START A PETITION 25,136,189 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x

Why We Fear Food and How to Stop

  • 1 of 2
Why We Fear Food and How to Stop

Last week, I read six different articles with variations on the good-versus-bad-food theme. Good food? Bad food? It’s funny how we attribute moral properties to what is, essentially, a glob of chemical in a tasty package. Eating is supposed to provide nourishment and pleasure. But in our diet-obsessed culture, we have attributed to food an often-sinister quality.

Here’s one example: “Annie” was so tormented by her fear of food that she avoided parties and dinner invitations, because she didn’t want to be tempted by the tasty treats. When she ate, she spent the entire meal adding and re-adding the number of calories she was consuming. She read labels obsessively, and could tell you the calorie count of almost any food–and usually the number of carbohydrates, fat and protein as well. At best, she regarded food with suspicion; at worst, it terrified her.

Dieters are most susceptible to this mindset, but they’re not the only ones. Other fear-inducing foods and ingredients include saturated fat, sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, trans fats, GMOs, gluten, dairy, soy, pesticides, refined carbs, wheat, diet sodas, and anything that’s even remotely related to increased risk of inflammation, heart disease or cancer.

It’s important to be wary of some of these. I’m a huge proponent of eating clean foods, and make my living writing about them. If you’re sensitive to gluten, should you avoid bread? Absolutely. Will eating trans fats kill you? Probably so. But prudence and mindful choices can sometimes go the way of fear.

Think of how children eat. When you offer a child a cookie, he doesn’t think, “Dear god, that cookie was made with high-fructose corn syrup and trans fats! And it probably has 500 calories!” They think “Mmmm. Cookie. Sweet! Crunchy!” They eat the cookie, and have an experience of pure pleasure. Somewhere between the happily ignorant bliss of a child, and the ever-vigilant eye of a nutrition-savvy adult, there lies a middle path, one that doesn’t include worry, stress and fear.

If you find yourself from time to time (or frequently) seized by a fear of food, read on for six ways to loosen the grip.

  • 1 of 2

Read more: Blogs, Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, Fitness, Health, Inspired Eating, , , , , , , , ,

have you shared this story yet?

go ahead, give it a little love

Lisa Turner

Lisa is a chef and nutritionist with more than 30 years of professional experience and formal training in food, nutrition and product development. She’s written five books on food and nutrition and is the creator of The Healthy Gourmet iPhone app, and has been a featured blogger for many national sites, including Huffington Post and Whole Foods Market. Lisa is a faculty instructor at Bauman College of Culinary Arts and also teaches food and nutrition classes and workshops to individuals and corporations. She's a black belt in Ninjutsu, an active volunteer in the Boulder Valley school lunch system, and an avid wild food forager.

83 comments

+ add your own
1:17PM PDT on May 9, 2011

I eat to live, not the reverse...but I sure wish I could be sure of the food I eat...so many lies about ingredients and farming methods.
Ah well, there is a middle road with this, I suppose: a little pesticide, a little chemical, a few wood chips, a little corn syrup, a little GMO...

1:41AM PDT on May 28, 2010

Because of lots of celery in the food we have fear about food. If food has more celery than it will happen that your weight will be increased after sometime. So mange your diet with limited celery and burn this celery by doing exercise.
Rhinoplasty

9:47PM PDT on May 21, 2010

Mindfulness of what you're putting in your body whether it's food or drink or drugs (harmful or not) is the first step to getting rid of those fears. It's usually about control or lack of it and identifying it is how you can begin to deal with it.

2:21PM PDT on May 21, 2010

I agree with several of the comments on the difficulty of staying on or maintaining the healthy diet after optimal is reached. My view is that a "eating style" must change slowly and still contain "treats" but not regularly eaten nor normal portions. A little once & a while of the favorite foods is important to STAY on the diet change and to maintain healthy eating after goal is reached (weight, cholesterol, sugar, etrc.). That is my view & it works for me. Weight in particular is NOT GOOD to be lost fast. Those commercials are CRAP when they say "lose it fast and feel great skinny." Those lies are ruining the lives of many young people. I want to see correct & healthy commercials......PLEASE! Patti

5:17AM PDT on May 21, 2010

ty

8:51PM PDT on May 19, 2010

I was on a diet a few weeks before, and I tried only eating healthy and green food during the diet and not even touching food cooked with (a lot of) oil. But, I think that this made my desire for eating oily food even more after the diet. I think that suddenly starting to eat healthily is worse than slowing down and increasing the amount of healthy food more and more, little by little, day by day. :)

12:06PM PDT on May 18, 2010

Food for thought (pardon the pun)!

12:14AM PDT on May 13, 2010

the only problem is, eating disorders aren't actually about food. but i don't know if you were talking about eating disorders specifically, or just about problems with food in general. they are good tips, though.

5:31PM PDT on May 10, 2010

I completely agree with this! It seems that mainstream media is especially helping make these caloric foods seem like they should be avoided at all costs! I agree there should be some sort of middleground.

10:21AM PDT on Apr 27, 2010

Nice post,Dieters are most susceptible to this mindset, but they’re not the only ones. Other fear-inducing foods and ingredients include saturated fat, sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, trans fats, GMOs, gluten, dairy, soy, pesticides, refined carbs, wheat, diet sodas, and anything that’s even remotely related to increased risk of inflammation, heart disease or cancer.
Leather Beds

add your comment



Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

Thank you for the article.

If you eat mindfully and intentionally, overeating will rarely occur. You simply have to make the e…

By the time I understand all the rules, the snow in the south has melted. Phew, whee a close heart …

Thanks for the article....I didn't know several of these remedies

Good share, thanks.

CONTACT THE EDITORS



Select names from your address book   |   Help
   

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.