WHY THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS A MIRACLE FOOD

No one food can make or break your health, but our culture tends to tell us otherwise. Here’s what to keep in mind the next time a miracle food is touted.


BY: KATHERINE METZELAAR, MSN, RDN, CD

Marketing can be convincing. 

Eat this to gain muscle, energy, longevity, and stamina, they tell you. Drink this to detox, feel mental clarity, feel alive, and find love and happiness. 

Buy this magical product, and feel whatever it is you want to feel. 

Unfortunately, this is not how the human body, or living a human life, works.

Not only is this true, but when this miracle food that’s being viewed as the answer to your problems doesn’t work, it can leave you more frustrated. You may even blame yourself and your body.

If this is you, or you find yourself feeling tempted to follow the latest Reddit post, food ad, Instagram post, or news segment, here are a few important things to keep in mind before you run to the store.

1. Capitalism. 

We live in a society where profit is the name of the game. Don’t forget the true intention behind what’s being sold to you.        ⁣⁣⁣

2. The human body functions best when a VARIETY of foods are consumed. 

The reason why our culture often talks about the benefits of foods in isolation is because of the way most nutrition research is performed. It’s also easier to market in this way. 

Rats are great and all, but any solid conclusions that come out of it are limited. Studies done in tubes and Petri dishes are equally as limiting. What we do know is the human body needs a variety of macro- and micronutrients to thrive. Decades of research and evidence support this. ⁣⁣⁣And what we see over time with dieting, disordered eating, and eating disorders is that it decreases the quantity and variety consumed that’s needed, ultimately leading to less-than-desirable health outcomes.

3. The wellness privilege

Even if you are eating certain foods in the name of “wellness”, be honest with yourself and ask if you’re actually doing it because of rigid rules, moral superiority, food restrictions, and financial privilege. 

4. Health is complex. 

In our culture, health has been reduced to the food we consume and the way we move. What we fail to acknowledge and talk about are the social determinants of health that have nothing to do with food, such as socioeconomic status, stress levels, history of trauma, access to healthcare, weight stigma and weight bias, level of education, the safety of your neighborhood, race, religion, and much more. For example, no amount of avocado toast is going to help a mom, working two jobs on a fixed income to feed her children, to improve her health.

So, remember: there is no such thing as a miracle food. 

There is no single food that will protect you from that which ails the human body. Nutrition science is complex and cannot be reduced to individual foods as it relates to your health. 

And, there is more to your health than what you eat.

Adapted from the original post.
HEADER IMAGE: NINA FIRSOVA

Katherine Metzelaar, MSN, RDN, CD is the owner of Bravespace Nutrition, a private Nutrition practice in Seattle, WA. She specializes in disordered eating, eating disorders, and body image healing. She is passionate about size diversity and equality, and helps women to find food freedom free from perfectionism.

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