What Does “Healthy Food” Actually Mean?

In the past, we didn’t know how to be healthy for lack of information. Nowadays, we still have the same problem, but for the opposite reason: too much information from too many different sources. So, what does “health” actually mean?

No one knows what’s good or bad for our health anymore. One website tells us that coconut oil causes heart attacks and, the very next website, coconut oil fights cancer. The same goes for other ingredients, such as butter, gluten, coffee, tofu, meat, etc (even water!!); as well as complete macronutrient groups: carbs, fats, and proteins.

Who has our back? Who should we trust our health with? Should we hear what we want to hear because it feels good to have good excuses to back up our bad habits, or should we really pull our sleeves up and do what we need to do when it comes to our overall health – physical, mental, and emotional?

Heathy Foods

I’m not one to give people good excuses for their bad habits, just because I want to keep a client or a reader. I’m here to tell you as it is, as advanced technology exposes science, and by doing researches with real people to prove to myself – and others – that we are on the right track.

After reading this post, I hope that you will have more clarity when searching for an answer about nutrition – whether looking for an answer online or talking to someone.

What I found out with my research

946 people participated in my 6-year research about weight gain related to genetic predisposition to different illnesses and diseases. When I concluded my research, I was able to have a lot of questions answered about health that I had always wondered! I am sure that you may have the same questions that I did before; some of them being:

  • What does health actually mean?
  • Why does one diet work for someone and not someone else?
  • Why are there so many different information about the same things (ingredients/food groups/etc)? – Why do they contradict one another?
  • Do health rules change as we get older?

Well, I was able to get answers to all of these questions – and many more – from my research, and this is why I can’t wait to be done writing my books so that you too know the answers to all of those questions and also know what works for you!

Before I explain to you what health is, I think it is important for you to understand a little about the meaning of anatomy and physiology.

Anatomy Vs. Physiology

Here are the definitions of these 2 words, from the Merriam Webster dictionary:

  • Anatomy:
    • a branch of morphology that deals with the structure of organisms
    • a treatise on anatomical science or art
    • the art of separating the parts of an organism in order to ascertain their position, relations, structure, and function: dissection
    • obsolete: a body dissected or to be dissected
    • structural makeup especially of an organism or any of its parts
    • a separating or dividing into parts for detailed examination
  • Physiology:
    • a branch of biology that deals with the functions and activities of life or of living matter (such as organs, tissues, or cells) and of the physical and chemical phenomena involved
    • he organic processes and phenomena of an organism or any of its parts or of a particular bodily process

Both anatomy and physiology involve the study of the body structures of living beings, but they are 2 completely different things. Here is an easy example for you to understand their meanings:

  • Anatomy:
    • Studies the shape, size, and position of structures in the body
    • Deals with form and structure of body parts (cell, tissue, organ, or system)
    • It is a static study

“Anatomical Illustration Of The Muscular System”

  • Physiology:
    • Studies how the different structures of the body function independently and as a whole
    • Deals with the functions and processes the body part is involved in
    • It is a dynamic study

“The heart pumps faster during exercise, a physiological observation”

With this information, we come to the conclusion that even though people share the same anatomy, they have different physiologies.

Even though we are made up of the same things (for example, we all have 2 eyes, 1 heart, 1 stomach, 2 kidneys, tissues, many veins, cells, cell nucleus, etc), those “things” do NOT function in the same ways as everybody else’s. The way they function depends on many variables, such as their environment and genetic predisposition.

A heart is a heart, right? Anatomically, 2 hearts are the same “things” and have the same functions. But, do you think that heart number 1 and heart number 2 will function equally, considering that heart number 1 lives in an acidic environment full of toxins, inflammation, and stress, while heart number 2 lives in a physical, chemical, and emotional stress-free environment? Do you think heart number 1 will pump blood while someone exercises, the same way as heart number 2?

The answer is “no“. Because their environment and genetics, for example, affect their function.

This is why one diet may work for someone and not for someone else, and also why one ingredient may be healthy for your neighbor but not for you. This is why raw cabbage is unhealthy for people who have hypothyroidism, for example, but extremely healthy for people with gastrointestinal problems. (I will be sharing the healthy/unhealthy foods with you in the series of books that I’ve been writing, related to different diseases).

Where The Confusion Starts

The confusion starts because people think that “our bodies work the same way.”

