T Nation

Eating Unhealthy to Meet Calorie Goals


Is this a good idea?
For example say I eat 3,000-3,500 calories a day in order to bulk. I also manage to take in 200+ grams of protein daily. But I don't eat purely "clean" food. I'm getting it from cheeseburgers, chicken wings, and occasionally pizza. Won't I see the same results while bodybuilding on a diet like this?


yes, you will most definitely gain weight....




You're saying you CAN'T get 3,000 clean calories a day? WTF!


i feel better eating cleaner, and I do enjoy feeling good.


I can easily get in 4000+ of clean calories. SHit i can get in 2-3000 in just a meal or two. I also enjoy eating cleaner foods because it makes me just feel better. I just got done with a trip to vegas and ate as much as i possibly could at buffets 3 times a day. I would eat plates of protein then cheat with dessert and eat shit food. Well it was fun and i enjoyed but i cant say my body did. I did the same thing with clean food about a month ago. Ate as much as i could for about a week but felt way better doing that.


It's not a matter of what I can and can't do. I can eat 3,000+ calories worth of clean food in a day. I just prefer eating unhealthy because it tastes better. I mean, at the end of the day, I'll have consumed the same amount of calories and protein. I'll just cut out the vegetables and whole grains and replace them with high calorie/high protein junk food.


Do whatever makes you happy. It might mean you'll get softer faster, but if you're staying proactive you won't get fat.

This is also the wrong site to ask this, as most around here would rather "eat healthy" than to actually progress in the gym, so take that for whatever it's worth.

Personally, I'd barely even consider chicken wings and burgers to be "dirty" food. More than likely anyone who says you can't eat that is a dripping wet 150 pounder, and has been that way for three years.

EDIT: I personally can't afford to eat like shit most of the time, I have a pretty poor metabolism. That being said, if I could get away with eating junk and still look good you bet your ass I would.


And not everything is just about looking healthy either, think about what's going on inside your body


Best post. This is about what gets you in the gym for a life time, not what everyone else thinks is the right thing to say.

Most of the people bragging about how great they eat at all times are also some of the slowest growing people here who will wash out in 3-5 years.

That isn't a recommendation to eat certain foods.

It is the real understanding that none of this is about "being perfect".

the ones who last for 15 years and really blow the fuck up...are the ones who enjoy the hell out of getting stronger AND bigger AND will get that food in.

if it is a true hassle and unenjoyable, you will not stick with this when life gets really hard.

There are many skinny "super healthy eating people" here who don't get this yet...and never will.


I enjoy all of that. I just have a taste for more healthy foods. So i eat what i want i dont eat the healthy food becuase its healthy thats just iceing on the cake. I also enjoy my crap food cookies and ice cream thats really the only ones i like. But i have no problems eating enough to grow. I certianly love the progress and strength gains thats what keeps me coming back. I started to lean out for a trip to vegas but i stopped because i didnt want to miss out on any growth. I know a lot of the really big guys grow a lot the first year or 2. I have trainied for 7 years but 6 and change were not serious at all. I regret it but cant change that all i can do is do everything i can now.

IMO you should strive for perfection but dont let it get your down or make you quit if you cant aquire it. Do you best all the time and for a long time and you will reap the rewards.


this si body building, NOT general fitness

you wont see the same results per se, there is definitely merit to eating "healthier" foods resulting in better overall body composition - think john meadows/mountain dog diet

edit: my bad didnt even see other posts


You may be hitting the required calories and protein from your suggested diet, but whole grains, vegetables (healthy carbs) are also very important for building muscle - providing much needed nutrients and minerals. So if you want to take bodybuilding seriously, then you are heading in the wrong direction with a junk food diet.

Having said that, you can still have good tasting food. Homemade burgers (mix ground beef with one egg, some onion, some flower - make a monster burger) taste amazing, and this is not 'junk' food.

ALso, try allowing yourself to get 15-20% of your calories from bad food, and force yourself to get the rest from healthy sources.

If you want results, then you need to eat BIG and force down those good protein sources, good carbs, good vegies (200 grams protein sounds low, what's your weight?)

Also you may weigh the same with an equal calorie intake of bad food vs clean food (each hitting same protein level); but your body composition will not be the same..


2 scoop of whey, 3 tb PB, 1.5 cup oats, 1 banana and a few spoonful olive oil thrown into a blender with ice is easily 1000 kcal. The other 2000+ Kcal can be easily get from 3 or 4 meals spread out among ur day, why would need the extra kcal from fast food? If u have time to train, u shld have time to prepare ur meal no? Spending a few hours on sunday cooking meat isnt really that hard. Chicken get cooked real fast (no I am not only refering to the breast). And u can cook ur rice with a rice cooker while ur wash up at night or in the morning.

but then again, a burger there and there to meet those unfulfiled kcal isnt going to do huge damage in the long run imo, but take this with a pinch of salt, I am not saying this from a bodybuilding point of view, I am just saying that hitting 3000+ kcal isnt really that hard of a challange that require to take in large amt of junk food


In the long run, the cleaner you can eat the better. You can add calories quickly with things like avocados, olive oil, and nuts.

It's not just about what you can get down your throat. You have to digest it as well, and that is ultimately what matters. If you can dial in your digestion, you will get more out of what you are eating. The key is to feed your body quality foods.

Most of guys who talk about getting "big" eating fast food and other crap are usually carrying a ton of bodyfat, and probably look less than desirable.

I'm not saying you can't eat a burger and fries on occasion, but letting your bodyfat get up to 15% is just laziness.


Lol, I'm reminded of a post I read here a long time ago. This powerlifter posted his diet which included eating a whole box of cereal lucky charms or something similar. Then he tried to eat really clean and his strength dropped. I just remember cracking up reading what he ate.


You also have to think of micro nutrients not just macro nutrients. John M. Talks about that a lot with eating the healthier/better foods. Micro nutreints are just as importnat to a good physique as macro nutreints


I'm going to start stopping by McDonald's (actually a local clone of it) because I'm getting a bit bored of eating from trying to stay in the "healthy path". While I can take the 3600 kcal required from mostly healthy sources, eating constantly the same is starting to affect my mind and I'm losing my appetite, which means that some days I really have to force myself to eat, which makes it even worse.

So, I'm sorry for my body, but at least once a week I'm getting 950kcal from a Megaburger.


nothing wrong with that


Well, I've been trying to keep my food healthy, so stopped by a junk food place is a bit out of the comfort zone, but thinking about it, a burger is much better than candy, soda, etc.