Clean eating

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Unrefined whole foods

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.[1][2][3]

The media associated the clean eating concept with Ella Mills,[4] Natasha Corrett, and the Hemsley sisters[5]; although by 2016 Mills and the Hemsley sisters had distanced themselves from the phrase and said they never used it.[6]


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.[7] 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.[8]


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.[9][10][11][12] 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.[13] In 2017 it was the subject of a BBC documentary titled Clean Eating - The Dirty Truth.[14]

Orthorexia nervosa[edit]

Orthorexia nervosa is supposed condition where someone is obsessed with healthy eating to the point where it results in mental and physical health issues.[15] Someone with orthorexia nervosa may suffer from "vitamin and mineral imbalances"[16]obsessive-compulsive disorder[15][16], and could show signs of malnutrition or anorexia from a clean eating diet that lacks a variety of food sources or provides enough food.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "'Clean eating': How good is it for you?". Retrieved 1 July 2017. 
  2. ^ "Clean eating". BBC Good Food. 24 July 2015. Retrieved 1 July 2017. 
  3. ^ "What Is Clean Eating - How to Eat Clean". Fitness Magazine. Retrieved 1 July 2017. 
  4. ^ "Clean Eating: The Dirty Truth: Is Clean Eating the Best Approach to Better Health?". Retrieved 1 July 2017. 
  5. ^ Niven, Lisa (17 January 2017). "What is Clean Eating, Anyway? | British Vogue". Retrieved 1 July 2017. 
  6. ^ "Bad fad – Ruby Tandoh on how clean eating turned toxic | Life and style". The Guardian. 2016-12-13. Retrieved 2017-07-27. 
  7. ^ Fjellström, Christina Maria. "Natural Foods". Encyclopedia of Food and Culture. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Retrieved 13 March 2018. 
  8. ^ Frey, Rebecca J. and Megan Porter. "Whole Foods Vs. Processed Foods". The Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Retrieved 13 March 2018. 
  9. ^ Sophie Medlin (10 September 2016). "A dietitian put extreme 'clean eating' claims to the test". The Independent. Retrieved 1 July 2017. 
  10. ^ London, Jaclyn (29 March 2016). "What Is Clean Eating - Why Clean Eating is Total BS". Retrieved 1 July 2017. 
  11. ^ "Not just a fad: the dangerous reality of 'clean eating'". The Spectator. Retrieved 1 July 2017. 
  12. ^ Clean eating: the good, the bad and the unhelpful. Olivia Willis, ABC News, 11 May 2017. Retrieved 2 July 2017.
  13. ^ 'Clean eating' is a ticking timebomb that puts young at risk of fractures. Laura Donnelly, The Telegraph, 12 April 2017. Retrieved 2 July 2017.
  14. ^ "BBC Two - Horizon, 2017, Clean Eating - The Dirty Truth". 20 February 2017. Retrieved 1 July 2017. 
  15. ^ a b c "Orthorexia". National Eating Disorders Association. Retrieved 14 March 2018. 
  16. ^ a b Davidson, Tish. "Raw Foods Diet". The Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Retrieved 14 March 2018. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]