Eat what you want and when you want without fattening, a dream that you can realize

Eat what you want, whenever you want and always healthy, without risk of atiborrarte of tasty chips, crispy peanuts covered with honey and salt or exquisite chocolate Neapolitans. A free dining bar where you're not going to earn kilos. The promise seems a dream come true and the theory of intuitive eating, which ensures that it is a possible aspiration, madness. The concept sounds quackery nutritional, but it may not be unintended. In fact, the idea does not refer to a diet that promises to lose weight or hovers some foods. Intuitive feeding is the epitome of healthy freedom when it comes to eating and there lies its complexity.

The fundamentals of the theory, popularized by the book of Dietitians Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Reschson the intuitive diet, first published in 1995, are easy to understand: instead of restricting food and eating in military time you have to feed Intuitively, listen to the body, let it guide us on when to eat, what to eat, when we are satiated... Of course it's also important to know how to make healthier decisions. It is assumed that if we manage to dominate the body and mind, we will not overeat and make healthier choices. But taking these ideas into practice is not easy and it is natural to doubt the effectiveness of a nutritional approximation like this. How do you separate from the environment, from the emotions and social conventions that influence food so much? Can conscious choices really help us control cravings, as a wonderful supplement against junk food? And what support does science provide for intuitive eating?

The menu is dictated by the body, when you hear it

According to the theory of self-determination, professors in psychology Richard Ryan and Edward say, we tend to eat healthy food naturally. It can be a surprising affirmation, but it is better understood when experts suggest that following weight loss diets usually end in failure because we perceive them as controlling experiences. According to assertion in an article published in the journal of Public Policy & Marketing, "the most consistent strategies that facilitate autonomous motivation are more likely to be internalized by consumers and result in a change in More lasting behavior and, in turn, greater psychological well-being. " That is, the best change in the diet would be the one that is obtained from the inside, not following a menu strictly established.

Although babies claim food with weeping and are followed every time we want to eat, as perfect machines to communicate needs, the capacity is lost over the years: adults usually lose the ability to notice how hungry we are and how satiated We're accurate. The blame has "the stereotypes acquired, such as breakfast at eight in the morning, eat on the two and dine around nine," explains Pablo Ojeda, dietitian-nutritionist and member of the Psicobesidad Group of the Spanish Society for the Study of obesity .

The ideal is to cultivate the food behavior intuitive at the earliest ages, because "is when the mechanisms of hunger and satiety are perfectly adjusted," warns dietitian-nutritionist Manuel Moñino, knowledge management Area Scientist of the Spanish Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. "But the tendency is to overestimate the child's food needs, often reflected in the practice of finishing the whole dish, or rewarding and punishing with food. This makes this fine metabolic and mental mechanism mismatch, moving food behavior towards emotional consumption, which may be associated with risk of obesity and chronic diseases, "he adds. Education becomes a fundamental part of preventing these problems.

Indeed, studies have shown that behind many compulsive eating patterns hides an emotional origin. From Harvard Medical School, for example, they talk about how numerous studies (many of them made in animals) have shown that physical and emotional distress increases the intake of foods with high fat content, sugar, or both. The explanation could be in the high levels of cortisol, a molecule known as stress hormone, in combination with high levels of insulin. The bodily sensations that produce emotions can easily be confused with hunger, so we are losing the ability to identify our feelings of hunger and satiety to adapt the rhythm that society decrees. This means that if people with eating disorders have more difficulty interpreting the signals of their organism, as suggested by a study published last summer in the journal of Psychosomatic Research, they will also have More difficult to follow an intuitive feeding. They may need other diets.

It may not get thin, but the weight is not all

Unlike many diets, intuitive eating makes it possible to eat whatever comes in and when you want. "This current is intended, like the mindful eating, to reconnect with our feelings of hunger and satiety," says Ojeda. Therefore, as long as it connects with the primary food instincts, in principle one will avoid choosing undesirable options and to serve excessive portions. But let's go to the data, what have scientists shown? Are you sure we're not going to consciously pull the buns as soon as we get the chance?

A recent review of 16 studies related to intuitive feeding detected a statistically significant weight reduction only in three of them. What's more, the scientists have related the time of the main foods with the weight, specifically with the obesity. But keep in mind that this theory does not focus on slimming, but on getting a healthy diet. A "Cuasiexperimento" (an experimental investigation whose subjects are not randomly allocated) that saw the light last year in the American Journal of Health Promotion suggests that intuitive eating improves feeding, weight and Psychology in women with weight problems.

Another work, from 2017, concluded that intuitive eating could be beneficial for the prevention of eating disorders, from a public health perspective. "We must promote the acceptance of the body and eradicate a style of thought dichotomous around food and food," the authors say at work. In the same line, a systematic review of the literature to examine the intuitive feeding, of 2016, states that "it is associated with a less disordered diet, a more positive body image and greater emotional functioning." The list of jobs and reviews continues and points in one Direction: intuitive eating will probably improve our relationship with food and help raise the mood. The conclusions are interesting enough to take into account this type of feeding.

The signals are internal, but the information is outside

"This approach to control of emotional intake could be a way to control the compulsive consumption that the current food environment exposes us. Nevertheless, it can be a challenge to achieve this, because we are exposed to a great influence of food marketing and to environments where to buy unhealthy food is easier, and economic, than healthier options, "Moñino reflects. But paying more for food does not guarantee better nutrition.

And although no diet or lifestyle is harmless, for the dietitian-nutritionist Pablo Ojeda, "if it is well-carried, with the appropriate information and guided by professionals who will accompany you during the learning process, as well as with the acquisition of knowledge, It can be a very positive eating style. " But it has its dangers. The risk that is run with the intuitive methodology is to adapt to it, "not to choose the right foods and to continue eating badly, in an intuitive way and not with the timetables established at the present time," Ojeda continues.

For the Ryan theorists and say the key is to provide consumers with relevant information, with educational campaigns initiated by teachers and health care providers to help consumers appreciate the causes and consequences of, for example, obesity.

The intuitive diet is possible but "it is important to put yourself in the hands of professionals, because although it does not involve complex guidelines, it does require a training and guidance to be able to carry it out until the habit is established," recommends Ojeda. "The key is to modify healthy eating environments, whether at home, work or leisure places, making it easier to eat healthy foods, as they will eventually provide food that is consciously or intuitively We consummate, "concludes Moñino.