I had just turned 30 years old, and someone actually told me that “if I smiled different” my wrinkles wouldn’t get as bad. Well intentioned, I’m sure, but still a ridiculous idea! Believe me; I had no intention of living the rest of my life worrying about my wrinkles, lines, etc. every time I was happy!
How is this much different than the scare tactics many use to provide nutrition information claiming that our health is at risk if we eat _______ (you can fill in the blank)? Stay with me on this…Clearly, it is essential to take care of our health and our bodies for many reasons (have energy, feel good, prevent disease, lower health care costs, etc.). But, buyers beware of what isn't entirely true. The
multibillion dollar beauty industry has done a fabulous job of this, convincing us women that something isn’t right and thus we need XYZ product to solve it.
I have witnessed, over and over in the last 25 years, how trends about what to eat and what not to eat (that we were convinced was well researched and accurate) gets turned around about a decade later. The nonfat craze from the late ‘80s was one example; and, the fact that soy foods would
prevent breast cancer in the early ‘90s was another among many. Today, the attack on sugar and gluten are popular. Seriously, sugar is NOT evil! In fact, glucose (a simple sugar) is actually essential for survival. It is the only source of fuel for your brain! And, we would not have Olympic athletes performing at the level they do without a steady supply of carbohydrates. Yet, we continue to get bombarded with this “all or nothing thinking” that sugar (and carbs; and gluten; and red meat; and …) is bad and something horrible will happen to you if you eat it at all!
Folks, the truth is “balance, variety and moderation!” I am aware that practicing those values with food consistently might seem overwhelming and difficult. If that’s you, I recommend having a registered dietitian or wellness coach work with you to remove the obstacles that are getting in the way of your health goals. Trusting in food rules (rather than yourself) may feel “safer” but is usually not addressing the true issue someone has with food, eating, and their body.
The reality is that overexposure to UV radiation in sunlight, smoking, and air pollution, along with the
natural loss of elasticity as we age, contributes to wrinkle formation – and always has (this isn’t a new concept). Similarly, overeating food (including sugar, gluten, red meat, fat, protein, fruit, etc.) along with chronic inactivity, will contribute to health problems – and always has! Don't give in to ridiculous claims and miss out on living!
Val Schonberg is a Registered, Licensed Dietitian who specializes in weight management, sports nutrition, disease