Dietitians have cautioned against categorizing foods as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ for weight loss. According to clinical dietitian Shyla Cadogan, putting certain foods on a pedestal does not contribute to weight loss or improved health. In fact, it can increase the risk of developing disordered eating. Cadogan explains that all foods have beneficial qualities, even if it’s just providing energy when you’re hungry. Studies also show that individual foods do not determine poor health outcomes, but rather overall diets. Additionally, binary views about food are associated with binge eating behaviors, which can lead to weight gain. Cadogan emphasizes that restricting cravings can actually result in a binge-restrict cycle. Including cravings in your diet can help reduce the desire to constantly want them and potentially binge on them later. Negative self-talk, such as feeling guilty or stressed about indulging in certain foods, can also be harmful and increase the risk of disordered eating. Other experts share Cadogan’s concerns about this attitude towards food, highlighting that each person’s biochemistry, culture, and genetics influence their reactions to and preferences for different foods. It is important to recognize that food is meant to nourish both the body and the soul, and labeling certain foods as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ negates this fact.The holiday season often brings temptation for unhealthy foods like pies and starches. However, labeling certain foods as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ overlooks the fact that food is meant to nourish both the body and the soul.
It is important to understand that foods are not inherently good or bad. Instead, they either work for you or they don’t. Cutting out entire food groups, such as carbs, sugar, or ultra-processed foods, rarely leads to successful weight loss.
Scientific research supports the idea that cutting out specific foods is not an effective weight loss strategy. In 2012, a study conducted at Tel Aviv University found that obese adults who had a high-protein breakfast and a dessert later in the day lost the same amount of weight as those who did not have dessert.
Contrary to popular belief, red meat and full-fat dairy can be part of a healthy diet. Despite being linked to cancer and heart troubles in recent years, red meat can still be included in moderation as part of a balanced diet. Similarly, whole-fat dairy has been identified as one of six key foods that can help reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes.The participants in the study continued to lose weight even after the study ended, unlike those who did not eat dessert. This is because eating a large sweet treat satisfied their cravings and reduced their likelihood of snacking later in the day.
Moralizing food can have serious consequences for mental health. It is a significant risk factor for disordered eating, including clinical eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia. Disordered eating falls between normal eating and an eating disorder and often involves restrictive eating, compulsive eating, or irregular eating patterns.
Experts emphasize that eating disorders also pose similar risks to consuming large quantities of highly processed, fatty, and sugary “bad” foods. These risks include heart disease, digestive problems, high blood pressure, weight gain, and stroke.
Ms. Cadogan states that criticizing oneself for eating “bad” food is more harmful than the food itself. Pressuring oneself to have a “perfect” way of eating is impractical and will never be achieved.
Individuals with underlying medical conditions like type 2 diabetes or obesity should be cautious about consuming added sugars and saturated fats. However, dietitians suggest that they do not need to completely avoid these things.
Ms. Lopez explains that many Americans develop negative attitudes towards food due to a fear of gaining weight, which some refer to as “fatphobia.”
Women tend to perceive themselves as overweight at a lower body mass index (BMI) compared to men. This suggests that females may consider themselves more overweight than they actually are.
A study published in the journal Obesity in 2012 found that around 16 percent of women reported experiencing weight-based discrimination, compared to 10 percent in 1995.
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