Greggs- a healthy diet ?

This pic has been doing the rounds as of yesterday, some of you may have come across it.


It seems to have divided many fit pros on whether it is a good thing and what message does it promote.


Is this a healthy sample diet?


Like any balanced view the term context comes into play. If you are one of those people who happens to eat out a lot of the time and shops at Greggs, then changing to these foods could definitely help you lose weight and be a bit healthier.


In reality how many people who go to Greggs on a regular basis are interested in making daily health seeking decisions. Probably not many.


How many watch portions, count calories, make vegetables a priority?


And here is the issue.


If you stick to this calorie controlled plan you will lose weight.  Great if you are a fitpro and understand things like macros and calories.


For the average person this won’t work at all. We need to look at things like behaviour change, habits and controlling our environment.


The major downfall of when people think they are eating healthy or making good choices is that:


 – they under estimate calories in “healthy” food and they often believe that choosing healthy foods are the most important thing for weight loss.


Neither of which are true.


A study in the British Medical Journal looked at this exact point.


They observed a few thousand people who ate out at McDonald’s, Burger King, Subway, Wendy’s, KFC, Dunkin’ Donuts.


The purpose was to assess people’s estimation of calorie consumption when eating out at fast food restaurants.


The results were not surprising at all – the people who ate out at Subway underestimated the calorie consumption by 20-25% on average.


And why is this?


Because “healthy foods don’t have as many calories as junk food. Or so they believed.


Added to this how much more likely is someone to reward themselves with an extra treat like a cookie for dessert since they have made a healthier lunch choice.


The end result is the total calories for the meal could be higher than having a so called bad choice. Repeat this pattern over an extended period and we could predict weight gain and not loss.


So personally I don’t think it sends a great message to people trying to lose weight by following these fast food diet plans.


Yes, you can create a calorie deficit if you choose wisely. But you are placing yourself in an environment that relies on willpower and I find it hard to believe that anyone would say a salad tastes better than a sausage roll or donut.


All it takes is one bad moment of indecision and you are in an environment of poor choices.


I have heard so many people saying I am confused, what is the truth, who should I follow and trust.


It’s very difficult to answer since even the experts in the fitness profession are divided in this.


To bring things to a close. For weight loss and health up to a certain point energy balance is the most important thing.


But I for one see a wolf in sheep’s clothing with these diets and would look beyond the calorie content of these diets.


A diet based on plenty of vegetables, quality protein and fats has been shown to promote health and protect against CVD risk.


If you do not want to rely on stringent meal plans or calorie counting controlling environment and developing behaviours to making optimal decisions is key to success in my opinion.

Grant Koch