The biggest trending hashtag in the fitness and health scene, an ultimate instagram buzz word that comes with connotations of rainbow smoothie bowls, spiralised courgetti and smashed avocado. So, what’s the clean eating craze all about? myvitamins finds out…
What does it mean?
Essentially, clean eating means eating minimally processed, planted based foods such as fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds and protein. The diet is centred around avoiding excess sugar, gluten and dairy, it also encourages eating 5 times a day.
This is where it all started, and this sense of the word is completely and utterly healthy.
So, what’s the problem?
While well-intended, the idea of eating fresh, healthy, homemade foods has been seriously misinterpreted by thousands. Promoted by food bloggers, and nutritional ‘guru’s’ on social media, the term has caused people to obsess into unhealthy habits. Such ‘habits’ include encouraging others to cut out whole food groups such as carbohydrate and gluten.
What was proposed to be a healthy habit has been fuelling a rise in a form of anorexia named orthorexia. Orthorexia a disorder in which people become obsessed with eating foods which are believed to be healthy. In extreme cases, individuals stick purely to water, in the of the fear of everything else being unhealthy. The UK Eating Disorder charity, BEAT has reported a rise in the number of calls from young people who have be affected by this Instagram craze.
Our advice from our Nutritionist would be:
There is no such thing as a single, flawless way to eat, each person is different and has different needs, to cut out whole food groups such as carbohydrates is worrying. Yes, sufferers of Celiac disease and those with a gluten intolerance must avoid gluten for obvious health reasons, but the idea that cutting out gluten will cause weight loss isn’t necessarily true. Foods marketed as ‘gluten-free’ have a strange association with instant weight loss, but really, such foods can be ladened with fat or sugar, this more often than not is done to make the foods more palatable. Eating gluten will NOT harm you, unless you have a genetic predisposition to being allergic or intolerant to it, otherwise you are fine to eat it (yippee!).
The best way to “eat clean” is to make fresh food yourself using a variety of nutrients from wholesome, natural ingredients. Stick to sound, evidence-based, nutritional guidance from a qualified Nutritionist, Dietitian or Doctor. Take anything you see on social media with a pinch of salt, it’s not always true and a lot can be misconceived.
If you, or anyone you know has been affected by Orthorexia, visit b-eat.co.uk for help, advice and support.