If you think clean eating is the best way to lose weight and maintain optimal health, this article will show you dangers of clean eating you should be aware of.
A healthy lifestyle is a must for a long, productive life. And clean eating is a great step towards a healthy lifestyle. But beware. There are dangers to clean eating that you don’t know.
The food industry is full of misinformation on what it means to eat healthy. And according to the American Dietetic Association, this can have a harmful effect on both your health, and your finances. This is because habits that appear to reflect clean eating might not be that healthy.
And let’s not forget the mental risks of clean eating. Your desire to make health supportive choices is commendable. But clean eating changes from healthy to destructive when it becomes an obsession. Rhiannon Lambert, a registered associate nutritionist in the UK, says she sees a number of people struggling with eating disorders that were disguised as a fixation on clean eating.
But before we delver deeper into this topic, let’s get one thing straight. You should strive to eat and live a health supportive lifestyle. But it is important to know about these dangers of clean eating so you don’t compromise your health or mental well-being.
Here are 10 dangers of clean eating you didn’t know. Take note so you don’t fall into these pitfalls in your quest for a long, healthy life.
Eating in excess
It is easy to assume that because you are eating clean, you can eat as much as you want without consequence. But portion control is still important when eating clean. Foods like cacao, certain dried fruits, and greek yogurt are considered superfoods, but are also foods that can be fattening when overeaten.
Also remember, a few healthy choices now don’t allow you to make less healthy choices later. When you make a nutritious choice, let’s say by drinking a green smoothie, you don’t “earn” the right to eat junk food later in the day. Clean eating needs to take place at most meals to be effective in losing weight and living healthy.
Not eating a balanced diet
When you start a clean eating diet, you might become very focused on one thing. Maybe you’re focused on buying organic, or eating superfoods are maybe you’re obsessed with juicing. And it can become easy to forget that you also need to eat a balanced diet.
Not eating a balanced diet can be downright dangerous. You need to make sure you are getting well-rounded nutrition with good sources of vegetables, fruits, protein and fats throughout your day. Don’t become so obsessed with one type of healthy food that you forget all the others.
Being too limited
Eating clean stops being healthy when it becomes too limited. Did you know that eating too restrictive now can backfire and lead to a binge later? Studies have actually shown that severe diet limitations can directly contribute to binge eating. If you find yourself feeling deprived or hungry for too long, this is a sign that you need to bring more variety into your diet, or you simply might not be eating enough.
Food restriction dangers
Gluten-free diets: Gluten-free diets are all the rage right now. And they are life-saving if you are someone suffering from celiac disease or gluten intolerance. But gluten-free diets can actually be harmful when done arbitrarily.
First, research shows there risks of nutritional deficiencies in gluten-free diets that can be difficult to avoid. Second, processed gluten-free alternatives like gluten-free breads, pasta, bagels and cookies are just as nutrient-depleted as the gluten filled varieties. So it is very easy to follow a gluten-free diet and still gain weight and be unhealthy.
Low-carbohydrate diets: You might decide that carbohydrates are the enemy when starting a clean eating plan. Diets like The Atkins Diet and The Ketogenic diet have made very low-carbohydrate diets popular for weight loss. And for that reason, you might assume that they are healthy.
But low-carbohydrate diets are often severely lacking in health promoting nutrients from low fruit and vegetable consumption. In fact, some studies have found low-carb diets to be so nutrient-depleted that they directly increase you risk of dying early. So while it is good to remove processed carbohydrates like bread and pasta from your diet, removing all carbohydrates can be dangerous.
Sweet treat dangers
Over-consumption of fruit juice: You may be tempted to start juicing when adding more nutrition to your diet. And the consumption of fresh vegetable juice will help you with your health goals. But fruit juice is a different story.
Fruit juice is filled with unhealthy sugar, but is completely lacking in healthy fiber. And it is the fiber naturally found in fruit that helps the body effectively process fruit’s sugar. Research shows that excessive fruit juice intake can increase risk of obesity.
Other unhealthy sugars: Alternative “healthier” sugars may seem like a saving grace when you’re
trying to create better eat habits. Many food companies market healthy granola, ice cream, cookies and cakes by using sugar options that are considered healthier.
But sugar in any form is still sugar. For instance, agave is a sweetener that is often used in treats marketed as healthy. However, studies have shown that long-term use of agave can cause liver damage as well as dangerous triglyceride levels. So you need to be aware.
Sugar substitutes: The use of sugar substitutes reflects another form of dangerous clean eating. For instance, the artificial sweetener aspartame has been widely linked with increased food cravings as well as weight gain. For that reason, many now turn to better alternatives like stevia.
But did you know that most stevia options on store shelves are diluted with actual sugar, sugar alcohols or other artificial sweeteners? So if you do turn to stevia as an occasional sweet treat, make sure to read the label. Otherwise you might be getting more than you bargained for.
Social isolation: Eating is a part of our culture and plays a role in many social activities. This includes celebrations, holiday meals and evenings out with friends. As you go on your clean eating journey, you’ll learn ways to make better choices when faced with the temptation inherent in these types of activities.
But clean eating can be dangerous if you start avoiding these activities altogether in your attempt to avoid temptation and stay on track. Social isolation can be just as damaging to health as bad food. So beware of becoming so focused on clean eating that you stop engaging in your own life.
Eating disorders: As I already mentioned, clean eating when taken to an extreme can lead to eating disorders. Did you know that an unhealthy fixation on clean eating is a disease with an actual name? It is called Orthorexia Nervosa and this disease can be just as dangerous as any other eating disorder.
Orthorxia Nervosa has many unintended consequences such as poor quality of life, nutrient deficiencies and medical complications. If you know you have a predisposition to eating disorders, it is important to get proper support when starting to eat clean. That way it doesn’t become an obsession. And remember that even if you don’t think you’re prone to problems, moderation is key.
Clean eating is filled with possible dangers. But there is a bright side. When done right, it can make you feel better, help you lose weight, and allow you to live a long, healthy life.
There are just a few things to keep in mind. Eat a balanced diet including good sources of protein, fat and carbohydrates. Stay away from fads. Don’t be too restrictive. Eat sweets in moderation (even “healthier” sounding treats). And be aware if you feel that your restriction is becoming an obsession.
These were 10 dangers of clean eating you probably didn’t know. But now that you do know them, you have the ability to transform your diet and life in the right way. Make choices that will help you live the best life possible. With a little insight, knowledge and determination, you have the power to use clean eating to transform your life!
Has any of these dangers of clean eating affected you?