The phenomenon of clean eating has overtaken social media, in hashtags and pictures posted to Facebook and Instagram. But none of these limited platforms definitively declare what the term means—is it a diet or a lifestyle? Therefore, Lauren Torrisi recently felt compelled to complete a post on the concept for ABC News.
Torrisi discovered that there are some variations amongst what the term should officially mean; specific experts have specifications they chose to follow. However, one directive seems definitive—hone your diet in on whole foods and avoid packaged meals and items. According to David Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center, clean eating truly focuses on the consumption of “real foods,” otherwise known as items that are not cluttered with things that compromise the healthy values, such as artificial flavorings, colorings and sugar substitutes. A general rule of thumb, by Katz’s standards, is to live by the ingredients list; shorter lists equate to “real food.”
Katz does specify that this isn’t necessarily a diet; it doesn’t eliminate any one specific ingredient or food, such as bread or sugars. In fact, he insists that sugar does not equate to an unclean food. Therefore, by Katz’s mindset, adding sugar to a healthy and “real” food, such as fruit, isn’t necessarily a bad thing, by the concept of clean eating.
Chef Ric Orlando, creator of clean eating and author of We Want Clean Food, has a slightly more organic and local approach to the concept of clean eating than Katz. He emphasizes that local shopping is crucial, as local grown produce has suffered less expense via the environment. However, he does specify that clean eating does not eliminate protein or fried foods. Orlando believes natural chicken and milk from grass-fed cows can be just as clean as fruits and vegetables.
Where the term originated is a bit of a debate. The general concept emerged as a result of the inclination towards overeating in the United States. Research shows that heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes can all be tied to the consumer’s lifestyle choices. Therefore, the concept of clean eating was created as a means of cutting back on the nation’s curb towards eating beyond necessity; the idea encourages consumers to eat only until full and never beyond that mark. As a result, the program can result in weight loss and other various positive side effects. Ivy Larson, co-author of Clean Cuisine, finds that’s her multiple sclerosis symptoms are lessened when she follows the clean eating program closely.