Question: Coming from a different culture, I often find America’s obsession with diets to somewhat jarring, especially the tendency to banish foods into “good” or “bad” categories. I personally firmly believe that there are no “good” or “bad” foods, only good or bad diets, because anything can be healthy (either physically or psychologically) in moderation. In fact, I find that obsessing over what one eats to does more psychological harm than good. What’s the expert’s view on this?
Answer: This is a great question. Rather than focusing on “good” and “bad” foods it is better to focus on an overall healthy eating and physical activity plan that fits in your lifestyle. Of course, there are foods that are better for you (like fruits, vegetables and whole grains) and foods that are not as good (like chips, cookies and candy) but all of them can be included in a healthy diet. You just want to make sure to base your diet around the healthier items and keep the portion sizes of your treats under control. A good rule to follow is the 80-20 rule; try and make 80% of your foods healthy and the other 20% can be slightly more indulgent.
Because you mentioned America’s unhealthy fixation with dieting, I think it is
important to note here that National Eating Disorder Awareness (NEDA) week
is coming up from February 26 – March 3, 2012. The link to NEDA can be found
here. Sadly eating disorders, disordered eating and body image dissatisfaction exist in America. NEDA works to help raise awareness surrounding these issues and support individuals and families affected by eating disorders.
By: Lisa D’Agrosa