This statement is true and false at the same time. The correct way to say this is: “Our bodies should work the same way.” But the truth is, they don’t.

You may be genetically predisposed to having a low thyroid, or you may have had surgery to remove your gallbladder, or you may have heart palpitations due to being electrocuted by lightning. Do you see the point that I’m trying to get to?

So do you think that if everyone will “eat an apple a day they will keep the doctors away”? Answer is, there are many variables to take into consideration!

But then someone that has hypothyroidism, for example, hears in the news from a very reputable magazine, or doctor, or even celebrity, that “raw cabbage will naturally heal their stomach ulcers” (which it very well can!), but this very person with hypothyroidism does not know that raw cabbage will cause more harm than good for his/her body because of the fact that the raw cabbage enzimes will attack their thyroid by making antibodies against their own thyroid, making them feel very ill and gain weight.

Did those people tell you a lie? No.
Was their information wrong? No.
But was their information incorrect considering someone who has hypothyroidism? Yes.

Do you see how this can get confusing?

So now, think about all of the health conditions that you and others may suffer from: their symptoms, diseases, illnesses, food sensitivities, food allergies, etc.
Now, think about all of the ingredients that we are exposed to: the ones that we consider healthy and unhealthy.
And now, think about all of the different diets and health advice that we hear from different sources: paleo diet, keto diet, vegan diet, intermittent fasting, 80/10/10, etc, etc, etc, etc…


How can someone NOT get confused, right?

Use Common Sense

Remeber that if one thing worked for everybody, someone out there would be a very rich person. So, when you hear about a health advice on the news, for example, or from a friend who was able to lose 50 pounds, or whatever it is, use common sense.

Take into consideration your health history, as well as any symptoms you may be having, and your genetic predisposition to different sickness, illness, and diseases.

One formula just does not work for all!

I mean, it’s not like we need to see someone stuff their face with McDonald’s food in a documentary movie for a whole month, to know that that person could become sick… We already know that, don’t we?

So, if someone in the “Morning Show” or Dr. Phil, or Dr. Oz, or from whatever source is showing you how to make a “healthy” macaroni and cheese by using spinach noodles, but loading it with olive oil, butter, and cheese (I actually saw this on TV, a couple of weeks ago, and that’s why I decided to write this blog post!), please be skeptical.

In fact, a good advice for you is, be skeptical about EVERY information about health that you gather. Take that information personally and apply it to your bio-individuality, lifestyle, health history, and physiology!

Who is funding the information?

A very important thing that you should take into consideration when learning information about health is: who is funding that information.

Screen Shot 2018-08-12 at 11.13.29 AM

Who is behind the scenes, funding the ingredient, or the company?

Unfortunately, too many companies and people are more worried about their own wealth than the communities’ health.

For example, if a candy store will fund or sponsor a TV show, that TV show will never say that eating candy from that candy store is bad for you… and every TV show, celebrity, public personality, and whatever and whoever, is funded nowadays. That’s HOW they become public, to begin with, from funds!

So, unless the health information is coming from an unfunded research with educational purposes, such as a non-profit research or documentary, for example,  BE SKEPTICAL about everything you hear when it comes to health.

Discover What Works For You

I hope that for now on, you will start taking your health and history into consideration every time you hear the word “health” and that you can start making decisions – on your own – about what is healthy for YOU!


Like I said before, I cannot wait to share my research findings with all of you, because my series of books will make it so much easier for people to understand what and why foods are actually considered healthy for one person and not for someone else.

Trust me, I’m working on putting my books together and you will be the first to know when it comes out!!

Much love and Personal Health to all of you!

Gabi Brandao
Disease Prevention Advocate, Blogger, Author, Speaker, Certified Holistic Health and Wellness Coach by the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, Board Certified by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners, and Licensed Medical Massage Practitioner by the Virginia Board of Nursing


41 comentários sobre “What Does “Healthy Food” Actually Mean?

  1. The Teaching Aunt disse:

    I noticed that the “healthy food” definition changes all the time. One time, fat is acceptable, and then it’s bad the next. I agree, that we should practise common sense when it comes to what’s healthy and what isn’t. Personally, I’d go for balance. Or better yet, I’d just bank on healthy eating rather than obsess on healthy food.

