Fitness and health is the new buzzword in the times of social media. The democratic nature of the internet means that everyone; cousin, friend and colleague can disseminate their health advise. However, experts caution against jumping on every bandwagon on your quest for better health.
‘Clean eating’ is the latest buzzword to hit the health sphere. The term was supposedly coined by writer Tosca Reno, who wrote the Eat-Clean Diet.
Eating clean means different things for different people. The main idea is that people who eat clean shun processed foods, and go on “superfood” cleanses.
The problem is that there no scientific census on what eating clean actually means. According to Science Based Medicine: “Categorizing foods as or diets as “clean” is clearly a successful marketing strategy, but is less useful when it comes to daily decision-making about good nutrition.”
Science Based Medicine says often advice given by the proponents of clean eating is underpinned by good scientific evidence, however, there is a number of people who espouse pseudoscience and naturalistic fallacy.
Vilifying certain foods and exalting others can lead to an eating disorder called Orthorexia.
“Orthorexia is someone who is in search of perfect eating, and that ‘perfect eating’ is a pathology because it incorporates all healthy eating rules including those that are mythical or don’t apply,” registered clinical dietician, Tabitha Hume, explained in a previous interview.
Marie Spano an American based dietitian, says there is no logic in cutting out processed foods entirely.
“Processing often improves the safety of our food supply and increases the bioavailability of some nutrients and antioxidants,” she explains.
On their quest for health, some people will stop eating meat and not replace it with enough protein from good sources. The health implications of cutting out whole groups of food such as meat can end up affecting your bones.
“[Meat] is a good source of protein which helps building and the repairing of tissues, muscles and bones. It’s also very high in iron. Helps with the formation of haemoglobin which is found in the red blood cells. Haemoglobin transports oxygen to different parts of the body. That way it prevents iron deficiency anemia,” explains Registered Dietician, Zanele Ntungwa.
There are no single nutrients or vitamins that can make you healthy. The Harvard Medical Review says instead, there is a short list of key food types that together can dramatically reduce your risk for the disease.
Eat more of these foods: fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish and seafood, vegetable oils, beans, nuts, and seeds.
Eat less of these foods: whole milk and other full-fat dairy foods, red meat, processed meats, highly refined and processed grains and sugars, and sugary drinks.
Demonising certain foods will lead to you avoiding things that are not only unnecessary to avoid, but are actually dangerous to avoid, which leads to deficiency diseases or malnutrition.
Fixating on healthy eating can also lead to mental disorders she says:”It also leads to psychiatric issues because to be completely frightened of something is not okay.”
– Additional reporting: Science Based Medicine