You can listen to the podcast episode which covers the 4 blog posts here:
This is Part 3 in a small series about the response to a TikTok video that I posted. If you haven’t read the previous parts go back and have a read and watch the video in question.
So, let’s all stop assuming that what you see in a video or a picture is that person’s diet as a whole. In my video I had a whole three layer sponge cake filled with loads of jam and fresh cream. It was bloody lovely, but could I eat it all in one sitting? No of course not! Do I want to? No. Could I if I wanted to? No. Do I eat nothing but cake all day every day? No.
My diet is varied. It is a good mix of carbs, fats and proteins, and loads of vitamins and minerals. I have a lot of really nutritious foods and my fair share of play foods. For those of you who don’t know, play food is in the intuitive eating community what some people would call junk food. We don’t call it junk around here because it still has its place in a balanced diet and ‘junk’ implies it is rubbish. We don’t do food guilt thank you!
My point is, you cannot tell by looking at me in that one joke video what I eat, how much of any one food I eat, or how often I eat. You can’t do that, and you don’t know what is good for MY body. You don’t know what it responds well to, what disagrees with me, what nutrients I am or am not lacking, how much energy I do or don’t need.
When it comes to food affecting health, yes, if you were to eat a block of lard a day that might have some obvious repercussions, but that’s an unrealistic scenario. No-one is really going to do that, in the same way I wasn’t really going to sit and eat a whole three tier sponge cake to myself in one go.
Some foods are less nutritious than others, but if you have a good balanced diet that food will play a small part in your health. We don’t eat foods in isolation. There are always other foods in the day.
If you’re eating a whole cake each day and nothing else then I would say you are not eating intuitively and that is something to look at, because that’s not going to be health maximising, but if you enjoy cake as a part of your overall day then I’m all for that.
With conditions like diabetes and heart attacks it is fair to say you can give yourself a fighting chance with the food you eat, but it is totally unfair to say to someone that eating a cake will give them diabetes or a heart attack.
Again, the body is very complex and cannot be affected by food alone. It’s how that food interacts with your internal systems that determines the outcomes. Add to that external factors like family history, pollutants, money, activity levels, social factors and all of a sudden once more it becomes a big picture where lots of things affect your health. People need to stop spewing blanket statements like ‘cake gives you diabetes’, ‘cake gives you a heart attack’.
Now, before people get ranting about this, I absolutely do know that the quality and type of food that you put into your body has an impact on your health. As a nutritional therapist I couldn’t not know this, and it would be wrong of me to ignore it. There is no denying that you can definitely improve your health if you eat well. Some foods are more nutritious than others, and different foods support different systems in the body.
My motto is this: Isn’t it much nicer to ask what can be added to a diet to make it more nutritious than to ask what we can restrict? Isn’t it better to look at what nutrients you can add to the diet, rather than what you ‘should’ cut out. Same result will come out of it nutritionally more or less, but it’s reframed and a much more positive experience, and doesn’t end up with you wanting foods you’ve put on the banned list and feeling like you’re missing out. Remember where that ends up – that nasty binge restrict cycle.
My point from all of this is simply that people need to remove the automatic blanket thoughts that say it’s ONLY the food that impacts on someone’s health, and that what you see in a picture or video is an indication of the person’s diet as a whole. We should always consider there might be other reasons why a person is going to have health issues.
Please note: This post is intended to be general information that applies to people who don’t have diagnosed medical conditions and are not pregnant. As always, please see a registered professional before making changes to your diet.