What is Food exactly?

Last week, I got into a “friendly” argument with a coworker. What was our argument  you say?

Is brownie a food? 

I know what you are thinking…. is this serious? Yes, it is very serious.

My department has been arguing about this for weeks now.  I didn’t want to put my two cents in but come on! I am a health and fitness guru! I had to chime  in. Here is what we got, two of my coworkers think brownies are a food and the other two think brownies aren’t a food. I think the latter. Brownies are not a food; brownies are a dessert and that difference is important.

In theory, anything can be a food.  Americans are known for eating junk food: processed foods full of excessive sodium, salts, and sugars. We eat crap that isn’t beneficial to our bodies or  well being. We call this junk food, but it is not really food. The artificial crap that we call food is hindering our health.

The Definition of Food

Before I could argue my point, I had to look up the definition of food. Merriam Webster defines food as :

a material consisting essentially of protein, carbohydrate, and fat used in the body of an organism to sustain growth, repair, and vital processes and to furnish energy. 


The biologic definition of food is

A form of nourishing substance that is consumed- A substance that provides nourishment.


Now that we know the definition, we can pick a side.  What do you pick? Is brownie a food? Before you pick, consider this- would you eat brownies everyday? Would you let your kid eat a brownie every day?


My Position and Why


Traditional Brownies 

I believe brownies are not food. I know brownies contain carbs, fats, and proteins. But what kind of fats and carbs are in brownies. Do brownies contain good fats or bad fats? Are the carbs complex or simple?

Traditional brownies do not contain healthy fats or carbs and contain little to no protein. They aren’t  nutrient dense so they cannot provide you with healthy nutrients to sustain growth and vitality. So therefore, traditional brownies cannot be food because they provide empty calories.

Healthy Brownies

Brownies can be made to be healthier, but that doesn’t mean they are healthy. If you look online, you can find many of healthier options for brownies: black bean brownies, sweet potato brownies, and protein powders to name a few. We are capable of reinventing recipes to make them healthier than its predecessor, but nothing will be healthier than vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and lean protein. Nothing.

The problem with calling desserts a food. 

I don’t have a beef with dessert I only have concerns. When we call desserts and junk foods food, we get confused. Millions of Americans don’t know what healthy means. Why? We keep changing the definition of food and it’s intended purpose. The purpose of food is to sustain life.   Does Junk food or desserts do that? No, they do not. These foods will crash-and-burn at the end.

Don’t get me wrong, I love desserts and I love snacks, but I don’t think they are food. I think, when we call desserts and processed foods (junk food) food subconsciously we think it is okay to consume them often. If we continue to think desserts are food, we will indulge every time.


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