Food Guide: a helping hand to prevent eating disorders?

Guide alimentaire: un coup de pouce pour prévenir les troubles alimentaires?

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The food guide encourages Canadians to take the time to cook, to savour their food and to reconnect with the feeling of hunger and that of satiety.

Listen to his hunger, a message put forward in the new canada’s food Guide, comes to give a boost to the prevention of eating disorders, say experts. But this intuitive approach is not a miracle cure for people with a food problem more severe.

The new version of the guide, presented last week by the minister of Health Ginette Petitpas Taylor, has completely changed its approach compared to its previous versions. Finished portions of food, place proportions, a directive seen as less complicated and less restrictive. The guide also encourages Canadians to take the time to cook, to savour their food and to reconnect simply with the sensation of hunger and that of satiety.

Advice that the professionals gave already to the people at risk of developing an eating disorder or have an eating disorder ” light “.

“Eat a healthy diet, it is never to deprive his body of food that you want, no restrict on the quantities. It is also find pleasure to be at the table and eat. The guidebook consolidates what we said in the middle, it is a step forward, ” says Guylaine Guevremont, nutritionist and founder of the clinique Muula, which helps people to finish with the food problems.

In Quebec, 300,000 people are likely to develop an eating disorder — such as anorexia, bulimia or binge — according to the charity Anorexia and bulimia Quebec. These eating disorders are characterized by the adoption of extreme behaviors towards food and weight. They can sometimes lead to serious consequences on the psychological and physical health of the persons concerned.

The habit of food restriction ensures that these people [with eating disorders] are no longer able to recognize that they are hungry or they are satiated

— Nathalie St-Amour

In this regard, the older versions of the food Guide, based on the notion of food portions, did not help to guard against such evils.

“Ask people to calculate, weigh almost, it is still a rule that comes to tell us what to eat, how to eat, how much to eat “, critical Emie Therrien, nutritionist-dietitian intervention program LoriCorps of the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, which offers support to people with eating disorders.

Place to the intuition

In his opinion, the new guide is more similar to the approach of the intuitive power, advocated in its program. “It teaches people to have fun at the table, to reconnect with their body by eating when they are hungry and stop when they have had enough, as they did when they were still infants “, she says.

The nutritionist-dietitian, reminds us that the human being is basically an “eater” intuitive, able to know whether he is hungry or not. These signals are innate to disappear, however, with time, influenced by the environment in which one grows up, the messages conveyed in society and face the judgement of others.

Guylaine Guevremont abounds in the same direction. “The new guide presents a healthy. And by bringing on the public square the message that you should take pleasure in eating and listen to your body, it could change the game in a few years, and avoid some fall in a diet restrictive in the extreme, ” hopes Ms. Guevremont, well aware, however, that eating disorders are multi-factorial and not only depend on a model of power presented in a guide.

The intuitive power is, however, not the panacea.

The people suffering from eating disorders most severe of which have long since lost the ability to recognize their signals, interior, nuance Nathalie St-Amour, a doctor of psychology and director of the clinique St-Amour.

“The habit of food restriction ensures that these people do not know recognize that they are hungry or they are satiated,” she says. Their eating disorder distorts their judgment and intuitive approach is for them unnecessary. “


The new guide has already been worried in the space of a few days, she says, while several patients have called the clinic to Ms. St-Amour, afraid of “eating too much” in the light of the new guidelines. The disappearance of the food group reserved for dairy products has also raised a number of questions.

“Among the medical complications of anorexia, there is osteoporosis. And to counter this, it is necessary to promote the consumption of dairy products for the full of calcium. It becomes more of a challenge for us to make it clear to the customer the interest of the dairy products in his case. “

Ms. St-Amour explained that health professionals need to prepare meal plans according to each person and their eating disorder.

“There are a whole work of rehabilitation to be done to put aside their obsessions. It is necessary to prescribe what to eat, what to start from zero. It is only later in the process, which we can consider intuitive approach “, she says.

The program manager of the eating disorders of the university Institute in mental health Douglas, Dr. Howard Steiger, shares his opinion. He said for the taxation of portions when eating disorders are developed, the challenge is no longer to ensure that the patient eats a healthy diet, but simply that it feeds.

“The intuitive approach does not work in these cases. A person with anorexia will never be hungry. And a person is bulimic eats sometimes without knowing that she is no longer hungry “, let-t-he fall.

Station restrictions

They are promoting a healthy body or a dream silhouette. Sometimes popularized by stars of Hollywood, sometimes advised by health professionals, diets food are to be taken with a grain of salt, consider the experts consulted by The Duty. Gluten-free diet, paleo, keto, Dukan, or even vegetarian, all are advocating to avoid a category or several categories of food, which opens the door to restrictions to the extreme.

“These diets to the base are not good for everyone, and they may often be applied to the extreme by people with an eating disorder, and create obsessions to the point of becoming harmful,” explains the head of the program for eating disorders at the Douglas institute, Howard Steiger.

For its part, the holder of the Chair of nutrition at Laval University, Benoît Lamarche, remember that most of these diets do have “no scientific evidence convincing long-term” to prove their beneficial impacts on health.

In this regard, if the new canada’s food Guide is similar to a diet of a vegan, by advising the public to eat more fruit and vegetables and proteins of plant origin, it did not ban all dairy products and animal protein. “The long-term studies have shown that plants are good for health, but no study has really proven to adopt a system that is completely vegetarian or vegan was necessarily best for the health or the heart,” he says, calling the population to stay informed and to instead eat a varied.


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