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Overall eating patterns more important than "good" food and "bad" food diets


It's a simple concept, but one that many people with eating disorders - and dieters around the world - fail to recognize.

It's the idea that overall healthy eating patterns are more beneficial in the long-run than cutting out certain foods from the diet or labeling things as "good" or "bad."

Moderation and portion size

A newly updated position paper from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, "Total Diet Approach to Healthy Eating," supports the idea that all foods are OK in moderation - it's the pattern of eating that becomes the most crucial factor for long-term health and wellness.

The paper was written by registered dietitians Jeanne Freeland-Graves, Bess Heflin Centennial Professor in the department of nutritional sciences at the University of Texas, Austin; and Susan Nitzke, professor emerita and extension specialist in nutritional sciences at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. The paper states:

The total diet or overall pattern of food eaten is the most important focus of healthy eating. All foods can fit within this pattern, if consumed in moderation with appropriate portion size and combined with physical activity."

Don't oversimplify

The paper also notes that too many people oversimplify food choices by putting them in good and evil categories which, ultimately, leads to inconsistent eating and failed attempts to stay healthy. The paper elaborates:

In 2011, 82 percent of U.S. adults cited not wanting to give up foods they like as a reason for not eating healthier. For these reasons, the concepts of moderation and proportionality are necessary components of a practical, action-oriented understanding of the total diet approach.

A broad range of foods is the best option, allowing a person to make food choices that are based on their personal preferences.

The paper explains how nutrition practitioners have an important responsibility for helping patients expand their diets and food choices, not restrict them - a concept that would fall more in line with the total diet approach put forth by the paper.

Source: Science Daily

Photo by John Nyboer