Q

Eating Habits and Nutrition

Is it okay to splurge on food occasionally?

A Answers (2)

  • A , Nutrition & Dietetics, answered
    Now here's the only rule I will ever strictly enforce with myself and with others. If you are going to have that treat, if you're going to indulge in some guilty pleasure, then the absolute most important thing is that you truly, fully enjoy it. Eating something you think you shouldn't and beating yourself up about it the whole time -- something that I see people do every single day -- is far, far more damaging to your body than eating that very same food and delighting in it.

    How you feel when you eat your dinner has about as much impact on how your body uses that food as what it is you're eating. Stress compromises digestion, and guilt is most definitely stress inducing.

    I was once asked at a workshop about what on earth I order from a restaurant menu. My response: "Whatever I want, and I enjoy it." And that's exactly what I do. I check in with myself and see what I feel like eating. I don't overthink it, and I don't analyze the nutritional pros and cons of the various options. I just eat what I feel like eating. And, most importantly, I enjoy every little mouthful of it.

    So, when I do eat the mac and cheese, or I pick something off a menu that's clearly not healthy, I eat it with delight, not guilt. And I encourage you to do the same.
  • A , Geriatric Medicine, answered
    One of the reasons that the occasional indulgence is acceptable -- and doesn't cause much of a problem for maintaining your weight -- is that the absorption of any food is modified based on what you usually eat. This means that some of the foods you have avoided for a long time will not be absorbed as well as they would be if they were eaten regularly.

    For example, if you have not been eating much fat, and then eat a meal with a high fat content (and calories), your body will not be used to absorbing the higher amount of fat. This occurs because the cells lining your digestive tract have adapted to allow the positioning of certain molecules and receptors that absorb fat. This won't happen if you simply have an occasional meal high in fat. However, once the body adjusts to a higher fat level, it will be better prepared to absorb fat. This is also why you shouldn't repeat splurges too close together. Planning a splurge also gives you the opportunity to do a bit extra in anticipation. This might mean exercising for a bit longer or eating a bit less. All of this will allow you to enjoy your splurge and assuage any guilt that you might otherwise experience.
This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.
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Is there a healthy way to splurge on food?