Is it a diet or an eating disorder?

This is my third post about last weekend’s Renfrew Conference for eating disorder professionals. If you missed the two-part post “Perfectionism and eating disorders” you can link to them here: Part 1, Part 2.

Every session I attended was both enjoyable and educational, but one of my favorites was “‘Non-Diet’itians – Integrating Eating Disorders Wisdom in All That We Do,” presented by North Carolina registered dietetian nutritionists Anna Lutz, MPH, RDN, LDN, CEDRD and Katherine Zavodni, MPH, RDN.
The information in this session has spurred some ideas for future blog posts and On Nutrition columns, but I wanted to share some tidbits now, starting with this quote from a 2005 article in International Journal of Epidemiology, “The epidemiology of overweight and obesity: public health crisis or moral panic?

“It is a remarkable fact that the central premise of the current war on fat – that turning obese and overweight people into so-called ‘normal weight’ individuals will improve their health – remains an untested hypothesis.”

Among the recommendations for weight loss “success” from various studies on the subject are:
  • Restrict variety across all food groups.
  • Encourage clients to consume a low-energy, low-fat diet.
Funny…those very things that are recommended to dieters are also common eating disorder behaviors. Why would any scientist or health professional ever encourage someone to adopt disordered eating behaviors, especially when there is no proof that weight loss in and of itself improves health?
I’ll let you chew on that nugget for now. Stay tuned for more on this, and related topics.

Disclosure: As a blogger/writer, my registration fee for this conference was waived, but I paid for my own airfare and hotel. What, where or how much I chose to write about the conference was left to my discretion.