On social media and in real life, we’re bombarded with rules that will promise you to have a “perfect” body, or “lose all stomach fat in 10 days” and the list goes on and on. Crazy food rules are notorious in our society because of diet culture and different views on what “healthy eating” looks like. Even though some of these food rules mean well, the truth is that all bodies are not the same. Different bodies need different nutritional needs, on top of the fact that healthy eating rules don’t factor in different cultures, tastes, medical needs, and even food access. To be completely frank, a lot of food rules are complete B.S. Many are unnecessarily restrictive, and don’t have any real benefit, and may end up in a bad relationship with food. With that being said, this article will debunk those healthy eating rules you hear all the time, and possibly help you throw them out forever, or be more flexible about them.
- Don’t eat after X p.m.
When I was on my weight loss journey, this is definitely the rule I read about the most. Some people believe that eating before bed is bad for you, or it can lead to gaining weight. But unless eating right before bed is causing health issues like indigestion, it does no harm.
On top of the fact that not eating before bed has no actual health benefits, it’s pretty unrealistic. Many people just don’t have the schedules where they can just stop eating at 6, 7, or 8 p.m. Many people go to bed late because of work or other reasons, and it’s unrealistic to expect to not be hungry after a certain time.
Others might implement this cut-off time to stop themselves from late-night snacking. However, this often leads to a bad relationship with food. We know that telling ourselves not to have something we actually want just makes us want it more. If you allow yourself to eat those snacks when you’d like, you won’t feel a bigger urge to get them since you’re not restricting yourself from it.
- Don’t eat carbs.
Carbs are seen as the enemy in the diet industry. However, we need them to survive. Carbs are what give you energy every day and are just as important as all the other macronutrients. But diets like keto and paleo have caused people to pretty much fear carbs when they’re extremely important. Carbs not only provide energy, but contain vitamins, minerals, and fibers your body needs. Carbs are not the enemy!
- Don’t eat fruit, it’s way too sugary
This is one I’ve been hearing since I was a kid. Fruits contain sugar therefore they must be bad for you. But that is simply not the case. Yes, fruit contains sugar, but it also gives you fiber and contains a lot of vitamins and minerals that are needed for the body. On top of that, since there is a lot of fiber in fruits, which helps you stay fuller for longer, the body absorbs the sugar at slower levels which keeps your energy levels more stable.
- Avoid processed foods.
Unless you’re eating raw, uncooked whole foods, you’re eating processed foods, according to the Food and Drug Administration’s definition of processed food. On top of the fact that we’re constantly eating processed foods, we tend to think of processed foods as “bad” foods and ones we should avoid. Labeling foods as either good or bad is extremely harmful to relationships with food because people tend to feel like a “bad” person for eating a “bad” food. All foods are acceptable in moderation, no matter how nutrient-filled they are.
We grow up learning a lot of these food rules and we start to believe them as a fact. But the truth is, these rules (and more) are stopping us from achieving health and food freedom. Slowly loosening up on these rules or getting rid of them all together brings us to a healthier alternative, where you know your body and can eat guilt-free.