15% off £30

Code:SHOP
🏷️ 3 for 2 Mix & MatchOffersOffers Hub3 for 2 Mix & MatchOutletSave up to 1/2 PriceBuy one get one 1/2 priceGreat SavingsBuy 1 Get 1 Free1/2 PriceBetter than 1/2 priceIntroductory Offer3 for £3 Mix & MatchShort DatedBuy 6 for £15 Mix & MatchVitamins & SupplementsVitamins & Supplements HubVitamins & Supplements Shop AllCBDShop all CBDCBD OilCBD CapsulesCBD SprayCBD GummiesCollagen & SilicaHair, Skin & NailsShop all Hair, Skin & NailsHair GrowthFunctional MushroomsVitaminsShop all VitaminsMultivitaminsVitamin AVitamin BVitamin CVitamin DVitamin EVitamin KVitamin DrinksMineralsShop all MineralsMagnesiumIronZincCalciumSeleniumChromiumSupplementsShop all SupplementsFibre SupplementsAcidophilus & Friendly BacteriaPeppermint OilGrapeseed ExtractLecithinCollagen & SilicaOmega & Fish OilsPlant Sourced SupplementsSuperfood SupplementsArnicaApple CiderRaspberry KetonesAloe VeraChondroitin & MSMCo Enzyme Q10Evening Primrose OilGarlicGinkgo BilobaGlucosamineGlucomannanSeaweed, Kelps and Aquaceuticals5 HTPSaw palmettoCharcoalWomen's HealthShop all Women's HealthMenopauseMenstrual SupportUrinary Tract HealthPregnancy & ConceptionMen's HealthShop all Men's HealthProstate HealthChildren's HealthConditionShop all ConditionWater RetentionAllergy & Hay Fever CareAnxiety SupportBone & Muscle HealthMuscle Support & Joint PainBrain & Memory SupportWomen's HealthMen's HealthChildren's HealthPain ReliefCold & Immune SupportFatigueDigestive HealthHair, Skin & NailsHeart & CirculationLiver CareMood SupportSexual HealthSleep & RelaxationStress ReliefVisionHerbal & Licensed RemediesShop all Herbal & Licensed RemediesValerianSt John's WortRescue RemedyAgnus CastusAshwagandhaEchinaceaMilk ThistleDevil's ClawGinseng & GuaranaBlack CohoshHomeopathic & Flower RemediesShop all Homeopathic & Flower RemediesRescue RemedyTissue SaltsFlower RemediesHomeopathic RemediesAt-Home TestsVegan Vitamins & Supplements3 for 2 Mix & MatchOutletBuy 1 Get 1 FreeHolland & BarrettVitabioticsSolgarWeledaNew NordicBioglanBetterYouNatures AidGrass & Co.Bach Original Flower RemediesDairy FreeGluten FreeSesame Seed FreeCelery FreeCereal FreeCrustaceans FreeEgg FreeFish FreeKiwi FreeLupin FreeNew inFood & DrinkFood & Drink HubFood & Drink Shop AllVegan FoodHoney, Jams & SpreadsShop all Honey, Jams & SpreadsManuka HoneyHoneyJams & ChutneysNut ButtersSpreadsPateTeas & Hot BeveragesShop all Teas & Hot BeveragesTeaCoffee & Coffee SubstituteMushroom DrinksDried Fruit, Nuts & SeedsShop all Dried Fruit, Nuts & SeedsNutsDried FruitSeedsMixesSuperfoodsShop all SuperfoodsSuperfood PowdersMaca PowderGoji BerriesBaobabMoringa PowderFlaxseedSpirulinaChia SeedsSnacksShop all SnacksProtein BarsLow Calorie SnacksChocolate, Cakes & BiscuitsSavoury SnacksSweet SnacksSnack BarsCrisps & ChipsFlapjacksPopcornFood CupboardShop all Food CupboardHoney, Jams & SpreadsBreakfast CerealsSuperfoodsApple Cider VinegarCondiments & SaucesTinned FoodsRice, Pasta, Pulses & GrainsBreakfast CerealsShop all Breakfast CerealsCereals, Bran & FlakesGranolaMuesliOats & PorridgeBreakfast BarsDrinksShop all DrinksKombuchaNatural Energy DrinksJuicesSoft DrinksWaterAlcohol Free DrinksCookingShop all CookingCooking IngredientsApple Cider VinegarCondiments & SaucesSoya & Meat AlternativeSoup & Ready MealsRice, Pasta, Pulses & GrainsHerbs, Spices & SeasoningGravy & StockHome BakingShop all Home BakingBaking MixesBreadFlourSweeteners & Sugar AlternativesEgg SubstitutesDairy AlternativesShop all Dairy AlternativesOat, Rice & Hemp DrinksSoya DrinksNut DrinksCoconut DrinksNutritionally Complete Food3 for 2 Mix & MatchOutletBuy one get one 1/2 priceHolland & BarrettNaturyaHeath & HeatherPukkaGrenadeMeridianTwiningsBionaNakdManuka DoctorGluten FreeDairy FreeEgg FreeWheat FreeMilk FreeSulphites FreeCelery FreeKiwi FreeMustard FreeFish FreeNew inSports NutritionSports Nutrition HubSports Nutrition Shop AllProteinShop all ProteinClear ProteinWhey ProteinMass GainersVegan ProteinDiet