A Dietitian Puts Extreme Clean Eating Claims To The Test And The Results Arent Pretty


Clean eating is associated with the healthy lifestyle and body beautiful that is promoted by many online bloggers. While the word is heavily being implemented in social media, there has never been any agreement on what it genuinely entails or any comprehensive analyzes examining the potential benefits of a clean eating lifestyle as a whole.

However, the core principles that the big names in this movement champion appear to be: remove processed food; reduce salts intake; eat more vegetables; prefer whole grains; eliminate refined sugar; reduce alcohol. For some, you also need to be gluten, dairy, and soya free and to eat raw( depending on how militant you are, food has to be entirely uncooked or only mildly heated ). And if you want to be completely clean you should probably be vegan, too. Quite a list, then.

And there are also some big players online including Food Babe, who was voted by Time Magazine as one of the 30 most influential people on the internet who have significantly influenced this trend.

While some of the principles of clean eating are in line with the best available evidence for losing weight or preventing ill health such as eating plenty of fruit and vegetables, sticking to wholegrains and limiting processed food there are plenty of others that dont stand up to scrutiny. It has been repeatedly proven that dietary limiteds such as a dairy-free diet or gluten-free diet are nutritionally substandard and studies have linked the introduction of a gluten-free diet with increased levels of psychological distress in coeliacs including depression and anxiety.

Some people find it difficult to understand why dietitians and doctors are against the clean eating phenomenon when there are still people eating burgers for breakfast and obesity is on the rise. However, some clean eating is sensationalist promotion of non-evidence based, and extremely restrictive, lifestyles that demonise everyday food essentials. And that can lead followers into having a sense of shame and failing for not eradicating unclean foods 100% of the time so you can see where the negativity from healthcare professionals stems from.

There is significant research disproving many of the principles of the diet. Below are some of the big claims and why they dont stack up.

Clean eating can cure disease

Some clean eating bloggers claim to have cured themselves of cancers. The kinds of medical conditions that clean feeing is supposed to remedy are often conditions that are not well understood, such as chronic tirednes, which leaves sufferers desperate for a answer. And where there is desperation there is always person willing to sell assist however unscientific.

One of the big names in clean eating who believes her diet controls her PoTS where standing up causes a fall in blood furnish to the heart and brain and the heart races to compensate intestinal matters and headaches through her technique of a dairy free, gluten free vegan diet is Deliciously Ella. PoTS, however, has no proven link with food except that a higher salt intake is recommended to help keep blood pressure up. Having too little salt in the diet can worsen their own problems. The reason that Ella is so much better now is much more likely to be age-related as we know that for 80% of sufferers, symptoms vanish between the ages of 19 -2 4. Ella was diagnosed aged 19 in 2011 and has been blogging about diet for four years.

One thing diet may have helped with though is Ellas gastroinestinal issues. Her technique of eating has a diet that is very low in fermentable carbohydrates or FODMAPs which have been robustly proven to be a cause of Irritable Bowel Syndrome( IBS) which affects up to one in five people.

Clean eating attains you happy !

Many of the clean eating bloggers promote themselves as a model of how you could seem if you follow their lifestyle. But it is important to remember that it is their job to seemed the route they do. If you have a full-time task and a busy life, the chances of you cooking every snack from scratch, never having to grab a sandwich from the supermarket for lunch and being able to work out for two hours a day are very slim. If you try to model their own lives on theirs you are more than likely to end up feeling like a failure because it is simply not realistic.

Interestingly, many clean feeing bloggers claim to have been depressed before clean eating. There has been lots of research into dietary therapies for depression by increasing an amino acid called tryptophan which is a precursor for serotonin production in the brain, which in turn influences good mood. To date , no trial has conclusively proven that increasing dietary tryptophan improves serotonin production or depressive symptoms but a diet in accordance with clean feeing actually has the potential to be low in essential amino acids such as tryptophan.

What are most likely is that all the attention and apparent public acceptance received during losing weight and improving their appearance has temporarily improved their self-worth.

