Intuitive Eating, What is it and What are its Benefits?

Listen to your body. This is the maxim that intuitive eating follows. In this article, we want to talk, in a more concrete way, about this particular philosophy regarding diet.
Intuitive Eating, What is it and What are its Benefits?

Last update: 18 September, 2021

In this article, we’re going to talk about a way of eating which doesn’t involve counting either calories or micronutrients in order to take care of your health. It’s called intuitive eating. It’s the kind of eating that listens to your body’s signals so you know when and what foods to eat.

However, in order to carry out this method successfully, you need to train yourself. Furthermore, you must start from an optimal state of body composition and health. Otherwise, some mechanisms, such as satiation, could work inefficiently. This might lead to weight gain or obesity.

Intuitive eating

Intuitive eating isn’t based on following any specific nutritional plan. As a matter of fact, it means you eat only when you have an appetite. You don’t ever eat to calm yourself down and you avoid consuming foods merely for their good organoleptic characteristics. In fact, with intuitive eating, on one day you might eat five meals, and on another just one or two. It all depends on what your body wants.

It’s important to know how to listen and interpret the signals of your body. In this way, you’ll know if you’re really physiologically hungry.  That’s because sometimes, physiological hunger can be confused with emotional hunger.

With intuitive eating, you satisfy your body’s nutritional requirements every time it “asks”, choosing mainly fresh products. The idea is that your real hunger causes you to make smart choices, dietetically speaking.

Surprisingly, intuitive eating doesn’t tend to restrict ultra-processed foods. Indeed, despite the fact that these foods have been shown to be harmful to health in the medium term, you can introduce them into this diet without worrying. Nevertheless, obviously, the best thing would be not to abuse them. Furthermore, not to allow them to represent a central part of the regime.

Woman eating salad

The benefits of intuitive eating

If you carry out intuitive eating correctly, you could enjoy some of the following benefits:

  • Increased self-esteem.
  • Improved body composition.
  • Increased well-being.
  • A positive impact on mental health.
  • Reduced risk of eating disorders.
  • Improvement of the physiological parameters of your body.

In fact, some of these benefits actually derive from the fasting periods that arise within the practice of intuitive eating. As a matter of fact, there are documented cases of people who are able to go 16 hours without being hungry. This is pretty close to what we know as intermittent fasting.

According to research published in the Annual Review of Nutrition, intermittent fasting has positive effects on weight loss and on the functioning of the metabolism. In fact, many complex diseases could be prevented with the adoption of this approach. In addition, it improves the physiological parameters of the body.

Risks of intuitive eating

Among the main risks of intuitive eating is poor control of the sensation of appetite and satiation. In addition, starting from a basis of being overweight or having a poor nutritional education could also be problematic in the medium term.

Although this diet doesn’t offer information about the foods you can consume, or the calories or nutrients, you should always prioritize your intake of fresh foods.

Needless to say, if you undertake intuitive eating based on the consumption of industrially ultra-processed foods, it could worsen or erode your state of health in the medium term. That’s because these foods contain simple sugars, trans fats, and additives that are bad for your body when you have an excess of them in your diet. Therefore, you should reduce their consumption and always prioritize the presence of fresh foods and foods with high nutritional content.

Woman eating pizza

Intuitive eating, a novel idea with benefits

If you communicate well with your body, intuitive eating could work well for you. Indeed, it can only benefit you if you know how to listen and interpret the signals of your body. However, not everyone will be prepared to follow its precepts.

You should always combine intuitive eating with other healthy habits, such as exercise. For example, it’s important to practice strength exercise frequently, get adequate rest, and regularly expose yourself to sunlight. In this way, you’ll achieve an optimal endogenous synthesis of vitamin D. This is essential to achieve homeostasis in your body.

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