Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the past year, you will be well aware of the social media inspired fad of ‘clean-eating’. This obsession is more than just losing weight, being fat or skinny. It follows the idea that eating only certain food groups, while eliminating others can make for a healthier and happier you. However, look at recent news and social media and you may see a decline in the activity following this trend. Have we, as a society, finally clocked on to the restrictions and unrealistic lifestyle clean-eating promotes?
Although there is no denying that eating well has a positive impact on our physical and mental health, the extremities of this new fad take this to a whole new level. Clean recipes can be healthy and are good for providing your body with vitamins and minerals
but there is no scientific evidence to support that they are any better for you than any other foods.
What’s the risk?
People who eliminate certain food groups from their diet are more at risk of missing out on vital amino-acids and fats that are needed to keep your body healthy.
Furthermore, dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan diets are not scientifically proved to be any healthier than the typical Mediterranean diet. (This involves lots of fruit and vegetables, carbohydrates and moderate amounts of protein and fat sources). Gluten is not seen to be harmful to those who don’t suffer from a gluten-intolerance. Put it this way: if you drink too much wine and have a hangover, you blame the alcohol. Yet if you eat too much bread and feel bloated, you blame the gluten. You ignore the fact that you may have over-indulged.
Can this be a good thing?
Perhaps, the phenomenon of clean-eating has encouraged us as a society to think more about what we put into our bodies. I’m sure there are a number of people who had never tried an avocado or chia seeds. There haven’t always been beautiful images of them on Instagram. If previously, you had been living on a diet of pizza and microwave burgers, embracing these new foods could only have been beneficial.
So, when does it turn into a negative?
The flip side is that it is taken to extremes. The effect of clean eating can be bad for our bodies. But, it can also be bad for our mental health. ‘Orthorexia’ is a newly developed eating disorder that is caused by the obsession to stick to a strict diet of only ‘pure’ and ‘righteous’ ingredients. The acceleration of orthorexic patients has been fuelled by the clean eating movement.
How do we overcome it?
With the release of new BBC Horizon documentary, Clean Eating: The Dirty Truth, the negativity surrounding the movement has finally been unleashed. Aiming to expose the false claims made, the lack of scientific research supporting clean eating comes to light. Better yet, popular Instagrammers, such as The Food Medic and Carly Rowena have re-defined what clean-eating really is.
Claiming it be ‘restrictive’ and ‘obsessive’, the unrealistic goals it sets are finally being understood.
As people start to take a more flexible response to their diet, there’s hope that the negativity created by obsessive clean-eating will decline.
Diet and health will always have some brand new fad and trend which claims to transform lives for the better. But, now the clean-eating movement is slowly coming to an end, who knows what could be next?