Doc.: "The human side of food is as least as important!"
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Food is nowadays pulled apart and reduced to nothing more than nutrients. The fact is that eating is about much more than nutrients, but many diets neglect the relevance and significance of the other important “ingredients”. They preach their faith from the narrow perspective that food should be healthy in the first, second and third place. When you try one of the new diets, you discover that they are usually quite difficult to maintain.
Please don’t get me wrong here - I’m not denying that food has a biochemical aspect - but the thing is that the technical side of the subject creates the false impression that our lifestyle choices are rational and fully within our power to control.
When I was a researcher, I often thought that people with lifestyle or weight issues were struggling with self-discipline. I know that many people today believe similarly. Later, during my time as a health practitioner, I learned that nothing could be further from the truth - because there is another side to food, namely the human, emotional side. I am referring to the social aspects of eating and our experience of it. And, while these elements have evolved along with the functional aspect of food - after all, our hunter-gatherer ancestors celebrated the victory of a successful hunt by sitting around the fire together enjoying a meal enriched with herbs and later with spices - food science pays little attention to the sociocultural aspects and the emotional (taste-)experience of mealtimes.
When I was a researcher, I often thought that people with lifestyle or weight issues were struggling with self-discipline.
Nevertheless, I am convinced of the importance of all three ingredients (nutriënts, sociocultural and emotional aspects of food), not only because they are what makes us human, but also because, by paying attention to these aspects, you are more likely to achieve a healthy and sustainable eating pattern.