I just got back from the Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo, one of the largest meetings of food and nutrition experts. In fact, more than 10,000 registered dietitian nutritionists, nutrition science researchers, policy makers, health-care providers and industry leaders attend this annual meeting, addressing key issues affecting the health of Americans. During one of my interviews with the media, I was asked what my thoughts were on the intuitive eating trend.
The premise behind intuitive eating is that a preoccupation with dieting can lead to a negative body image and short-term weight loss, which ultimately results in weight gain and frustration. And then the pattern begins with another diet, and so on and so forth. Intuitive eating is a mind-body approach that involves listening to your body and empowering yourself to eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re satisfied. The food you eat should taste good and make you feel good, and your meals should be enjoyable and mindful, while you learn to respect your body’s hunger cues. The focus of intuitive eating is not on weight loss, but on honoring your physical and mental health. It sounds simple enough: Eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full. But if it were that easy, we would not be experiencing an obesity crisis in the United States. To a certain extent, everyone was born with the ability to eat intuitively. Babies eat when they’re hungry and they stop when they’re full. Our ancestors had to hunt and gather their own food, so they ate when they could, and they didn’t have the option of over-indulging because supplies were limited.
Meanwhile, we’ve wreaked havoc on our metabolisms and natural hunger cues due to the 24/7 availability of food everywhere, so we’ve lost the ability to eat intuitively. We eat when we’re bored, stressed, upset and yes, when we’re hungry. But we also don’t know when to stop eating. If we were a healthier population, intuitive eating would work. Before you throw yourself into the practice of intuitive eating, you need to have the right tools in place to make sure your metabolism is in a healthy place through carbohydrate management and natural portion control. Because if your blood sugar is low, guess what your body is going to “intuitively” want to eat? Sugar! A low carb diet naturally helps you regulate your blood sugar, curb your cravings and manage your appetite, making it possible to listen to your hunger cues while eating a variety of satisfying foods. Stick with Atkins, and you will be able to become an intuitive eater!
Find out what some of the hot topics were at last year’s Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo here. (Hint: keto, plant-based meals and more!)