ProteinCaseinBars, Drinks & SnacksShop all Bars, Drinks & SnacksEnergy BarsEnergy DrinksProtein BarsProtein ShakesProtein SnacksNutritionally Complete FoodMeal Replacement ShakesPre Workout & EnergyShop all Pre Workout & EnergyPre WorkoutAmino Energy DrinksAmino Energy PowdersIntra WorkoutKetoPost WorkoutAmino AcidsShop all Amino AcidsAmino Energy PowdersAmino Energy DrinksBCAAL-LysineGlutamineCarnitineArginineCreatineShop all CreatineCreatine PowderCreatine CapsulesSports SupplementsShop all Sports SupplementsTestosteroneSports CollagenRehydrationShop all RehydrationElectrolytesEnergy GelsVegan Sports NutritionShop all Vegan Sports NutritionVegan ProteinVegan Protein BarsVegan Pre Workout & EnergyVegan Amino AcidsVegan CreatineSports AccessoriesShop all Sports AccessoriesBottles & ShakersFitness EquipmentFitness GoalShop all Fitness GoalRecoveryMuscle & StrengthLean MuscleEnergy & EnduranceDiet & Weight LossSave up to 1/2 Price3 for 2 Mix & MatchGreat SavingsOptimum NutritionPE NutritionUSNGrenadeApplied NutritionPhDSiSFoodspringHuelYfoodDairy FreeGluten FreeSugar FreeCelery FreeCereal FreeCrustaceans FreeEgg FreeFish FreeKiwi FreeLupin FreeNew inBeautyBeauty HubNatural Beauty Shop AllAromatherapy & HomeShop all Aromatherapy & HomePure Essential OilsBlended Essential OilsBase & Carrier OilsHolisticSkincareShop all SkincarePremium SkincareFace CareBody CareSun CareTanning & BronzingEye CareLip CareFoot CareHand & Nail CareSkin AilmentsSkin OilsCBD BeautyHair Skin & NailsWashing & BathingShop all Washing & BathingShampoo & ConditionerBathing AccessoriesShower Gel & Body WashDeodorantDentalHand WashSoapBath Soak & OilBody ScrubBath Bombs & SaltsFeminine CareIncontinence SupportHair CareShop all Hair CareShampoo & ConditionerHair ColouringHair MasksHair Oil & SerumHair Spray, Gel & MousseHair AccessoriesMother & BabyShop all Mother & BabyBaby Skincare & ToiletriesElectrical WellnessSexual Wellness3 for 2 Mix & MatchOutletSave up to 1/2 PriceDr OrganicFaith in NatureWeledaNaturtintTisserandSukinMiaromaQ+AEthiqueSo EcoAlcohol FreeParaben FreeSLS FreeParfum FreePalm Oil FreeGluten FreeCelery FreeCereal FreeCrustaceans FreeEgg FreeNew inCBDWeight ManagementWeight Management HubWeight Management Shop AllFat Burners, Binders & Appetite SuppressantsShop all Fat Burners, Binders & Appetite SuppressantsFat BurnersFat BindersAppetite SuppressantsSlimming TabletsShakes & Weight Management ShotsShop all Shakes & Weight Management ShotsMeal Replacement ShakesDiet ProteinDiet Food & DrinkShop all Diet Food & DrinkDiet FoodLow Calorie SnacksSlimming TeaExercise SupportShop all Exercise SupportFitness EquipmentMeal Replacement ShakesDiet ProteinProtein Bars3 for 2 Mix & MatchSave up to 1/2 PriceGreat SavingsOptimum NutritionGrenadeHolland & BarrettPulsinUSNPhDEat WaterApplied NutritionNatures AidNew NordicDairy FreeGluten FreeSugar FreeWheat FreeNew inVeganHealth & WellnessShop all Health & WellnessJoints Bones & MusclesGut HealthHair Skin & NailsStress AnxietySleep & Relaxation3 for 2 Mix & MatchOutletSave up to 1/2 PriceHolland & BarrettVitabioticsWeledaDr OrganicSolgarNaturtintOptimum NutritionNew NordicHeath & HeatherBeurerDairy FreeGluten FreeParaben FreeSLS FreeParfum FreeAlcohol FreeWheat FreeSugar FreeCelery FreeCereal FreeNew inShop for your WellnessWomen's HealthMenstrual HealthMenopauseJoints, Bones & MusclesGut HealthHair, Skin & NailsImmunitySleep & RelaxationFood & DietChildren's HealthStress ReliefHealthy HeartEnergyLow Mood & DepressionConcentration & AlertnessEye HealthSexual HealthLearn about WellnessWomen's HealthPeriods & Cycle HealthMenopauseJoints, Bones & MusclesImmunityGut HealthFood & DietSports & FitnessSleep & RelaxationHair Skin & NailsAll articlesHealthFood & nutritionGut healthImmunityJoints, bones & musclesWomen's healthWellnessHair & skinMental wellbeingSeasonalSleep & relaxationSports nutritionRecipesAll recipesGluten freeLow sugarVeganDairy freePodcast
Selection of foods on table

