“Nutrition Analysis = Dietary Paralysis”

Author name
Franca Alphin, MPH, RD, CSSD, LDN

I can’t take credit for the quote but boy did this resonate with me. It would appear that we have moved in a direction where we use numbers to validate everything about us:  BMI and weight speaks to our appearance,  grams of protein, fat, and carbohydrate tell us how “healthy” we are, body fat analysis speaks to our leanness, grades speak to our intelligence, and bank statements touch on our wealth.   I can’t help but wonder if this “numeric trend” isn’t having a negative impact on life satisfaction, but particularly on how we feel about our food and dining experiences – it has certainly lead to a lot of confusion about what to eat. Daily, I meet with people that tell me they eat “healthy” but then go on to say they’re not satisfied, or worse yet, don’t like what they’re eating—how healthy is that? Eating was never intended to be a numbers game, food is not a number. Food is nourishment, enjoyment, satisfaction, love, comfort and I could go on and on, but it’s not a number! As long as we use numbers to tell us how well we’re doing or how healthy we are, we’ve lost sight of what’s important; the enjoyment of eating and the company of the people that share our gastronomic experience.  Food is a party for our senses, (mindfulness) but we lose sight of that when the numbers are driving the show. Although, clearly there are times when food  analysis is appropriate,  it is however, not something that should be done daily (APPs) or even weekly but rather only as need dictates. As we approach the holiday season and we think about our good fortune to have access to ample food, let’s not waste the opportunity calculating our caloric and nutrient needs, but rather focus on the smells, tastes and textures of the food that we are fortunate enough to share with good company.