When it comes to your diet, you can do whatever you want. If you want to look and feel great in practice, then there are some caveats to this. You can’t treat yourself to a dozen doughnuts every day and hope to achieve your dream body. So when it comes to your diet, one of the most important things to consider is something I call opportunity cost.
Opportunity cost is “the loss of potential gain from other alternatives when one alternative is chosen.” This term comes up in micro-economics, but we can apply the idea to our food as well.
Soda, fruits, vegetables, pancakes, chicken, steak, and doughnuts and everything else falls into these categories. Our first category will be the calorie dense foods.
Calorie dense foods are those foods that pack a large amount of calories in a small amount of space. Usually, junk foods are calorie dense. But even foods like coconut oil and peanut butter fall into the category, too. At any rate, calorie dense foods usually don’t offer much in the way of nutrients for you. You will be hard pressed to find a doughnut with Vitamin C in it, for example.
For our next food type, we have the nutrient dense foods. You know what these are. They’re your green vegetables, your fruits, and all the stuff your parents said you should eat to be big and strong. Nutrient dense foods are great. They give you vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
Why is that important?
There are a lot of reasons. To keep it simple, having nutrients and fiber keeps you from going mad with hunger.
You can even test this yourself. Run an experiment where you eat three doughnuts one day and then another day try eating three apples. Doughnut day will definitely be easier to accomplish, and you will be hungry again shortly after. As for the apples, you might run into some trouble trying to eat three apples in a sitting. And that is a good thing.
So if we look at our example foods—the apple and the doughnut—they both have calories and a lot of carbs. The doughnut throws a decent amount of fat into the mix, too. Eating the doughnut before the apple will come at a cost. If you get the majority of your carbohydrates and fats from doughnuts, where would you get your nutrients from?
The opportunity cost comes at the price of food that will keep you full and healthy. So with this knowledge, it becomes a balancing act. Eat enough to give you the nutrients you need and keep you full; eat few calorie dense junk foods so that you can still eat a good portion of your daily needs from nutrient dense foods.
This is just a cursory glance at what flexible dieting has to offer. For a more in-depth look, check out Flexible Dieting 101. It’s a video and E-Book course. In it, you will learn everything you need to know to achieve your dietary autonomy.
You’ll learn more about opportunity cost. You will also learn the importance of dietary fiber. Not to mention how and why each macronutrient functions the way it does. And you’ll learn how to calculate your own macros for your fat loss goals.