What is it?
Clean eating is basically avoiding any foods that are processed or refined and replacing these with foods that are in their natural state.
Are there benefits?
It is a great idea, in that the ‘clean’ foods consumed are those that should make up the bulk of our diets. These include fruits, vegetables, legumes (such as beans and chickpeas), lean meats, nuts, seeds and in most cases wholegrain cereals and dairy.
The only issue with clean eating is when people use it as an excuse to cut out whole food groups, the main ones being cereals and dairy. This is worrying as these food groups contain important nutrients such as protein, fibre, carbohydrate and calcium and cutting them out may lead to deficiencies.
It scares me when I see Instagram and Facebook posts from people claiming to be eating ‘clean’ when it is quite obvious that they are really just eating meat and vegetables, with dairy and carbohydrate sources nowhere to be seen. This in my head sets off alarm bells pointing towards unhealthy relationships and practices associated with food, that can lead to the development of an eating disorder.
Overall there is nothing wrong with clean eating, I am a strong advocate for healthy eating and physical activity and everything in moderation. Clean eating is absolutely fine as long it doesn’t become an obsession and is not used as an excuse to cut out food groups, a sign of disordered eating.
Read more about eating disorders here.
What’s the verdict?
Eat a balanced diet, eat what makes you feel good and assists your body functioning at its optimal. Food is fuel and not a fashion statement. If you consume everything in moderation and do regular physical activity there is no reason why you shouldn’t have a healthy relationship with food and your body.