A note on ‘guilt free’ food

We’re going to cover off two topics today

  • Why guilt is something you shouldn’t have to feel around food
  • Why ‘guilt free’ foods are no different to other foods

The word ‘guilt’ does not belong in the same sentence as food

‘Guilt free.’ It’s an odd phrase when we use it to describe food. A quick search of my favorite food aggregate website, foodgawker, returned more than 1500 results when I searched for ‘guilt free.’

Guilt. Noun. The fact of having committed a specified or implied 
offense or crime.

Food is not a weapon. Honoring your hunger signals and respecting your body is not a crime. You are not committing an offense (on yourself or anyone else) by eating food that not only nourishes you, but also satisfies you.

It is not a sin nor is it naughty of you to eat food that you find pleasurable. We have evolved a specific sense of taste for a reason- we are hedonistic creatures. It is only natural that we tend to eat more of the food that we like the taste of, and less of the foods we don’t.

Guilt is not a necessary or helpful emotion to feel around food. It isn’t going to help you recognize your hunger and fullness signals and it won’t stop you from eating ‘bad’ foods- I’ve written about this in detail before. Doing your best to label food as ‘food’ rather than ‘good’ or ‘bad’ is going to be far more useful to you than feeling guilty because you ate a piece of cake.

Still a sometimes food

Guilt free foods are probably still going to be sometimes foods. Take these dreamy creamy pistachio bars that came up in my earlier search for ‘guilt free’ food on foodgawker.

The filling contains plenty of fat from avocados, cashews and coconut butter. The base contains dates and more nuts.

We could argue the health benefits from some of the ingredients justify their use in this dessert- but then again can we?

Dessert simply refers to the sweet course eaten after a main meal. Dessert and other sometimes foods aren’t meant to make up the majority of our daily intake- that is why we call them sometimes foods. Everyday foods on the other hand are meant to make up the majority of the food you eat in a day because they are highly nutritious and will provide our bodies with everything they need to function at their best. There are three main meals (and snacks, if you like eating them) that you can fill with everyday foods to get all the nutrients you need. You don’t have to make your dessert ‘healthy’ to squeeze in extra nutrients.

Eating a sometimes food made from avocado and coconut butter also does not make you more virtuous than the person who eats a slice made from flour, butter and sugar. A sometimes food made from coconut butter is not better or worse than one made with cow’s butter or margarine.

So instead of eating the most ‘guilt free’ foods, eat what you have a preference for. For some people, they will enjoy the taste of a slice made from coconut oil and avocados and others will prefer theirs with butter and sugar. One is not better than the other and neither should make you feel guilty for eating them!


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