Clean eating is the belief that eating whole foods in their most natural state and avoiding processed foods such as refined sugar offers certain health benefits. Variations on the clean eating diet may also exclude gluten, grains, and dairy products and advocate the consumption of raw food.
The media associated the clean eating concept with Ella Mills, Natasha Corrett, and the Hemsley sisters; although by 2016 Mills and the Hemsley sisters had distanced themselves from the phrase and said they never used it.
The idea of clean eating has been criticized as lacking scientific evidence for its claims, and in extreme cases posing health risks by cutting whole food groups out of the diet. It has also been claimed that processed foods have been modified to prevent diseases and therefore have some health benefits (in the form of food safety) over a clean eating diet. Additional criticisms have said various diseases are linked to clean eating, such as osteoporosis and "orthorexia nervosa". Other health risks associated with this diet include food poisoning and diseases from parasites.
Clean eating can cause an increase in the risk of osteoporosis due to a lack of calcium normally provided through the consumption of dairy products. In April 2017, The Telegraph reported that the National Osteoporosis Society in Britain had described clean eating as "a 'ticking timebomb' that could leave young people with weak bones" due to cutting dairy products out of their diet. In 2017 it was the subject of a BBC documentary titled Clean Eating - The Dirty Truth.
Orthorexia nervosa is supposed condition where someone is obsessed with healthy eating to the point where it results in mental and physical health issues. Someone with orthorexia nervosa may suffer from "vitamin and mineral imbalances"obsessive-compulsive disorder, and could show signs of malnutrition or anorexia from a clean eating diet that lacks a variety of food sources or provides enough food.
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- Media related to Clean eating at Wikimedia Commons