I ran into an Instagram post the other day that was written by a registered dietician. I don't normally follow registered dieticians (because there's SO MUCH conflicting advice), but this post was reposted on a mental health counseling account that I typically really enjoy.
The post was praising the concept of a "food moderation diet", which is basically a diet that doesn't "restrict" any foods, but encourages you to eat all foods in moderation. It was implying that this is the best way to eat. Period.
The idea seems great on the surface and I get why it would work well for some people (I'm typically a huge fan of moderation and also who wouldn't want to eat the cupcake, right?).
But what about the millions of people who have to restrict certain foods because these foods act like poison in their bodies? Or what about the people who battle food addictions in one form or another? It seems to be an overly simplistic way at looking at a complex and individualized issue.
Not to mention the fact that food intolerances are very common. In fact, according to this article, "it’s estimated that up to 20% of the world’s population may have a food intolerance". That's a lot of people. And that doesn't even take into account the people who have liver, kidney, and other organ challenges that effect how their bodies respond to different foods.
I have even found that certain foods DIRECTLY CAUSE feelings of depression in me, so it was disappointing for me to see a post like this on a mental health account. Mental health counselors seem to be the heroes for promoting the idea that each person needs to figure out the resources, tools, and processes that work best for them individually, so why would they promote the claim that there is one type of diet that is "preferred"?
I believe the answer stems from health privilege (which seems to be one of the most ignored privileges in our society right now).
The moderation diet seems to be promoted by people who have bodies that physiologically work "normally" for them and just don't understand what it's like to have a body that doesn't.
Not everyone has the privilege of being able to eat whatever they want (even if it is in moderation.)
I just watched a show (Love, Guaranteed) that portrayed a woman with severe food allergies as being "undatable" and "high-maintenance."
Many of the foods that are considered to be "healthy" for a lot of people are highly reactive in others.
I learned a long time ago that I had to stop listening to the dieticians, health coaches, and diet "experts" that promote this "best" way of doing things and start paying attention to my own body.
I had to keep records and pay attention to how certain foods actually made me feel.
That doesn't mean that I don't seek to understand basic nutrition and even listen to the advice of nutritionists I respect, it just means that I seek to understand who I am and how MY body works both physically and mentally while I'm trying to navigate the whole process.
Because MY best diet is the one that actually works for ME.
I know that sounds like a simple and obvious statement, but the world is just full of so much noise that it can sometimes be confusing to know what to do.
People can share their dietary opinions, but in the end, each body is different and should be treated as such. Maybe one day these "experts" will respect and honor that fact (some do, of course), but until then, I will own my own power to know what is best for me (even if that means I have to do a little detective work).