Clean eating is a good way to lose weight

Clean Eating Alice, 23, is another big name in the game. Alice isnt vegetarian but her diet is very low in carbohydrate. She claims that her diet and exercising regime has immeasurably improved her health and happiness. It was reported that through her version of clean eating and intensive exert, she fell 2st 7lb( 16 kg) and reduced her body fat percentage from 30% to just 15% ~ ATAGEND. Alices reported body fat percentage is regard. The minimum essential fat for a woman is between 10 -1 3 %~ ATAGEND we need this amount to maintain our immune system and maintain healthy hormone levels. Many professional athletes will have a body fat percentage of up to 20% with the normal healthy level around 25%. So holding herself up as a realistic and achievable role model is highly misleading.

Clean eating is good for intestine health

The Helmsley Sisters are just a few of the first to bring the clean eating trend to our attention. Their philosophy aims to help people with their digestion and relationship with food, and teach the importance of intestine health. Their recipes remove gluten, grains and refined sugar( and minimise natural sugars ). However, the majority of people tolerate gluten very well the exceptions are for people with conditions such as coeliac illnes sugar is absorbed so efficiently it has no impact on digestion and grains offer high levels of prebiotics to feed the good bacteria in your intestine. The best thing for gut health is a good, balanced diet.

Clean eating avoids ageing

Many bloggers state that clean eating will maintain you looking youthful. There is some compelling evidence that antioxidants found in fruit and vegetables can prevent premature scalp ageing.

You do, however, also need plenty of good quality protein to maintain the integrity of your scalp and therefore extreme clean feeing could easily undermine the added benefit of the antioxidants.

Clean eating will detox your body

Detox diets are all the rage and the clean eating crew all have their own version of a detox diet. Fortunately , no one needs a detox diet because our liver and our kidneys are always already doing this. Everyone would agree that excessive intake of highly processed food with lots of additives is not a healthy route to eat. However, neither is following a highly restrictive diet for any quantity of time and there is certainly no health benefits associated with detoxing.

Some clean eaters promote an alkaline diet to prevent excess acidity in the body. Ironically, our stomach acid is only slightly less acidic than battery acid so anything you eat will be immediately placed into a highly acidic surrounding where the pH is tightly controlled. You cannot manipulate your bodys pH through diet( as the below tweet suggests) and you dont need to try.

Clean eating constructs you healthier

There are even more extreme examples of clean eating out there including Freelee The Banana Girl who promotes a raw vegan diet of 15 bananas, 40 pieces of fruit and got a couple of kilograms of potatoes a day. She claims that eating this style has cured her weight issues, depression, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue, poor digestion and acne.

It is hard to pin down the most concerning thing about this diet but the fact that Freelee is eating 6.5 times more potassium than is recommended and fosters others to do so is a big one. She even eats 30% more potassium than is shown to cause excess potassium in the blood, which can lead to deadly changes in heart rhythm. That told, whether or not she is absorbing any of the nutrients in her food due to the amount of fibre she is taking in is questionable and if her bowel habits are normal and healthy it is a medical miracle.

Anyone can call themselves a nutritionist and there are many quick courses that dedicate a false air of credibility. There are also no regulations around what people can and cant recommend as being healthy. It should be very hard to maintain a voice of authority in an area in which you are totally unqualified and in a world where your self worth depends on likes and views and followers.

An obsession with clean eating and the shame that is often links with eating foods considered to be dirty can also lead to mental health issues such as orthorexia, an eating disorder associated with obsessive healthy eating. Emmy Gilmore, clinical director of eating disorders clinic Recover, even suggested in a recent BBC documentary that many UK clean feeing bloggers had sought assistance from her clinic. So rather than watch videos of supposedly physically healthy daughters as gospel, its better to develop healthy eating habits that come from sound scientific advisory opinions and which balance all the nutrients your body needs.

And if youre trying professional advice, find a nutritionist with a degree or a registered dietitian its a protected title so you can be certain that the advice youre dedicated will be scientifically robust.

TheSophie Medlin, Lecturer in Nutrition and Dietetics, King’s College London

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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