What is a clean diet and is it true that it will provide you with a lot of health

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What is the essence of a clean diet

Clean eating is a principle of building a diet based on choosing whole foods and avoiding processed and refined foods that contain chemicals and preservatives.

Despite the fact that this trend is actively promoted in social networks and books with recipes for “clean food”, the term itself is not clearly defined and is more of an approach to nutrition than a strictly defined regimen like keto or paleo diet .

Typically, a clean diet includes vegetables and fruits, whole grains and dairy products, legumes, nuts, seeds, and high quality animal or plant sources of protein.

You can also find instructions to choose organic food, focus on seasonal fruits and vegetables, and when buying ready-made products, choose options with a shorter list of ingredients and less added sugar .

Can a Clean Diet Really Make You Slim and Healthy?

A clean diet does include a lot of healthy foods and reduces the amount of those that can harm the body.

For example, WHO recommends eating more vegetables and fruits (at least five servings a day), choosing whole grains, and reducing sugar and trans fats in the diet, which is basically a clean diet.

But since this approach to nutrition does not have clearly defined rules, the list of acceptable and prohibited foods varies greatly. For example, some options suggest excluding any dairy products, gluten-containing grains, any food with added sugar, and this no longer meets the recommendations of diet guides and can lead to nutrient, vitamin and micronutrient deficiencies.

Moreover, switching to homemade food instead of fast food, and a strict raw vegan diet can be called a clean diet. It is clear that the results of these modes will be different, and therefore it will not be possible to draw specific conclusions about the benefits of such an approach to nutrition.

At the same time, strict restrictions are not the best solution – both for maintaining weight and for overall health. It is one thing to reduce the amount of sugar in the diet, and another thing is to carefully check all products for its presence and put an absolute ban on any sweets .

Those who adhere to rigid dietary restrictions are more likely to suffer from eating disorders and mood problems, have more weight and are more concerned about it than people with a flexible attitude to nutrition.

In addition, the strict division of food into “bad” and “good” is directly related to compulsive overeating . In one study, it was calculated that among people with a dichotomous approach to food, 84% periodically suffer from uncontrolled binge eating. At the same time, 75% of those who eat intuitively have never experienced this.

Even giving up one product can increase the number of relapses. So, in a study , one group of losing weight women was forbidden to eat bread, while the other was allowed. As a result, the former had 23% failures from the diet, while the latter had only 6%, and they all lost weight in the same way.

Thus, the division of products into “clean” and “dirty” may not have the best effect on eating habits, and in the worst case, even undermine health.

How a clean diet can hurt

One study interviewed 148 young people (of which 70% were women) and noted that the higher the confidence in the cleanliness and benefits of the diet and the more the respondents sought to follow it, the more pronounced they showed signs of eating disorders , including orthorexia. .

This condition includes the following symptoms:

  • increased attention to the benefits of ingredients and constant checking of labels;
  • complete rejection of certain types of food, such as sugar, carbohydrates, dairy products, meat;
  • compiling a diet from a narrow list of products that are positioned as “healthy” or “clean”;
  • increased interest in what others eat;
  • prolonged planning of meals, sometimes for several hours a day;
  • stress when it is impossible to get “safe” and “healthy” food;
  • an obsession with health or nutrition blogs on social media;
  • in some cases, dissatisfaction with one’s body.

One study interviewed 15 bloggers with orthorexia and found that many start their journey to an eating disorder because of a health problem, then get carried away and can’t stop.

Public approval and an abundance of topical information on the Internet are driving orthorexics to improve the clean diet, eliminating more and more food categories and narrowing down the diet.

Some develop a fear of “bad” foods such as milk, cheese and butter, so that they can no longer physically perceive them, despite the absence of lactose intolerance and other digestive disorders.

Scientists noted that 8 out of 15 orthorexics surveyed had health problems as a result of dietary restrictions, including weight loss, difficulty concentrating, micronutrient deficiencies, amenorrhea.

What is especially sad is that a clean diet looks very healthy, so few people doubt its positive effect on the body. As a survey of more than 1,000 people aged 14-24 showed , no one knows exactly what it is, but 70% consider this approach useful.

At the same time, it is during adolescence that eating disorders most often appear. And then often stay with a person for life.

Should You Try a Clean Diet?

If you want to give up processed and refined foods, eat more vegetables, fruits and whole grains – please. Just do not set strict limits and demonize any food, whether it be sugar, butter or a slice of pizza.

In the same WHO guide , you can find modern ideas about healthy eating without extremes and distortions. But even it should not be taken as a rigid set of rules that cannot be broken.

Take a flexible approach to nutrition, strive for a healthy diet, but do not fixate on it. After all, the stress that inevitably follows an over-concern with one’s food and where it comes from won’t exactly add to one’s health.

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