Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial. 1 Corinthians 10:23 CSB
Perhaps you have heard that statement before. It comes from one of the all-time most read books ever written. When I think of this verse, it makes me think of a motto of the American Dietetic Association (now Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) from when I was in school. (And vice versa, when I hear that motto, I think of this verse.)
What is that motto? “All foods can fit.” It was the mantra of the 2000s. American Dietetic Association position papers from 2002 and 2007 on “communicating food and nutrition information” both promote this idea.
No Guilt, No Shame
On the one hand, it is a great concept. It is not my job to make anyone feel guilty about their food choices. I eat Fritos. I even made some amazing sugar cookies that I will share with you someday. There are also political reasons for taking this stance, but I will choose to not talk about that right now.
Another great reason to take that position is that nutrition is a baby science. People have been studying physics and chemistry for centuries. We have only been studying nutrition for about 200 years. (I know, that sounds like a long time. But other sciences have been studies 5 times as long.)
Cause and effect are very hard to study, and it is even harder to isolate it to a single food or nutrient. And this is why one day eggs (or butter, coffee, chocolate…) are bad, and the next they are good. (By the way, if you don’t mind hearing profanity, you should check out John Oliver explaining science.)
Allowed vs. Beneficial
But, just because something is “allowed,” does that make it beneficial? Let’s start out with something fairly easy: chocolate. Chocolate comes from cocoa. It has some phytochemicals that provide health benefits. If you Google it, there are varying answers to how much will lead to health benefits. However, when I did my Mediator Release Test, I was moderately reactive – chocolate could be causing me migraines. The horror!
Another one to consider is peppermint. Google it, and you can find a whole list of conditions for which peppermint is beneficial (including headaches and migraine). But is it beneficial for me? Absolutely not! It was one of two things that I am highly reactive to. After eliminating it for a few months, I used some regular toothpaste one time. Boom – migraine.
So, while many will still tell you that all foods can fit, I will tell you that you can choose whatever you want, but not all foods are beneficial.