Food is not inherently good or bad


Seeing food as good or bad, clean or dirty and healthy or unhealthy is a form of dichotomous thinking, also known as ‘black and white thinking’.

This type of thinking is not helpful for a number of reasons.
⚠️“Dichotomous thinking has been associated with overeating and increased body weight. Individuals who attempt to maintain or lose body weight via dietary restraint (restricting foods) are more susceptible to excessive eating episodes”
⚠️“Dichotomous thinking toward food may have a negative impact on the ability to achieve and maintain a desirable body weight.  It may also mediate the relationship between dietary restraint and binge eating due to forming rigid dietary rules and increasing the probability of disordered eating”
⚠️“Thinking of food in black & white could lead to higher rates of binge eating, resulting in excess calorie consumption leading to weight gain”
✅“There should be a strong focus to promote a more flexible attitude toward food in an effort to improve weight loss maintenance”

Thinking of food as good or bad is unhelpful, we can instead think of food as follows to promote a more positive relationship with food.
Foods are more nutrient dense or less nutrient dense.

Foods are either more helpful or less helpful.
Foods can be more optimal and less optimal.
Whether a food is more or less optimal / more helpful or less helpful is individual and will depend on the dose, your goals, context, and situation.
What is optimal for one person and their goals may not be optimal for another person in a different situation with different goals. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
For instance, it may be more optimal for someone to allow themselves to eat a small portion (dose) of chocolate for better adherence during a fat loss phase rather than eliminating it and feeling deprived.

To summarise, foods are not good or bad, clean or dirty. Consider the dose, goal, context and situation.
Dichotomous thinking is not helpful and can have a negative impact on eating behaviour 👎🏻
Be mindful of your choices and how they will affect your goals, happiness and health.

There’s no need to demonise or fear certain foods 🙌🏻 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

You should give yourself unconditional permission to eat anything at anytime 🤤


Dichotomous Thinking Toward Food as a Mediator Between Eating Behaviour and BMI – Sohee Lee

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