Fun is Fine, But it’s Not Food

There’s a big difference between nutrition and entertainment. Food is nourishing. It’s what we’re eating when we choose stuff that’s loaded with color and fiber, such as vegetables and beans, nuts, fruits, seeds, and whole grains. Fun, on the other hand, is nothing like food. Fun items (which we tend to call by interesting names like “junk food” or “fast food”) are made with products like white flour, white rice, corn syrup, corn starch, commodity oils (soy, corn, cottonseed) and, of course, sugar, which you find in practically everything that’s ultraprocessed.

There’s a reason you can eat a big bag of sour patch kids at the movies, and then go out for dinner afterward. Your brain knows it wasn’t nourished, and it’s still hungry!

I’m not saying you can never eat sweets, or anything from a conventional vending machine, or chips or cookies or froot loops or that kind of stuff. I’m just saying they do not nourish you. They entertain you. Fun is fine, but it’s not food.

There’s a place for entertainment in our diets, and it’s perfectly reasonable to eat treats now and then, as long as you make time to take walks and your blood sugars stay normal. But first make sure that you’re nourishing yourself. A major problem with the standard American diet is that we eat a whole bunch of stuff that actually entertains us, all under the mistaken impression that we are being nourished. Which is one reason why some people stay hungry all the time, and can’t figure out why.

Whenever you eat something that sticks to your ribs, and keeps you satisfied for a good long while, there’s a pretty good chance it was nourishing. But if you find yourself famished just an hour or two after you eat, it was probably entertainment. Trust your gut, and remember: fun is fine, but it’s not food.

4 thoughts on “Fun is Fine, But it’s Not Food

  1. Hi Roxanne I liked how you classify junk foods into the ‘junk’ category. As a consulting dietitian in Mumbai, India, I am of the same opinion because it is only when we are on a mindless trip of fun and excitement that we end up gorging on foods that are harmful to us. On the other hand, ‘mindful’ eating can make us aware of what we are eating and help us stay motivated to eat nutritious and wholesome foods.

    • Hi, Krupa, and thank you for reading YHIOYP! I agree with your approach wholeheartedly. It’s not the fact that we entertain ourselves with food from time to time, but rather the fact that, in many cases, we don’t realize that what we are eating is junk food. So we are under the mistaken impression that it is good for us. Stay in touch, RBS

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