people focus on the food aspect but to be healthy there are many factors that contribute, such as exercise and what you drink, too. People don’t usually think about the vast amounts of sugar that are contained in the drinks that we consume all too regularly. Some examples of the surprisingly unhealthy drinks we drink are: rice milk as it is essentially just starchy water; smoothies as when they are shop bought they include added sugar, protein powders, juice and sometimes even ice cream (a healthy smoothie is best made at home); vitamin water with its large amounts of calories; ice tea which is filled with sugar, with no fat, fibre, or protein.

Overall, it is important to have a balanced diet but from time to time it is perfectly acceptable to eat a little portion of sweets or a chocolate bar and to help monitor sugar intake and levels there are many free apps that are available to download. To reflect, it is evident that people of all ages and lifestyles believe this to different extents.