Eating healthy can be very difficult, especially around the big holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. We are surrounded by ads, marketing and social media, where the food industry has added addictive sugar, and also lower the price, to make us buy the foods. Nevertheless, the food is readily available, so it has become an afterthought to eat. The food industry in America provides us with biased information, and we need to improve the system so we can have the correct information and stay healthy.
The food industry’s goal is to make a profit, and therefore, they do everything in their power to make you buy large amount of the foods. They add sugar, syrup, fat and chemicals to make the food taste better, so that you will end up eating more, and therefore buy more. Furthermore, to make the food cheap for you to buy, the food companies tend to decrease the nutritional value of the food like fiber and vitamins.
It is basically the perfect ingredients of a disaster: Cheap and addictive food with high amount of calories and less, to almost no, nutrients.
So there is no wonder why we have three main eating disorders in America (Binge Eating, Bulimia and Anorexia Nervosa).
*Binge Eating Disorder is the most common eating disorder in America. People who suffer from this disorder are usually eating beyond when they feel full. Many people tend to eat the food extremely fast, and they also eat when they are not hungry.
*Bulimia Eating Disorder is usually very similar to Binge Eating Disorder, but with Bulimia the binging is followed by other methods to avoid weight gain like vomiting, excessive exercising or fasting.
*Anorexia Nervosa Disorder is when a person is restricting the food intake, and the type of food they eat, to try to not gain weight, or even lose weight. People who suffer from this disorder have a distorted body image, and they could also end up exercising compulsively, purge via vomiting and laxatives and/or binge eat.
So, food addiction and food disorders can show itself in many different ways, and at the same time be very similar. You cannot always tell if a person is struggling with an eating disorder by looking at them.
But there is still HOPE!
Both for people who are struggling with an eating disorder, and for those who know someone who needs help.
Eating healthy does not have to be extremely complicated. The main thing to think about is to focus on the overall dietary pattern and include beneficial foods that are filled with vitamins and minerals. Try to replace processed food with real and natural food when you can, and take it step by step, and day by day. Small changes can have huge improvements on your health, mood and energy over time. We need a good balance of protein, carbohydrates, fat, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Make it a habit, and your body will thank you for it.
Written by Peer Educator: Amalie Aadland