• Emma Green

Is intuitive eating healthy?

By far the biggest pushback against the non-diet approach that I advocate for is the perceived detrimental impact on health. Here is how I respond: First of all, I find most people using a health argument tend to overlook mental health. We cannot focus solely on physical health, mental health is equally important. Secondly, health is inextricably linked with privilege. The social determinants of health play a much larger role in dictating health outcomes than do individual behaviours. Not everyone is in a position to be able to engage in health-promoting activities. Thirdly, studies comparing intuitive eaters vs non-intuitive eaters don’t show that intuitive eaters are in poorer health. In fact, particularly when it comes to wellbeing, they often are in a more favourable position. Fourth, if people are willing and able to engage in health-promoting behaviours, a non-diet approach allows them to do this in a non-restrictive way. Research on non-diet interventions demonstrates that they can improve both physical and mental health markers without weight loss occurring. Finally, I think it is also worth saying that health is not a moral obligation. If health is your number one priority, that’s absolutely fine but you don’t have the right to impose that on others. Everyone has the right to live life on their own terms. If it’s not your body, it’s not your business.

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