The Kardashian family and diet culture have become practically synonymous, whether it’s due to Kim’s diet being widely ridiculed at this year’s Met Gala or Khloe promoting her flat-belly shake. The latest sister to be embroiled in the diet and wellness controversy is Kourtney Kardashian.
NEWSWEEK A mother of three, who just launched Lemme — a company that sells what she described on Instagram as “the cleanest vitamins and supplements” — told The Wall Street Journal That her son, Mason, 12, hasn’t eaten French fries in a year.
I used to spend my one-on-one time with my son [Mason]”I told the Wall Street Journal,” and he said, “Mom, I need McDonald’s french fries today, please. It’s been a year since I’ve had it. I was like, ‘Today isn’t today, sorry.'” She later added, ‘When I had a mason around the time when my health journey really started. He’s so smart. He’d tell me, ‘The person was bad because they let me have Cheetos.’
Although some people on the internet supported Kardashian’s food choices for her family, most were horrified by the idea of not letting the child eat French fries. One user tweeted, “At least get him some french fries! kourtneykardash sweet potato fries are the best!” But even this ideology is flawed, according to experts.
“Sweet potatoes are not more nutrient dense than regular potatoes,” said anti-diet nutritionist Kristen Byrne, MPH, RD, LDN. NEWSWEEK. “That’s just a really good marketing idea that people put on it.”
The biggest fallacy, Byrne said, is the idea that food restriction in children is healthy or good.
“The most obvious effect… is that these ‘bad’ foods become taboo, like, you can only eat them once a year, you can only eat them on vacation, you can only eat them at friends’ homes, which creates a kind of madness.” “It sends the message that you can’t control yourself about these foods…and that just becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.”
Another danger, Byrne added, citing the example of Cheetos, is the idea that foods carry a moral charge that reflects on the eater.
“I work with a lot of clients who have an eating disorder or an eating disorder, and there’s always a backstory,” she said. NEWSWEEK. “Really well-meaning parents often assert that some foods are good, and some foods are bad. You are good if you eat good foods; you are bad if you eat bad foods…It is full of guilt and shame and it is just a horrible way to live.”
Byrne, who hasn’t treated Kourtney or any of the Kardashian family, doesn’t blame the mother of three, and it would be difficult. For one thing, the pressure to be skinny in Hollywood is enormous although thankfully it’s starting to unravel a bit thanks to the anti-diet and fat liberation movements, and stars rebelling in the face of fat phobia (case in point: Last night’s Emmy win for Lizzo watch out for Big Grrrrls).
But our thoughts about dieting carried over to us and became gospel, Byrne said, “That’s what our culture told her. That’s what her parents probably told her. That’s what her Hollywood peers told her. It’s not just her.”
In her interview with The Wall Street Journal, Kourtney discussed her childhood, saying, “It was the ’80s! We had really unhealthy food in our house. Everyone ate potato chips, luncheon caps, and cookies that were pink and white with sprinkles.”
Journalist Christy Harrison, MPH, RD, author Anti-DietByrne said, NEWSWEEK“As a mother to a young child, I don’t want to criticize anyone else’s parenting choices because I know that parents try to do their best for their children. We receive many messages in this culture that it is best to serve only ‘healthy’ foods and avoid ‘junk food’,” So it’s understandable for parents to think they should put strict limits on foods that are seen as unhealthy.” “Unfortunately, what we see in the literature on eating disorders — and what I’ve seen in my own clinical and personal experience — is that when certain foods are banned, they can become almost irresistible, which drives kids to [and adults] To overeat or eat these foods to the point of feeling uncomfortable.
“I generally advise parents to incorporate all kinds of foods – including those they may think of as ‘junk’ – into their children’s menus on a fairly regular basis, to allow them to see these foods as neutral and feel comfortable around them. This helps children to Learn to self-regulate with those foods, which is important when they inevitably have access to them at friends’ homes or out and about. Again, I know we all try to do what’s best for our kids, so I never want to shame parents for their food choices, but I I think a lot of people don’t realize the unintended consequences of trying to promote healthy eating by restricting certain foods.”
Byrne also noted that there is an intersection between fatphobia and other pressing social issues as well, which is part of the reason the discussion is so much more complex than people realize.
“People don’t often think of this type of diet as being related to what’s going on in the culture in general,” she said. “All of these things are very rooted in a sense of individual responsibility and the choices you make … that define everything in your life, and I think, as a culture more broadly, we realize that’s not true.
“There’s all this systemic stuff. I’m talking about racism, sexism, homophobia, all these other forms of oppression….the elements of diet fit in with that, and it becomes clear that you don’t have to fit in; not everyone needs to make the same choices” .
NEWSWEEK She got in touch with Kourtney Kardashian; Kourtney’s mother, Kris Jenner; Kim kardashian; and Khloe Kardashian for comment.
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