The Case for Eating Whatever You Want

Med-diet-pyramidLearn to eat intuitively (meaning you eat whatever you want when you want it – and it’s good for you), courtesy of New York Magazine:

Eat like a caveman. Never mind — actually, don’t eat animal products at all. Or, okay, eat them, but only fish, and only sometimes.

But don’t eat anything for two whole days out of the week. No, you know what? Bananas. Just bananas. These are only a handful of the recent diets that celebrity authors and nutrition bloggers have told us hold the one true key to achieving a healthy weight. But what if it were a lot simpler than that?

As evidence builds that conventional weight-loss methods simply don’t work in the long term, some nutritionists and psychologists are encouraging a kind of non-diet diet, in which you eat what you want when you want it. It’s called intuitive eating, or sometimes, mindful eating, and those who practice and preach this nutritional philosophy say your body instinctively knows what it needs. Your job is to shut up and learn to listen to it.

The whole thing seems a little hippie-dippy — until, that is, you learn that there’s some solid early evidence suggesting that the practice actually works to help people reach a healthy weight.

The phrase intuitive eating was coined and popularized by registered dietitians Elyse Resch and Evelyn Tribole, who published the first edition of their book, Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program That Works, in 1995; a third edition was released last year. More recently, Ohio State University psychologist Tracy Tylka made the practice a bit more scientific by developing a formalized scale specialists can use to measure whether their patients are eating in an intuitive way.

Tylka’s scale includes these skills…

[continues at New York Magazine]


Majestic is gadfly emeritus.

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10 Comments on "The Case for Eating Whatever You Want"

  1. Wtf is that a russian food pyramid?

    Anyways the USDA food pyramid regardless of what language its in is a joke. It says to eat up to 15 servings a day of high carbohydrate foods which carbs are just transformed into sugar in your body. High carb and high sugar diets will make you gain weight and increase your chances for becoming type 2 diabetic or having heart disease. Also foods that raise your type-b LDL cholesterol levels will increase your chances of developing atherosclerosis which can cause heart attacks or stroke. Really if you are trying to lose weight in a healthy way on top of working out regularly you should switch from eating 3 or less large meals a day to 5-6 small meals every 2-3 hours because this way keeps your metabolic rate more at a constant level instead of raising and lowering it multiple times a day by only eating a few larger meals.

  2. Rus Archer | May 19, 2014 at 3:18 pm |

    yeah, this diet has worked great for americans so far

  3. I think humans generally are far too disconnected with nature and their bodies to “eat what they feel like”.

    Our brain is the most chemically complex organ and exploded in size and complexity while immersed, for millions of years, in the most complex chemical ecology on the planet via a symbiotic relationship with angiosperms. Now we eat “junk” and expect that everything is fine and it doesn’t matter what we build the brain out of. Try and build a computer out of junk and see how well it works…The brain is several orders of magnitude more complex than that.

    I think the reason for this insane logic and our inability to even recognize it is sitting between our ears.

    • Well said. Most people dont realize that saying “you are what you eat” couldn’t be more true.

    • This.

      If the only food options available were unprocessed/natural foods then this notion of “eating what you like” would have a reasonable to good chance of working, but the genie is out of the bottle in this last century and never going back (short of western civilisation’s utter collapse), so it’s a ridiculous notion to even pretend it’s viable at a societal level.

      Hell, I try and look after myself food-wise, but if I only ever ate what I felt like, sales of corn chips and chocolate would skyrocket locally… 😉

      • The interesting (but unsurprising) thing is that once you start deconditioning yourself from the artificial flavor filled junk your tastes adjust and you begin to pick up and enjoy the depth of more natural foods in a way that is more satisfying overall, while at the same time the taste and feel of ‘junk food’ etc becomes much less enjoyable. At least that has been my experience over the last 4 or 5 years.

        • Few things beat a cherry tomato picked only a couple of minutes ago.

          • I hear you. I grow my own in the front yard – awesome stuff to just pluck and eat.

        • Oh yeah, I totally agree: I was being a bit derogatory toward myself re: the corn chips and chocolate thing really, as I’ve also learned something similar first-hand, but literally only in the last month or so.

          I had to drop various foods, including processed sugar type things, for some med tests, and found that while I’d been craving chocolate, sugary drinks and the like the whole time (literally only for about a two week period, I know, weak!), I found that once the no-go period was over, my actual desire for those things had lessened dramatically, and once I did have some, it really wasn’t what I expected.

          That shit was SO sweet, it was almost off the scale, and actually not pleasant at all, and since then I’ve completely dropped any kind of soda/soft drink (I had maybe one 600ml bottle each weekday with lunch, so compared to some not much at all, but anyway) and replaced it with water.

          The chocolate eating has kind of crept up a bit again, but not to my original consumption levels at all, more like 1/4 at most, and so I’ve kept off the weight I dropped, but I’d really like to stop wit the choc entirely, as it, along with coffee, seems to drive my entire day in terms of energy (or lack thereof) and I don’t like feeling a slave to that sort of thing.

  4. If we had real food instead of food-like substances, this wouldn’t even be an issue for the instinct-injured among us.

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