Is #cleaneating actually making us MORE unhealthy?

Is the #cleaneating trend actually making us MORE unhealthy?! 

Recently, I took a closer look at one study… 

It specifically looked at the effects of the #cleaneating trend in undergraduate students, and how it influences their attitude, behavior, and disordered eating patterns. The study found that undergraduate students who felt clean eating was “healthier” or “for weight loss", showed greater indications of disordered eating patterns, and were more likely to be associated with eating disordered psychopathology. 

Here are a few ways in which clean eating has been found to be potentially harmful:

  1. Clean eating could have negative health consequences that resemble those of an eating disorder, like amenorrhea, osteoporosis, bone fractures, irregular heart beats, difficulty concentrating, depression, etc.
  2. By omitting certain food groups (sugar, carbs, fat) without justification, it could contribute to disordered eating attitudes and behaviors.
  3. Clean eating may mask already existing disordered eating attitudes and behaviors, making it more difficult for individuals to seek help.

The authors noted, “At best, clean eating is nonsense dressed up as health advice.”

Don’t get me wrong, eating whole, fresh, unprocessed foods and making that the majority of your daily diet, is beneficial!

When “eating clean” becomes a problem is when we try to only eat clean foods, and always eliminate “unclean” or “unhealthy”  or “bad” foods.

Because, usually, we take that to mean we are a “bad” person and we’ve “failed.”

Instead, it’s important to find balance with nutrition and start taking the morality out of food by labeling things differently!

“This food is bad!” → “This is more calorie-dense.”

“This food is super clean and healthy!” → “This is more nutrient-dense.”

“This is my cheat meal for today!” → “This is a fun treat I’m enjoying today!”

I believe in making all food available to people. No food is off limits. I provide clients the skills needed to make healthy choices and choose foods with intention. I teach them how to structure a plate, how to gauge portion sizes, and how to choose foods with intention rather than being led by cravings, emotions, or social pressures. 

I will never shame you or restrict you or tell you to stop eating ‘bad foods’. 

Click here to learn how to not feel guilty eating a donut (or any food you love!)

Ready for more personalized support with your health and an actual sustainable solution?... CLICK HERE TO TAKE OUR QUIZ TO SEE WHICH ONE OF OUR HEALTH COACHING PROGRAMS IS RIGHT FOR YOU! 

Reference: Ambwani, S., Shippe, M., Gao, Z., & Austin, S. B. (2019). Is #cleaneating a healthy or harmful dietary strategy? Perceptions of clean eating and associations with disordered eating among young adults. Journal of eating disorders, 7, 17.

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