Will High Tech Nutrition Save Us?

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These days, there’s so much scientific and technological information about nutrition available to us. The challenge is, people are still as confused as ever and not quite sure what to do or what to eat. Our health as a world is still plummeting, nutrition related diseases are on the rise, and weight challenges are with us more than ever. So many of us have been taught that science will save us, and in so many ways it has – but there’s a hidden side to the technology of food and the science of nutrition that it’s imperative that we understand. In this informative video from IPEtv, Emily Rosen, Director of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, discusses how to navigate through all the scientific confusion to find a place of inspiration and empowerment.

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Here is a transcript of this week’s video:

Hi, I’m Emily Rosen, Chief Operating Officer for the Institute for the Psychology of Eating.

Today’s Topic: Will High Tech Nutrition Save Us?

Technology and science has no doubt been very good to us. We have so much to thank it for – your computer, your car, your cell phone, the lights in your home, a plane flight to a favorite vacation spot. We count on science to unlock the secrets of the universe and solve the problems of life. We expect a lot from it, and by and large, it delivers.
But what about nutrition?

Will genetically engineered foods lead us to the promised land?

Will we find in high tech nutrition the answers to our health woes?

Oftentimes, our view of the world powerfully informs how we do life in the most practical ways.

By seeing the universe as if it were one big complicated machine, we inevitably view the body as if it were a machine. We exercise it, jog it, test it, and analyze it. We don’t see the body as a whole, dynamic, integrated organism but as isolated parts. We consume B-vitamins for the nervous system, vitamin E for the cardiovascular system, amino acids for the musculoskeletal system, and even suntan pills for the “tanning system.” We appear to be nourishing the body scientifically, but in reality we are not so much caring for the body as we are doing things to it.

The body becomes a robot, commandeered by the mind’s concept of how a body should function.

By relying solely on outside information about the body – from books, doctors, and other experts – we are alienated from our innate body intelligence. The richness, emotion, sensitivity, drama, and uncertainty that make the body “human” are forgotten. What is left is a shell that runs on nutrients. Thus, we view food merely as a collection of chemicals: milk for calcium, Brussels sprouts for anticancer nutrients, grains for fiber, and oranges as a convenient package for vitamin C. We no longer consider how our food was prepared, who prepared it, how it feels, where it was grown, or even IF it was grown. Eating is not a festive and sensuous experience, nor is nourishment symbolic of love , connectedness, nurturance, and fulfillment. Rather, nourishment is reduced to “nutrition” – vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates, and facts – just the hard, cold facts.

Of course, there are important benefits to reducing food to its basic elements. Unlocking the secrets of the molecular nature of food has given rise to the science of nutrition and to important discoveries in our knowledge of health and medicine. Problems arise, however, when we oversimplify food. By reducing food to its chemical components alone, we lose the nuances of eating. It is no different from discussing a great Rembrandt by analyzing the pigments in the paint.

Advertisers are quick to capitalize on dreams of technological perfection by offering “the most complete nutritional system,” “everything your body needs,” and “the formula for ultimate performance.”

They sell and we buy imagined nutritional perfection.

Many people interested in losing weight place unrealistic expectations in technology by believing that some day soon science will discover a new pill that will make us thin. We’ll be able to eat all we want without getting fat. Science will even manufacture synthetic fats and sugars that have no calories so we can enjoy all our favorite foods without guilt.

Whether or not technology can provide these innovations without hidden side effects that harm the body is debatable. The important point, however, is this: By holding false promises about what may or may not happen in the future, we stop ourselves from changing now. Rather than engage in the process of transforming our habits, a process capable of producing the lasting change we seek, we often choose to live with the dream of a quick-fix solution through technology.

So let’s keep discovering new facts about our food, new nutrients that can prolong life, and new ways to dive into our genetics to unlock the hidden code of the body.

But let’s also remember to eat real whole food, listen to nature, bask in the sun, breathe fresh air, protect and care for the land, drink clean water, and love the body and the life we’ve been given.

I hope this was helpful. Please email us at info@psychologyofeating.com if you have specific questions and we will be sure to get back to you.

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