Negative comments on eating habits have adverse effects

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Negative comments on eating habits have adverse effects

By Jaime Watts, Columnist

With every new year comes New Year’s resolutions. Many of these resolutions revolve around healthy eating habits and diets. Because of this, many people might experience pointless and ignorant comments about what they are eating.

I have experienced these comments and many of my friends have experienced them as well. Whether someone receives comments such as, “Wow, you sure are eating a lot,” or, “You’re so skinny, you should eat more,” any negative comment can have harmful effects. The comments stick with you.

It is no one’s business to comment on what someone is eating or how much they are eating. It is simply unnecessary. Even if you are concerned about someone’s health and diet, that is not a positive and productive way to go about it. It is rude, condescending and useless. It especially leaves a lasting effect if that person may have an eating disorder.

I have even heard my friends who are vegan or vegetarian encounter rude comments from people if they decide to eat something not aligned with their diet. It does not directly affect you if a vegetarian decides to eat a piece of chicken.

The people I know who have heard these types of comments are all female, but this might happen to men as well. Men might receive comments about how they are not eating enough to “bulk up” because being muscular is seen as a societal standard. It’s also a typical norm to believe men eat a lot of food, so no one would question that.

According to an article from the American Psychiatric Association, “Eating disorders are the third most common diagnosis in adolescent females; they are far less prevalent in young males.” However, the article also states that “men with eating disorders are more likely to experience concurrent depression and are less likely to access mental health services …”

Anorexia, an eating disorder where one obsesses over losing weight and limits his or her food intake or refuses to eat, is the third most common chronic disease in young people. It is not a disorder that should be taken lightly.

Even if just one of these comments intended to come across as innocent, and the person did not know the comment could be triggering, why bother saying it anyway?

Some of my friends have experienced comments about how the food they are eating is unhealthy. Something like, “Oh, that has a lot of sugar in it.” Most likely, that person knows what they are eating is not the best. They do not need someone else pointing it out.

Most people know their own eating habits. I know when I am eating something that is not the best for me or if I am eating more than normal. Unnecessary comments about it add nothing substantial. If you are actually concerned about someone’s health, discuss it after the fact, in private and with good intentions. Otherwise, forever hold your peace.

Jaime is a junior in LAS.

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