What Are Your Gateway Foods?

Have you ever eaten something and found you couldn’t control your appetite after the fact?  Ever bitten into a food only to think in your mind, “Where have you been all my life?” I call those “gateway” foods.

What is a “gateway” food?

It’s a phrase I use often when talking to clients. I explain it in reference to another more common phrase, gateway drug.    

DrugRehab.com defines a gateway drug as:

A gateway drug is a habit-forming drug that can lead to the use of other, more addictive drugs. The theory that consuming "softer" drugs can lead to using stronger substances has existed for decades. Studies suggest that this transition is real. Educating youths and identifying treatment options can help them avoid and overcome drug use.

When I refer to a gateway food, it is in reference to unhealthy foods leading you to less healthy foods.I will use myself for example.I am as disciplined as they come.I am very good at avoiding foods that are not good for you, however, if I take a bite of a cookie, all bets are off as far as discipline goes. I guarantee I will not stop with that one bite, one cookie, or with the cookie.  With the first bite, my mind says, “where have you been all my life?”Upon completion of the cookie or cookies, I will look for more “sugar” foods. It’s almost like my mind is a one track mind and all it is thinking about is consuming more sugar. It’s as if, my inner Cookie Monster, from the children’s show Sesame Street, appears and is ravaging everything in sight.

I do get moments when my mind reminds me about my health and fitness goals, unfortunately the  Cookie Monster yells louder me to “forget about it.” More times than not, the Cookie Monster’s suggestion wins.     

What are my gateway foods?

I need to be careful with most “sugar” foods such as chocolate, candy, ice cream, cake, and pies.   I also need to be careful with “sugar” bread products such as cinnamon rolls, donuts, and anything glazed.

There are foods which do not trigger are response. If I were to consume veggie straws or even my “sugar and wheat free brownies” (see article, Brownies Are Back on the Menu!)  I can consume a moderate amount, and move on.

What can you do?

Pay attention when that inner Cookie Monster shows himself. Identify what foods are your gateway foods. Understand that these foods can be triggers which will lead you on a trail of unhealthy foods that you are trying to not consume. Stay away from these foods.  In fact, get them out of the house (see article, Are Foods Contacting You Telepathically?) and you will already put yourself in a position to succeed.   


Steven Zahn

ACE Certified Personal Trainer

NASM Certified Personal Trainer

Pre and Post Partum Certified

Dragondoor Publications: HKC Russian Kettlebell Certified

Youth & High School Football Coach

Health and Fitness writer for Goals.com

For information on 1on1 Personal Training or Nutrition Coaching, feel free to contact me at szahn@lifetimefitness.com.