    • Gabriela Brandao disse:

      Balance is always a good plan! The whole problem nowadays is that many people are lost about what healthy eating actually means. It sounds like you know what that means to you, and that makes me very happy! Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me and keep it up! 🙂

  2. Nina disse:

    What “healthy food” means changes all the time. :S Common sense helps but not all the time. It is frustrating that you can’t come to a certain conclusion. I guess the best option is to eat local, unprocessed and avoid sugar….

  3. Joan Cajic disse:

    It’s reached a point where I now define what healthy food is for me and for myself, If I listen to what the media or other people say, it ends up being obsessive and literally unhealthy for me.

  4. Renata Feyen disse:

    When I was a young adult everyone in our home was overweight – me my mom and sis did exactly the same diet – I lost only 1 kilo – my mom lost 3 and my sis lost 5 in the same amount of time – so I learned that there is a difference 🙂

  5. mrsyoungade disse:

    This is a very good article, I totally agree with you that what works for others does not necessarily mean that it will work out for you as well. Before we attempt some diet that are trending we should consider first our bodies’ condition or consult a doctor or those with expertise. Thank you for sharing this!

  6. vballangel5 disse:

    I’ve noticed that a lot of websites flip-flop on what’s actually good for you and what’s bad for you, according to any of them everything is bad for you LOL. Thank you for taking the time and breaking it all down

  7. Cristina Pop disse:

    This is so true! I think that it’s always important to listen to your body, and find a balanced way of eating.

  8. Ally disse:

    This post brought back memories of my senior year of college as a physiology major. Its crazy how everyone does have the same anatomy but nobodies body functions the same. I remember writing a term paper on this!

  9. Sigrid Says Blog disse:

    What I know is, a lot of the healthy foods that are being advertised are not healthy at all. So now, what I advocate and try to practice is to consume everything in moderation.

  10. Emma Riley disse:

    Wow, this is such a great post. It so very interesting and informative that will help you understand to know yourself better. All advertisement said that food is healthy but definitely not. So for me to keep me healthy I always practice to live it moderation and balance.

  11. Amber disse:

    Interesting! I basically just eat what I want. I try to drink plenty of water to wash it all down. If my pants start to get tight, I lay off the chips for a bit.

  12. Jessica May disse:

    This is great information! We grow and raise a good portion of the food we consume so I feel pretty good about falling in the health category. There is always room for improvement though!

  13. Tamalyn disse:

    It makes absolute sense that the environment we live in combined with genetic predisposition makes us all different inside! So we must tailor our healthy diet with that in mind. I can’t wait to hear more about this from your research!

  14. healthyfitcouple.com disse:

    As a health coach, I believe we complicate our diets. It is actually quiet simple, eat more veggies, less processed foods, enjoy more fruits. less sodium. Shop less at grocery stores and more at farmers market. Balance is always key!

  15. Dalene Ekirapa disse:

    I’ve always had trouble trying to understand what healthy foods meant but obviously, many will relate that to more veges than meat dishes. But I try to balance the two and go with what works for me.

  16. Jeannine Dippenaar disse:

    I have to agree, our outlook on healthy food has changed a couple of times over the last couple of years. And it got too a point that we had no idea what we could or wanted to consume. So we went back to basics and now just using common sense.

  17. Kaella disse:

    Yes information is always changing on healthy living and health research and it can be so frustrating to follow sometimes. Plus, I love how one person hears something and thinks they need to tell everyone how to learn. Thank you for explaining how 2 bodies may be the same but don’t function the same… my family needs to know this.

    • Gabriela Brandao disse:

      I too, love it when I hear people “preach” about something only because that something worked for them! I’m glad I was able to explain things well enough. Thank you very much for your input. 🙂

  18. S, Dallas Prévost, MD with Age Right Doc disse:

    I am a retired physician who practiced Integrative Medicine (internist + medical acupuncturist + TCM). Now I’m an Anti-Aging and Wellness Consultant with a special interest in nutrigenomics. I agree with so much of your observations, many of which resonant with what I was taught when studying Traditional Oriental Medicine.

    I just shared this post to my Facebook page. I will review it again before sharing with its linked Facebook group with my own additional comments.

    I look forward to your future updates. Best wishes with your book.

  19. Olga Zak disse:

    This is a very good article. I have to agree, our outlook on healthy food has changed a couple of times over the last couple of years. It so very interesting and informative that will help you understand to know yourself better.

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