Is it still healthy if...

Is it still healthy if...

My caloric intake comes from consuming completely processed and "dirty" foods?

On the sidebar and FAQ, it says that weight loss is achieved by reducing calories, whether it's food from McDonald's or Whole Foods.

My question is, how healthy is that?

Let's say I'm a 5'9" 21 year old male. My whole life, I've only eaten grilled chicken, smoked salmon, whole wheat bread sandwiches with organic mayo, brown rice, organic beans, and organic eggs, etc, etc... but I eat 4,000 calories a day with a sedentary lifestyle.

Suddenly I want to lose weight, and I decide to track calories only. Let's say, for whatever reason, I suddenly have virtually no money, so I decide to eat food from the value menu at fast food joints.

Therefore, I change my meals to be: diet Pepsi, fried chicken sandwich, french fries, donuts, sausage biscuits, cookies, etc.

If I consume those things daily for 6 months, with my total intake equaling 1,600 calories... how healthy will I truly be? What if I continue eating those things for 2 years straight?

No fruits, no vegetables, no organic food, etc.

Not very. It's unlikely you'd be getting the right amounts of macronutrients and even more unlikely you'd be getting all the vitamins and minerals that you need. You'd probably feel pretty crappy, too. You wouldn't die (many people do eat nothing but processed foods) but you wouldn't be doing your body any favors. You'd likely be hungry, too, since 1600 calories of fast food isn't very filling.

And just so you know, organic food isn't really any healthier than non-organic food.

If you find yourself low on money, natural foods like chicken, potatoes, broccoli, beans, brown rice, etc are incredibly cheap.

Fast food is only your cheapest option if you place a high monetary value on your free time.

If you seriously can't afford veggies, visit a food drive before your intestines put you in the hospital.

You'd see weight loss as long as you were in a caloric deficit. As for health, have you seen Super Size Me?

You'd definitely lose weight. You'd probably be constipated a lot, have micronutrient deficiencies, and it wouldn't do any favors for your blood pressure and cholesterol. And you'd be hungrier than the same number of calories in vegetables and whole foods would leave you.

So you're right, it's not very healthy. Calorie balance is the sole determinant of weight loss, but health isn't just about weight.

Thanks for the great, in-depth answer! This is exactly what I was trying to find out. Thanks for taking the time to read and reply!

"And just so you know, organic food isn't really any healthier than non-organic food."

I feel like I should point out that this isn't the only reason to eat organic - it's also more sustainable and organic farming is far better for the environment; both the flora and fauna benefit, as well as for the soil.

Additionally, it has reduced or no chemicals used in growing, so whilst organic food may be no healthier in terms of nutritional value and vitamins, some prefer to reduce the amount of potentially harmful chemicals entering their bodies (though whether or not you believe their relation to diseases, cancers etc is up to you). Probably why those training heavily go for organic.

Pretty much everything in Super Size Me can be explained by the amount he ate.

To be fair, I think that was the point. I haven't seen the movie in a while, but he wasn't just saying "McDonalds is incredibly unhealthy" - he was saying that their methods of advertising promote 1) a lack of awareness of calorie/nutrient content of food and 2) poor portion control via the constant option to supersize meals.

You'd lose weight, yes, but you'd likely feel incredibly shitty and weak the majority of the time.