A New York Times op-ed is making the rounds that's focused on the wellness industry and the message is resonating with readers.
In the piece titled "Smash the Wellness Industry," writer Jessica Knoll asks, "Why are so many smart women falling for its harmful, pseudoscientific claims?"
Knoll argues that the "wellness culture encourages an obsession with food and bodies that keeps women from living full and meaningful lives."
It's an industry that, according to the Global Wellness Institute, is worth $4.2 trillion globally.
Knoll writes that, in her opinion, wellness culture is "a dangerous con that seduces smart women with pseudoscientific claims of increasing energy, reducing inflammation, lowering the risk of cancer and healing skin, gut and fertility problems. But at its core, 'wellness' is about weight loss."
Knoll goes on to talk about how she finally ditched the cleanses and fad diets, in favor of a more positive relationship with food.
"It's not a day unless somebody asks me about a diet," said Amy Pleimling, a registered dietitian with Allina Health.
"When it comes to a person making changes, I guess I would just like to caution them on saying, 'Where are you getting your information from?' Is it coming from research or are you just believing the neighbor who is doing the same thing and you want to look like her?" Pleimling said.
Pleimling said she often sees people looking for a quick fix. The work she does with patients is something that needs to be continually managed.
"I really liked how this article talked about intuitive eating and it is more about that relationship with food, that she was trying to point out, and finally kind of feeling that, 'Hey, I'm going to be listening to my body and kind of let that be the guide.' And I do teach that with my patients, as well. It is vital to explore the relationship with food. Things like, not just what we eat but it's why we're eating, why are we stopping, what are we eating but why? How much?" Pleimling explained. "There is that hunger, physical hunger, and then we have this whole other realm to why we eat and it's that emotional eating. Eating when we're stressed, eating for celebrations, that is such a huge part of why we eat. And so it's not that that shouldn't happen, it's just that we need to develop an awareness and then a good relationship from there."
In the op-ed, Knoll writes, "I no longer define food as whole or clean or sinful or a cheat. It has no moral value."
Pleimling added, "That's a rough one for people to grasp. It's always good or bad... So what are we expecting ourselves? Is it this 100% perfection... or is it more, 'Yeah, I can have a little bit of this, a little bit of that, as long as I follow... a healthy lifestyle the majority of the time.' So really sort of being kinder to yourself and kind of accepting that there's all kinds of reasons why we eat and joy and pleasure is one of them."
Knoll also focused a lot on how these "wellness" diets are typically geared towards women and fitting a certain beauty standard set by society. You can read the whole article, here.