Eating by Food Type
A common habit that can indicate disordered eating is to eat according to food type. Eating by food type often starts as a desire to lose weight, such as in an effort to cut out all foods containing fat, sugar or carbohydrates. However, individuals who no longer eat whole “categories” of food are not able to eat a well balanced diet. In order to gain the best health possible, disordered eaters must be taught to include a wide variety of foods in their diets.
Eating By Food TypeEating by food type can often come about as means of dieting. For example, popular diets that advocate cutting out whole categories of food (such as all carbohydrates) can spur an individual into thinking of that food category as unacceptable. It may also be that an individual develops food type aversions by him or herself. For example, a disordered eater may decide that all baked items are “bad” while all steamed items are “good,” or that rice is “bad” while turkey is “good.” When an individual loses perspective about how food affects the body and why the body needs a wide variety of nutrient-rich food, including fat, sugar and carbohydrates, disordered eating is more likely to creep into his or her daily habits.
Disordered Eating and DietingEating by food type may be thought of simply as a method of dieting, rather than as disordered eating. This may start when an individual begins to divide foods and food groups into “yes” or “no” foods. “Yes foods,” even if the individual does not think of them as such, are foods that the individual is allowed to eat because they are acceptable in his or her diet. “No foods” are foods that the individual feels are inherently unacceptable and will sabotage his or her ability to lose weight. However, such blanket bans on these foods tends to indicate that an individual has lost the ability to understand which foods and types of foods affect their health in certain ways. When an individual fails to understand that food itself has no inherent good or bad value (s)he is very likely to begin categorising it and cutting out those that (s)he feels will adversely affect dieting as opposed to health.
Eating a Well Balanced DietThose who eat by food type must relearn what a well balanced diet means and how all food types fit into a well balanced diet. This can often be made easier with the help of a professional nutritionist. Dieticians and/or nutritionists will be able to explain not only why all types of foods are needed in a healthy diet, but in what amounts or proportions for optimum health. Many dieticians and/or nutritionists are also able to help their clients design diets and recipes to include the best mix of all foods.The British Dietetic Foundation () is a good place to start to learn more about how dieticians and/or nutritionists can help an individual whose disordered eating includes eating by food type.
Eating by food type is a common type of disordered eating. Individuals who eat by food type must learn to understand and appreciate all types of foods and how they can help everyone’s bodies towards optimum health.