Sunday, April 3, 2016

Top 10 Confessions of a Renegade Dietitian

I have been a proud member of The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formally The American Dietetic Association) since 1978.  However, I find that I don't think like many of my colleagues.  Yes, I am a renegade in various ways.  I am a true renegade when it comes to the many diets and food related misinformation that permeates our culture dominated by the media.  I am a renegade against the fat/body shaming that is touted by much of the diet and fashion industry.  I cringe at the artificially thin body types promoted by some in the dance, gymnastics and cheer leading world.  Don't get me started about the eating disorder behaviors that are passed off as normal "making weight" requirements for boys and men in the wrestling arena!  I could go on rambling, however, I am going to summarize my thoughts by listing a few of my top 10 "renegade" confessions.

  1. I believe calorie counting is a waste of precious time and energy.  A calorie is merely a unit of energy required to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water 1 degree Celsius.  Unless you want to carry a bomb calorimeter around with you in which to blow your food up prior to eating, you will never know exactly how many calories you are consuming.
  2. I predict that requiring the caloric content to be included on menus and menu boards will not enhance the health of our country or contribute to a decrease in obesity.  The accuracy of the caloric content of any given menu item cannot be guaranteed.  Research shows that less than 30% of people actually look at the calorie listing (for some who do it could actually be detrimental - the eating disorder suffers). Cities who have had this requirement enforced for a period of time (e.g. New York) have not been able to document solid beneficial outcomes.
  3. Clean eating is a form of elitism and disordered eating, in my opinion.  We have kidneys and a liver for detoxing our body.  Many countries who barely wash their food, don't know what a toxic cleanse is, or have no concept as to what "organic" means have lower infant mortality rates than the U.S. Many of those countries have a life expectancy as long or longer than we do.  I define "clean eating" as washing your food and your hands.
  4. There is no one food that should carry the label bad or unhealthy.  One may consume an overall unhealthy diet or an overall healthy diet, however, neither is defined by one food, one meal or one day.
  5. I don't believe what and individual's BMI or weight gives a clear indication regarding their health and it surely does not define who they are as a person.  Why did we ever begin weighing human beings?  Produce and livestock, I get that!  I have wondered if their is a connection between slavery and weighing people other than what I observe in my clients on a daily basis.
  6. The scale is a hunk of metal.
  7. Participating in regular activity/exercise should be about self-care, not calorie burning.
  8. Dieting is not only useless, it can be harmful on many levels.  Many archived blogs address this issue.
  9. God gave us taste buds in order for us to enjoy our food.  Diets encourage joyless, automated eating.
  10. One can be thoughtful and aware of their nutritional intake without being obsessive and rigid. 
Join me in becoming a renegade against the artificial pursuit of thinness, calorie counting and anything else that might rob you of a peaceful relationship with food, eating, weight and exercise!

1 comment:

  1. I agree with everything you said. Nicely written!
    Pushpa Soundararajan, RD.