When it comes to food and nutrition, my motto is always, “Everything in Moderation”. But why is moderation key when it comes to food? There are two really important reasons. The first is that nutritional science is still a very young science. The second is that our mental health is just as important as our physical health. Let me explain.
Nutritional Science is Still Young
It is only in the last couple of hundred years that nutritional science has begun to find its feet, and only in the last 100 years that many significant nutritional discoveries have been made. For example, the first vitamins were not identified until the early 20th century.
Even today, new discoveries are being made every day about food components and their impact on our health. The result is that scientific research in the field of nutrition is often conflicting and confusing. That leaves people scrabbling around trying to work out which nutritional advice they should follow. One person says fat is bad, another says it is good. One person says all sugars are equal once they are inside our bodies, another says that fructose is worse than glucose.
Even Registered Dietitian Nutritionists and other nutrition experts have a tough time trying to find a clear path through all of the conflicting research. Why is that? Because on many issues, nutritional science has not yet reached a definitive answer. And THAT is why my mantra is, “Everything in Moderation”.
By eating a little of most, or many, foods and not overdosing on any one, you provide your body with a wide range of nutrients and antioxidants. In addition, you hedge your bets. If it turns out that coconut oil is actually dangerous (like trans fats have proved to be), you should be fine if you have been eating it in moderation. If, however, you have been drinking it by the bucket load, you might have done some damage.
The Importance of Mental Health
In addition to hedging your bets on the physiological health aspect of food, moderation also helps avoid some food-related mental health issues.
A vast number of people have an unhealthy relationship with food. This comes in many forms, including binge eating for comfort, chronic dieting for weight loss, complete removal of certain foods from the diet, or an obsession with ‘clean’ eating. And while it is possible to follow one of these patterns of eating without causing anxiety or other mental health issues, disordered eating patterns and psychological issues often go hand in hand.
By adopting a diet where nothing is off limits, but everything is eaten in moderation and mindfully, it is possible to have a healthy diet with a healthy attitude. By reducing diet-related anxiety, you will improve your overall health.
The Bottom Line
By adopting an attitude towards food whereby nothing is off limits and everything is fair game in moderation, you can create a healthy mental attitude towards food, and ensure that you get a good variety of nutrients, antioxidants, and phytochemicals in your diet. You can also ensure that, in the event that new research comes out to show that a particular food is not as healthy as once thought, you have not been overdosing on it, so you should not endure any negative consequences.