By Kimberly Guenther, RD
Did you know the idea of the “atom” was proposed in 440BC but was not widely accepted till 1911? This one theory alone took multiple centuries before humans could develop the skills to prove the atom’s existence. This is just one of the accomplishments of the science of chemistry. Biology is another branch of science that has a lengthy history dating back to 300BC when scientists were dissecting the human body to understand how it works. But did you know the science of nutrition, though aided by many chemistry and biology experiments, is the youngest of all the branches of science?
In 1907 it was proved that amino acids make up proteins, in 1935 scientists just started examining the concept of fat storage in laboratory rats, in 1954 vitamin B12 was discovered and finally it wasn’t until after World War 1 that dietitians were allowed on staff in hospitals in the United States.
With the science of nutrition basically in its infancy, there is a lot of nutrition news in the media, many millions of dollars being spent on clinical trials and experiments to increase our knowledge of food and how the body responds to it. It’s a confusing time – one report states a food is bad for us; another says it’s not. What are consumers to believe? I often think of how confusing it is and I am a Registered Dietitian! And then, I think of those who struggle with disordered eating or eating disorders and how difficult it must be to try and make sense of it all.
Because of all the information out there on nutrition, it makes it even more challenging for eating disorder clients to trust their RD. I have heard, “How can I trust my dietitian, when it seems the field of nutrition gives so many mixed messages?” I can’t agree more! It seems all this nutrition information is sending the message to the public that we are all to be perfect eaters and I think this is often what many who struggle with eating disorders are striving for.
And therein lies the issue – perfect eating.
Well, I am here to say let go of all the latest nutrition news – the latest fad diet or the recent article in your favorite magazine identifying the 10 super foods you should be eating. Let it all go and embrace the idea that what we currently know about food and how the body works is good enough for you.
We know our diets should be mainly made of complex carbohydrates, we should aim for multiple servings of fruits and vegetables of various colors in a day; we know our bodies need daily servings of dairy; we know what foods we should limit in our diets and we know we should exercise. Have you ever asked yourself, why that just can’t be enough? Sometimes keeping things simple is just what is needed.
Believing that giving yourself some structure in your eating but at the same time listening to what your body tells you in regards to what sounds good to eat, is perfect eating for you! You have the innate ability to do and most importantly, you deserve it!
During this National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, take this challenge to just let all the hype around nutrition and fitness in the media go. Don’t buy into the hype of having to be this perfect eater! Take that big leap of faith to allow your dietitian to help keep you grounded and navigate through towards peace and freedom with food!