Diet Mistake: Labeling food as either good or bad

Contributors Erin Castle, RD, LD & Jillian Morgan, RD, LD, CDE

THE FLAW: “If it tastes good, it must be bad for you.” Roper St. Francis Healthcare affiliated dietitian Jillian Morgan has heard this for years. “Fad diets have skewed our view of healthy eating to be one of deprivation and forced foods. Unfortunately, this approach contributes to yo-yo dieting, weight loss followed by weight regain and a damaged relationship with food and our bodies.” Labeling a food as bad makes it untouchable, causing you to want it more and leading to overeating when you finally give in. Conversely, labeling a food as good (often equated with healthy) masks the fact that you might actually enjoy its flavor and texture. It becomes something you have to, rather than get to, eat.

THE FIX: Gaining freedom from labeling foods as good or bad removes the guilt and can help you consume the right portion and still meet your health goals. Though it can take years to repair one’s relationship with food and may require the help of a dietitian, sustainable changes to our food habits can lead to improved body composition (a happy medium of fluid weight, fat mass and muscle mass) and peace of mind. “With food acceptance and lack of judgment, you gain autonomy,” says Morgan