Which foods are more fattening? Are bananas the most fattening fruit? Nuts are healthy, but aren’t they really fattening? Is a pizza more fattening than a kebab?
I hate these questions. Not because they are stupid or because there is anything wrong with asking them. I just really despise the term ‘fattening’, especially when it is applied to a single item of food. No food is fattening.
Let me explain. I believe that on its own, eating any type of food will not make somebody gain fat. Each food should be considered within the context of a person’s overall diet.
In simple terms, fat gain is brought about by a surplus of energy within the body. Basically, the body has taken in more calories than it has been able to use up. These extra calories must go somewhere so some of them will be converted and then ultimately stored as body fat. Each food item you eat throughout the day contains a certain amount of calories, all of which will contribute to this calorie surplus and resulting fat gain.
Here is an example. Gary’s total calorie expenditure for a certain time period is 2500 calories. If he eats any less than this he loses weight, any more and he gains it. If Gary eats 2000 calories worth of burgers (a so called ‘fattening food’) he will not be gaining any fat since he has no excess calories to store. It should be noted that he would probably not be very healthy and at risk of a lot of illness/diseases with this diet. However if he was to eat 3000 calories worth of apples, over a period of time he may gain some fat as he will be more calories than he needs.
According to this, albeit rather simplified and unlikely scenario, apples are the more ‘fattening’ food of the two. You see it all comes down to what else has been eaten within the diet. If somebody has taken in the majority of their calories through healthy, nutritious foods that meet their daily vitamin/mineral requirements, then decides to have a slice of cake to take up the remainder of their calorie allowance. that cake is probably not going to make them fat. On the other hand, take a person who has eaten the whole of their daily calorie allowance through chips, sweets and pies, and then decides to eat a meal of chicken breast and broccoli. That final meal of chicken and broccoli was the healthiest thing they ate all day, but due to the rest of their food choices, it tipped them over their calorie allowance. You see, it comes down to the diet as a whole. Not one single item of food that can be labelled as ‘fattening’ or not.
Therefore, the more appropriate question should be one which asks about the foods that are healthier, more nutrient dense and provides the body with the vitamins and minerals it requires. The answer to that type of question is much simpler: natural, organic(where possible), whole foods that have been through as little processing as possible. The point of this article is to get people to look at their food intake as a whole, to be conscious of it in order to make better choices and to use moderation.