Are there good foods and “bad” foods?

19 Dec 2023 • 3 min read

By Helena Thomas Harman, Nutritionist SSC

We often put foods into good and bad, but there are no bad foods and the idea of this can be damaging for our relationship with food. Categorising foods into good; raw, pure, fresh sustainable, and bad; calorific, junk food, processed can be influenced by the packaging, as well as accessible information through the media.1,2

We’re increasingly using social media as a source for nutrition and diet information, which has been found to often provide low quality, simplified or even incorrect advice3. As people’s interest in their diet and health increases, people need to have more access to correct and evidence-based information.

Cutting out certain food group’s because it’s deemed ‘bad’ isn’t good for your health

Many diets that are promoted as healthy or to aid weight loss involve restricting one particular food group or having a list of rules to follow.

Although being in a calorie deficit is necessary for weight loss, dieting has actually been linked with long-term weight gain instead. This is due to restrictive diets not leading to sustainable changes in overall diet; instead making life-long dietary changes should be focused on4.

Cutting out a certain food group can lead to nutrient deficiencies and may even be bad for your health long-term. For example, the Keto diet is a very low carbohydrate diet that’s been promoted for weight loss; however, this may lead to a low intake of vitamins, minerals, fibre (which can negatively impact our gut health) and also cause fatigue5. Following any kind of restrictive diet should only be done under the supervision of a healthcare professional.

The benefit of Plant Points

The American Gut Project found that participants who ate more than 30 different plants per week had more diverse friendly bacteria in their gut compared to those who only ate 10 a week6. You can find out more about the benefits of Plant Points here. Emerging research has shown that less diverse gut microbiomes may be linked to an increase in chronic health conditions such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, inflammation, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease7.

Plant-based foods are rich in vitamins and minerals, phytochemicals such as polyphenols, and prebiotics which provide a host of health benefits supporting our immune system and digestive health. Studies have also found plant-based diets to be linked with promoting a healthier weight and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease8.

Counting how many plant points you have is easy and encourages you to add more foods to your diet rather than restrict or cut out certain foods. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, beans, spices, herbs, tea and coffee all count towards your 30 plants a week.

Why “clean eating” is problematic 

Clean eating is a broadly used phrase for many diets- across social media platforms. However, there’s no clear definition of what ‘clean eating’ actually is, with some people advocating reduced consumption of processed foods, whereas others focus on restrictive diets that eliminate certain food groups (e.g. wheat and sugar)9. There’s a concern that ‘clean eating’ diets may lead to obsessive eating habits in some women (10) and may even mask eating disorders9. If you think you’re struggling with your relationship with food, don’t hesitate to reach out to Beat.

