When I first became familiar with the term diet culture, I thought it referred to a trend of constant food deprivation or the mentality of always trying to lose weight. Clearly, this is not an ideal mindset to dwell in for any length of time. However, this is not a full definition of diet culture.
Diet culture is the idea that a "healthy" (low calorie) diet and thin figure are weighted with moral virtue. This is also not an unfamiliar concept. Starting even in adolescence, the concept of value being connected to body size is rampant, especially for women.
I do find this idea to be difficult because I value health, and an overweight body is less healthy than a body at an ideal weight. But, it is a battle to divorce in my mind the idea that thin is desirable but has no bearing on our value as a person and is also not indicative of our character.
And extension of this idea that weight has moral virtue is also the concept that individual foods have moral virtue. We’ve all heard that some foods are good and others are bad. Now, of course, there are some foods that really are not good for our overall health when consumed frequently, but when people start to feel guilt about eating something simply because it’s a “bad food,” that’s when the diet culture starts to cross the line.
Some essential components to lose the grip that our diet culture has on us include rejecting labels such as good or bad food and understanding what food is made of. Essentially, it’s beneficial for all of us to learn about macro nutrients. Our bodies need a certain amount of each macro nutrient, including carbohydrates, fats, and protein. If every once in a while a carbohydrates come from a doughnut, that’s ok. No integrity or virtue is lost. It’s all just numbers.
Here at Core Cakes, we wanted to develop a baked good that was balanced in their macro nutrient values. Doughnuts and cakes usually have high carbohydrates and low protein. Because of this, not much cake can fit in a day of balanced macro numbers. By bringing the carbohydrates down and adding whey protein to our mixes, it is much easier to eat one without breaking the macro numbers bank.
But whether you count your macros daily on a smart phone app, or simply gauge your caloric and macro nutrient intake in a general sense, it is essential to buck off the shackles which which our diet culture tries to bind us and value ourselves and food for what we really are.