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I cringed every time I read a title like this. You probably know exactly what I’m talking about! You’ve likely heard of, or maybe followed, diets that include the word never. “Never eat any carbs that aren’t whole grain”, “ never eat after 7pm” , and I could go on about these restrictive diets. I’ve also seen a recent increase in articles along the lines of “10 foods a health professional will never eat”, but I’m here to explain the risks of these “never diets”.  an eating disorder dietitian, I feel that all foods have a place and there is no such thing as a “good” or “bad” food.

Firstly, these diets appear to offer a quick fix. Avoid these few foods and your life will change dramatically! Sounds great, right? However, that’s not how nutrition and health work. Dietitians, including myself, encourage variety.  The more balanced and variable your diet is, the more likely you are to meet all of your vitamin, energy, protein, etc  needs that can help you feel energized, avoid getting sick, get stronger, and enjoy overall good health.  Limiting yourself in ways like restricting food groups or not eating when you’re hungry is detrimental to health, for so many different reasons, regardless of what “fad diet” articles might suggest.

Secondly, I wanted to talk about the language associated with these diets. Every diet has “all or nothing mentality” and “strict rules.” This kind of food structure attaches a morality to eating. There are risks associated with this.  Classifying eating patterns into “always” or “never”, or “good” or “bad” formats can induce feelings of guilt or shame. You ate something you classified as “bad”, does this mean YOU as a person were bad that day? You were especially hungry and broke your never eat after dinner rule what does that mean? Diets make it seem like you are a terrible person for breaking these “sacred rules.” Like you failed of something. I love saying this… You didn’t fail the diet, but the diet failed you. Truthfully, food shouldn’t define anything in a moral sense, what you eat for a snack doesn’t define your character.

I would like to talk about what I would recommend over these diets. Listen to your body. If you’re hungry, eat. Fill your body with a variety of foods. Eat your favorite meal after a long day, or on any day.  Paying attention and recognizing what you need and crave offers physical and mental benefits, while following limiting diets does the opposite.  This can be difficult to do if you’re just starting out. And that is okay! Working with a registered dietitian can help you work through these ideas of mindful and intuitive eating.

That all being said! I thought it would be a fun twist to show you 5 foods I promise you I will never eat.

  1. Foods past its expiration date
    You can be pretty sure that if something is expired, this Registered Dietitian will never eat it. Food safety is serious and important so try to keep your fridge and freezer organized. Rotate older items to the front and label items in your freezer. I make sure to always check the date. before eating.

    Check the date before eating!

    Check the date before eating!

  2. Foods I am allergic to
    Well, as of right now, I have not found a food that I am allergic to (knock on wood!).
  3. My coworker’s lunch
    This definitely falls into my never eat category. While colleague and work wife Dana Magee’s tacos always look and smell delicious, you will never see me taking her lunch. That’s just rude! But I am hoping she will

    Tacos for lunch is a great idea

    Tacos for lunch is a great idea

  4. Raw meat 
    Not for this RD. Under cooked raw meat is not food safe and something I will never eat. I would imagine it would make me quite sick. Make sure to use a food thermometer when cooking at home to prevent any raw or under cooked food consumption. Raw fish is another thing… Sushi is delicious!

    These chicken meatballs were cooked to the correct temp!

    These chicken meatballs were cooked to the correct temp!

  5. Eating due to peer pressure
    This dietitian eats what and when she wants to! While not always easy, I don’t give into food peer pressure, eating something I don’t want at the time, or on the other hand not eating something because no one else is. While it’s not 100% I try to listen to my individual hunger and fullness cues and food wants.

    Photo by Rebecca Bitzer

    Photo by Rebecca Bitzer

I hope you find this post fun and it inspires you to work on letting go of foods as good or bad! Contact us today for more information about our nutrition services.

More information about Dieting Rules in our mindful minute video:

Blog originally written by Kait Fortunato, CEDRD. Updates by Alex Raymond, RDN, LDN.

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