What is “Clean eating”?

Clean eating has become a social media sensation (#cleaneating). On the face of it, it is desirable to consume more fresh, whole foods and limit highly-processed foods with added sugars and excess salt. So too saturated fats. But what to do the experts say?

The dietitians:

Often, proponents of ‘clean eating’ advocate harsh restriction of foods and food groups, which may have adverse health consequences (e.g. forbidding carbohydrates may rob the body of whole grains, which may increase the risk of gut issues). Moreover, not all ‘processed’ foods are bad for health. Sure, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugars, but frozen or canned veggies that are ‘processed’ may help you to meet your daily quota. Likewise, dairy foods, which are often excluded from ‘clean’ menus, can be vital contributors to calcium needs. Beware any protocol that excludes entire food categories.


The psychologists:

Categorising foods as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ can create an adversarial relationship with food, which may lead to obsessive restriction and even eating disorders such as orthorexia. Demonising foods or food groups may also lead to erratic restriction/binge patterns. Consider instead neutralising value judgments of foods and instead being guided by a combination of knowledge and desire. #permission

Bottom line: Aim to consume a balanced, diverse diet prioritising fruit and vegetables. Limit consumption of red and processed meats, highly-processed or refined foods and alcohol.

If you’re tempted to embark on a spring healthy eating spree, check in with a dietitian first. Our nutrition pros would love to answer your questions! #keepsoaring


blank About Author


Dual passions for food and health led Soaring Health dietitian Liz to study dietetics, but what really drives her is seeing the tangible differences dietary changes can make to a person’s health and wellbeing – from managing disease symptoms to sustainable weight loss. With a professional goal to “allow my patients to become the best they can be” by translating nutrition science into practical, realistic food recommendations, Liz has a refreshingly human approach.

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