As the definition of clean eating is so varied, it’s hard to say what the impact on our gut health short or long term would be. One aspect that’s often encouraged in clean eating trends is reducing or avoiding the consumption of ultra processed foods. There’s been some animal research that suggests high intakes of these kinds of foods have negative effects on the gut microbiota and increased risk of inflammatory diseases, however more human research is needed11. More research is also needed into how restrictive diets may affect our gut microbiome.

The key thing to takeaway here is that it’s all about eating foods in moderation. Having a healthy diet throughout life is associated with a lower risk of diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer12.

Looking at our whole diet is vital in making sustainable healthy food changes that we can stick to long term, rather than focusing on a single food or food group4.

Are there any foods that should be avoided?

There are specific foods that should be limited due to connections with poor health. In the Western world it’s been shown that we’re generally consuming too much salt, sugar and certain fats that are negatively impacting our health. In fact, the World Health Organisation highlights that our dietary choices and lack of movement is now one of the biggest risks to our health12.

The intake of salt, sugar and fat in the UK is generally too high, due to a high intake of ultra-processed foods like baked goods, crisps, sugary cereals, and ready meals. There’s the need for people to make conscious choices to decrease intake, due to an increased risk of health concerns such as obesity and cardiovascular disease linked to an excessive intake of these nutrients13. Ultra-processed foods have been found to take up to 60% of daily energy intake in some countries, highlighting the importance of encouraging a move to more home cooked nutrient- dense meals14.

However, ultra-processed foods can still be enjoyed in small quantities as part of a healthy diet. Some ultra processed foods such as bread and baked beans are a staple in many UK households, in these cases swapping to more nutrient dense versions such as wholemeal/wholegrain bread or low salt/sugar baked beans can improve the nutritional quality of these foods16.

The link between your gut health and overall health

Our gut is home to over 100 trillion microbial cells, early-stage research has found that our gut microbiome may influence our digestion, immune system and mental wellbeing, therefore potentially playing a vital role in our overall health17.

Current research has shown that probiotics, a source of good bacteria found in our gut, have the potential to help conditions such as IBS and eczema18,19. Much more research is needed into looking at the benefits of probiotic supplements and individual strains of bacteria in humans; however, currently we know that increasing our intake of dietary fibre to support our gut health will be beneficial for our overall health20.

Myth or fact? 

'All carbs are bad for you’

Myth! Carbohydrate foods play an important role in a healthy diet as they’re needed to provide energy for every cell in our body, as well as being a source of fibre which is essential for gut health21.

‘Gluten is bad for everyone’s health’

Myth! Gluten free diets are essential for those with gluten intolerances or coeliac disease; however, there’s been an increase in people adopting these diets unnecessarily. There is a perception in the media that restricting gluten may be beneficial for health; however, this can lead to nutritional deficiencies in poorly planned diets and also unnecessary increased financial costs22.

‘Fresh fruit and veg is always better’

Another myth! Frozen vegetables can offer a more cost effective and accessible way to increase vegetable consumption, without decreasing the nutritional value23.r

Discover ways to support your gut health

Sources

1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7353191/
 
helena-thomas-harman

Helena Thomas-Harman

Author

Nutritionist

Joined Holland & Barrett: June 2021

First Class BSc (Hons) Applied Food and Nutrition

"

I have worked as a Nutritionist for H&B for two years now and really enjoy speaking to our customers devising personalised recommendations and giving lifestyle tips to improve overall wellbeing.

\n\n

I have been a vegetarian for 10 years and find the link between plant based diets and gut health really interesting. I also really enjoy having open conversations with women about menstrual health and menopause etc. keeping up to date with new, and very needed research in this area!

\n\n

In my spare time I love cooking and creating new recipes as well as growing my own vegetables and herbs where possible! I also enjoy being as active as possible playing netball, badminton, swimming, hiking and cycling.

\n"
  • Visa
  • MasterCard
  • PayPal
  • AmericanExpress
  • ApplePay
  • ClearPay
  • AliPay
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
Copyright © Holland & Barrett Retail Limited, 2023. All rights reserved. hollandandbarrett.com is a trading name of Holland & Barrett Retail Limited,. Registered office: Samuel Ryder House, Barling Way, Nuneaton, Warwickshire CV10 7RH. Registered in England: company no. 2758955. Registered VAT no. 211727395.