The Clean Eating Illusion

The Clean Eating Illusion

“Clean eating” – You may have heard the term, but what is it all about and is there any merit to it?


While there is no official definition of clean eating, the term is widely used in the online and consumerism sphere (think social media and advertising) alongside claims of healthy lifestyles, weight loss, and health benefits. At the tame end of the spectrum, the core principles behind clean eating tend to be – eliminating processed foods, reducing salt, refined sugar intake, reducing alcohol intake and eating more fruit and vegetables. Great, we say! However, some clean eating guidelines then go as far as cutting out gluten, dairy, soy, and eating only uncooked foods. An extreme example is the raw vegan intake promoted by one particular clean eating advocate of 15 bananas, 40 pieces of fruit, and a few kilos of potatoes per day… yikes!


Some of the principles above are in line with evidence-based practice for weight loss and health. However, others can be sensationalised non-evidence-based ideas that are restrictive, promote unhealthy relationships with food, or even eliminate entire food groups unnecessarily.


So how do you know what advice is best? Remember that these online ‘gurus’ are often not qualified and what may have worked for them, is regularly not based on evidence and not likely to suit you. Eating well is not a cookie-cutter approach and requires the consideration of a wide range of factors to find what is best for each individual.


While clean eating may have some merit in encouraging less junk and more vegetables, often people following these guidelines associate shame or failure for consuming ‘unclean’ foods and this can lead to obsessions with food or mental health issues. The term can also be misleading with clean or raw treats often containing large amounts of calories due to their high dried fruit, nut, seed, and oil content.


The bottom line is that it is not necessary to label our food as unclean or clean. We encourage a wide variety of healthy and enjoyable foods each day! Chat to our team for professional advice on a well-balanced, individually tailored, healthy eating plan just for you.