Experts say moms with disordered eating (almond moms) can create children with disordered eating and/or socio-emotional issues.
There has been a lot of talk about almond moms lately. Was your mom an almond mom? For those of you who are not familiar, these are the moms who ate a handful of almonds a day and claimed they were not hungry enough for a meal. They often did not eat at family dinners or enjoy meals on their own. Many women have come out on social media explaining how their mother’s behaviors shaped their relationship with food. Many users ended the videos asking, “Who else had an almond mom?”
Extensive research like this article shows that children of parents with eating disorders or disordered relationships with food will themselves develop eating disorders. Children of moms with eating disorders exhibit compromised development and greater risk towards problems in feeding and eating behaviors. There is also a higher risk of psychological and socio-emotional difficulties. There is data like this paper that reveals Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) in general have been linked to obesity. These ACEs can come in many forms, with living with someone who is mentally ill, for example, counting as an ACE. These articles encourage physicians and mental health professionals to take on an active role in facing these issues and tailoring treatment plans for both those who suffer from eating disorders and their children.
Patients should know they are not alone and feel empowered to discuss their childhood and how that has affected their current relationship with food. From there, progress can be made to address the roots of these emotional relationships and current practices surrounding meals. We are all somewhat a product of our upbringing! Addressing and discussing our past traumas can help us grow and develop new habits. Did you have an almond mom? Share below.
Eva Shelton, M.D.
Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women's Hospital