SHOULD YOU CLEAN UP YOUR DIET?
GOOGLE ‘ clean eating’ and you’ll be met with more than 27 million results.
There are also Facebook pages, books and a magazine dedicated to it, but what is clean eating and does it live up to the hype?
Generally, clean eating is all about consuming natural, unprocessed foods, focusing on fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains.
Accredited practising dietitian and spokeswoman for the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) Charlene Grosse said there are some elements of a cleaneating diet that the DAA recommends, but it also has some potential problems.
“We support decreasing discretionary items, which means limiting foods that are high in added sugar, saturated fats and low in fibre and nutrients and increasing core foods such as non-starchy vegetables, whole fruits, lean meats, nuts, seeds and whole grains,” Ms Grosse said.
“However, in a world where many people struggle to meet the recommended daily serves of vegetables, the idea of only consuming fresh or organic may be unrealistic.
“Frozen and salt-reduced canned varieties are an alternative form to fresh fruit and vegetables and can be included as part of a healthy balanced diet.”
Other potential problems include that some clean-eating diets advocate going gluten-free, which Ms Grosse said was unnecessary unless you are diagnosed with coeliac disease, or recommended eating only raw food, which may leave you devoid of some nutrients.
She said key nutrients to monitor when on a cleaneating diet are protein, zinc, iron, omega 3, calcium, vitamin B12 and vitamin D.
“There is merit in increasing core foods and reducing discretionary foods, however it needs to be realistic and manageable in the longer term to be a lifestyle change rather than a passing phase,” Ms Grosse said.
“For the general population, the best diet (for weight and overall health) is one that is based on the Australian Dietary Guidelines, which is sustainable in the long term (and) based on the strongest evidence.”