When it comes to food and diet, people usually fall into one of three camps:
The Obsessive: You think about what you put into your body 24/7. Junk food is a strict no-no, and if you do consume some, there is intense guilt and you feel the compulsion to exercise all those empty calories away. You are nitpicky and particular about food.
Neutral: You like to eat just fine, but it’s neither here nor there when it comes to life hobbies or serious time investment. Sure, you cook sometimes and enjoy dinners with friends, but food is food.
The Foodie: Food is your hobby. You love to look at magazines, recipes and anything to do with food. Your palate is tried, tested and true, and no food is off-limits. Who cares if that dessert is overly decedent? Put it on your plate.
New research out of Cornell University about “foodies” — those who Instagram nearly every meal and are up on the latest food trends — has found that those in the latter group are healthier than others. Yep, even healthier than The Obsessives who fret about every morsel they put into their mouths.
“What we find is the typical person who’s an adventurous eater, a person who will try anything, who experiments with all sorts of foods in general, they’re not less healthy,” said Wansink to CBC News, who has also been an advisor to the White House on nutrition policy. “They are lighter and more healthy than the person who’s restrictive in their diet, who’s cutting things out or being picky about what they eat.”
The common perception in society is that people who obsess about their health will be (obviously) more healthy. This study turns that on its head.
“So what I try and encourage people to do is enjoy the food they do eat and maybe experiment with new things,” Wansink said to CBC News. “In some ways, [people need to] become more mindful of the foods that are in front of them rather than dourly looking at something just by its nutrition content and calorie level.”
So hey, if you feel like it, eat to your heart’s content — within reason. This doesn’t give you carte blanche to gorge whenever you feel like it, but it should provide some comfort about your eating habits. Unless you’re an Obsessive. Then maybe buy a Twinkie on the way home.