Comparing foods – my opinion

Something which has become a trend on instagram lately is all the comparison photos, for example a bowl of rice vs a bowl of cauliflower rice. A handful of berries vs. a handful of candy. A spoon of peanut butter or a handful of nuts etc etc

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I can understand that these comparisons maybe helpful to some people for example those who have no idea about portion sizes or just how much calories are in some types of food. But they may also be extremely triggering for those who are far too aware of those facts, who know that candy has more sugar and calories than berries but decides to eat candy once or twice a week anyway because they genuinely like candy… and then they see a comparison post like that and maybe begin to think twice about eating candy. Or someone who already knows the calories in food or has an unhealthy relationship with food and just wants to find balance, for those people the comparison photos can do alot more harm than good. My feelings are mutual on them, i see both the good and bad in them and they don’t personally trigger or bother me, but i do worry their effect on those who have an unhealthy relationship with food.

And the thing i dislike about the comparison photos is that you are inevitbly saying one is better than the other… whether its that one has less calories, less fat, less carbs or more protein… the comparison is showing that the one with less calories is better. Of course there are a few online accounts who are very good at being clear that low calorie is not the best and that even if its a comparison, you have to think about the whole picture and not just the single food item. So that even if a food has more calories or fat or carbs doesn’t mean it is a worse food item.

And this is the thing about food comparisons which i don’t like is that you can’t just compare two food items and say that one is better than the other….  you need a context and a group of people or an individual which the food would be better or worse for. It’s like me picking up a banana and a handful of peanuts saying “the banana is better for you”…. that isn’t true and i can’t make a statement like that. I mean if you are allergic to peanuts then that statement would be true, but otherwise it doesn’t have to be. If you want a quick source of energy or a higher carb snack then the banana would be better for you, but if you are more sensitive to sugar or want to feel full quicker or just want a higher calorie snack then the handful of nuts would be better.

If a food is “better or worse” for you is very individual and depends on the context of when the food will be eaten, for example eating oatmeal before bed is better than eating sugar sweetened chocolate, not due to calories, but because the oatmeal is a complex carb which can stimulate the release of serotonin which helps you feel more relaxed not to mention it is more filling so you won’t wake up hungry, compared to the sugar sweetened chocolate where the sugar will give you energy and you won’t feel full unless you eat a huge amount as well as the sugar before bed won’t be good for your teeth. So there you have some “actual comparisons” and things to think about.

See the whole picture and know what is best for YOU. Just because a food has more calories or more fat than another food doesn’t make it worse. I mean if that was the case people would just be living on lettuce and cucumber, but i should inform you that you would be getting very little nutrients and lacking ALOT if your diet was just made up of low calorie foods! Your body needs calories, you body needs protein, fat and carbs as well as fiber and all the vitamins and minerals. Don’t compare food, instead eat balanced. I mean why not eat both berries and candy at the same time, or why not eat both regular potatoe and sweet potato, or why not put some chocolate ontop of your oatmeal ? 🙂 It’s not one or the other!

This is my opinion on the comparison food photos, and i wanted to remind you all not to compare food, it is not that simple! I also plan on writing a post about comparing vegan food with non vegan food as i see alot of that and it really isn’t that simple.

If you have seen these types of photos, what do you think of them? Helpful or hurtful?

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. I can`t really see that comparison photos like this serve a purpose unless someone is absolutely clueless when it comes to making food choices – like it could point out to someone that having say a sandwich is better for you nutritionally than a chocolate bar, but like you say – these photos don`t allow for context. I don`t like the idea that they promote the thinking of “good” and “bad” food, when in reality there is no such thing. I wish society could move away from this labelling and promote food for what it is and encourage a healthy attitude towards ALL foods instead! If more people could think this way I`m sure the prevalence of EDs would fall


  2. purrpale says:

    I’ve seen a couple of these recently and I absolutely hated them! I am kinda recovered from an ED so seeing these kinda upset me a little. I used to love sweets and I’m trying to put them back into my diet because I need to learn to not shy away from certain food types and seeing the photos (especially sweet related ones) makes me feel like I should just not eat them and eat the less calorie dense foods to be “safe”. I can imagine others feel the same too! x


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