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5 Popular Food ‘Rules’ You Should Ignore

Everyone has different beliefs and relationships when it comes to food. Here are some “food rules” you should be wary of.

There are some things about food that you know implicitly, such as eating late is a bad idea and eating as a reward only reinforces a weird relationship with food. Some of these rules are helpful and meant to keep you healthy, but others could result in a charged relationship with food that can result in eating disorders, low self-esteem, and a lot of unhappiness.

Food is a complicated issue for many of us and we should all be more gentle with ourselves and our relationship with it. Self magazine spoke with different dietitians who talked about the most popular “food rules” that people should unlearn. Even when they provide helpful guidelines, dietitians believe that this advice shouldn’t be interpreted as a rule.

Here are 5 of the most popular ones:

Emotional eating is bad

Unless you’re a robot, there’s no way that eating isn’t tied to some sort of emotion. People go out to eat when they’re celebrating, bonding or just want to get out of the house. They also eat when they’re mourning, which can act as a processing tool. “[Emotional eating] is simply another way of seeking comfort when needed,” says Kimmie Singh, M.S., R.D. “Part of having a healthy relationship with food includes having permission to eat emotionally when it is helpful.”

While eating can be one of your coping mechanisms, it shouldn’t be the only one you use. If you have trouble accessing other tools, you should talk to someone and look for outside help.

Cooking from scratch equals a healthier meal

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While home cooking is generally associated with healthier habits, this doesn’t mean that processed or frozen foods can’t be a part of healthy meals. For some families, it’s unrealistic to cook every meal from scratch. They should know that there are plenty of foods that can be purchased that can also be delicious and healthy as long as there’s enough veggies and healthy proteins to choose from.

Drink water when hungry

Drinking water is sometimes used as a way of keeping hunger at bay. Surprise, it doesn’t work. “This rule is used to suppress hunger, and while it may keep you temporarily full, the body will eventually figure out that no energy is coming into the body,” says Carolina Guizar, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.N. You should eat when you’re hungry.

Cut down on all carbs

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While carbs are the enemies of most fad diets, they’re great and necessary for our bodies, just like veggies, proteins and fats. Carbs are necessary for providing us with energy when we need to work out or complete our everyday activities. With no carbs, it can be really difficult to not feel lethargic and like we can’t get through with the tasks that make up our day to day lives. Our brains thrive on carbs. Don’t ignore them.

Be wary of sugary fruits

A lot of people talk about how bad fruits are and how much calories and sugar they contain. While they do contain sugar in the form of glucose (as opposed to cane sugar), they also have fiber, vitamins and minerals that are good for you. Fruits are delicious and also make for great replacements for other desserts, satisfying a craving while avoiding the side effects of caloric sweets.

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