A friend of a friend said they made a “healthy choice” by going with the avocado toast. Sure, it’s healthy, but it’s also a load of carbs and fats. Here’s the deal: This friend of a friend wasn’t actually concerned about what was healthy, they wanted to change their weight and body composition. So, the fact that it is “healthy” no longer applied. Health and weight have overlap but they’re not the same thing, and they easily get mixed up.
You can feel as though you look better when you don’t weigh as much, but can be healthy, unhealthy, or somewhere in between. And on the other side, you could completely not care about your weight and also fall somewhere in that range of health.
Avocado toast is more than just a meal, it’s a difficult conversation about how we view and consume food. The avocado toast is about two things that are constantly contested and battled over: being aware of what you’re eating and living a life of moderation.
Being aware of what you’re eating is a big one. Count calories, don’t count calories. It’s more about this, no, that. It can be an exhaustive back and forth. Truth is: If you’re failing to manage your weight or body composition, then either your macros (proteins, carbs, and fats) are off or you’re eating too much or too little–depending on what you’re trying to achieve. More on that discussion in our post about intuitive eating for lean muscle.
Moderation is another headache. What does moderation even mean? It can be completely different from one person to the next. If we all were experts in moderation then why is obesity still a big problem? Are we beating the “it’s healthy” and “moderation” drums so much that it’s causing even more confusion about eating habits and food?
A recent story on Axios, titled “Fitness industry booms, but we’re not getting fitter,” points at nutrition and eating being to blame for obesity problems. The story goes on to report that between 2007 and 2017, adult obesity is up 17%, gym memberships are up 21%, and interestingly, stress levels—one of those most largely-blamed culprits behind weight issues—was down 23%. It’s possible those gym memberships aren’t being used, but it more squarely points to nutrition and eating being the true root of the problem. That’s the avocado toast, and the things similar to it. Have you ever heard someone say, “it has x in it, it’s healthy”? Let’s use eggs as an example for x. “It has eggs in it, it’s healthy!” No. Just because it has a healthy ingredient like eggs, or if the healthy ingredient is the main ingredient, or if the ingredient is organic, there are still other things that can make it either unhealthy, or counter-productive to goals like weight management.
Let’s make things even more difficult to follow (bare with us)…
The idea of the Keto diet has been big the last couple years, it was Paleo a couple years prior to that, and well before that it was Atkins, South Beach, and maybe a few other smaller ones. Remember that? Avocado toast isn’t Keto because of the carbs, but could be considered Paleo because “the caveman diet” could definitely have included avocados as a harvestable fruit, and bread is a grain. But Paleo isn’t as trendy now, and it’s all about Keto, right? Does that mean avocado toast is out, too? It doesn’t work with Atkins either because of the carbs, and Atkins was similar to Keto, just an older concept. Avocado toast must fall in no specific diet then. It’s just a healthy recipe that could go either way for people depending on how it’s prepared. Is that where the “moderation” approach comes in? Even more confused now? You should be.
Deconstructing the avocado toast
The bread. There are so many different types of bread, all of which can vary dramatically in calories and carbs. Are you having 50 calories and 7 grams of carbs or 200 calories and 30 grams of carbs? One slice or two?
The avocado. One medium avocado is 250 calories and has 23 grams of fat. How much of that globbed on the bread?
The lack of protein. One egg with avocado toast doesn’t cut it. Hell, two doesn’t even cut it. Seems like it could be a bit low on the protein for all the carbs and fat. And if you’re using whole eggs then you’re just increasing the (albeit healthy) fat even more.
The case for the custom-order or homemade avocado toast and second guessing eating decisions
How about a small egg scramble as the base, two super-thin, low-carb slices of bread with only a gentle smearing of avocado on each?
The macronutrient breakdown of everything that goes into your avocado toast could significantly vary from one to the other. It is a healthy decision, yes. There’s no question about that. But how you include it in you life could either work or work against your goals.
How much are you eating? How often? What’s actually in it? And where does this fall on the highly-subjective scale of “moderation?”
There’s nothing wrong with managing your weight and looking the way you want to look. There’s a clear trend starting to say that there is, but don’t let that trend fool you into thinking that all things healthy are going to help you hit your goals.
You can enjoy your avocado toast, but don’t let this healthy option fool you into thinking it will help you lose those last five pounds.
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