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The question I would like to discuss with you today is “Is clean eating important for our health?”. As we move rapidly into a new era where digital literacy and fluency grows exponentially, humans are given the easy access to a plethora of information from all over the world. All accessible in just one click. So far, we have been reaping a lot of benefits that come with this wonderful advancement, one that is characterized by the development of “smart” society with strong consciousness about life. And sure enough, without us noticing, it is impacting multiple aspects of human life. Health is one of them. People nowadays put a lot more effort in keeping themselves healthy and actively implementing new diet habits for better health. Clean eating is one of them, and it is a popular one. A research article by Suman Ambwani in Journal of Eating Disorders shows that the U.S.-based young adults interpret “clean eating” in heterogeneous but largely favorable ways. People do think that clean eating is one of the best way to move towards better health consciousness. So if you are just starting to test out new dietary plans, then clean eating probably has crossed your mind, and you might have even considered practicing it. And the next question becomes, is clean eating good for our health?

My whole life, I have been passionate about food and nutrition. That was what prompted me to get a degree in Food Technology when I was younger. Based on this limited knowledge that I have gained in the food science and nutrition sector, I know for sure that there are a few strong reasons why clean eating is good for us. The most prominent one, is the fact that clean eating promotes basic knowledge of what makes a food, which resulted in consciousness to avoid the bad ingredients in food such as food additives. Food additives, particularly the ones that are chemically-made, always come with what we called as an ADI, stands for Acceptable Daily Intake. ADI is a level of food additives consumption that is safe for humans, and indicates a relative safety of that particular additive. It regulates how much food additives that we can consume without inviting harm to our bodies. But on the other side, having an ADI means that the substance is not entirely safe. Its presence also indicates that no matter how safe food additives are, continuous consumption in a prolonged period may result in a long term effect. The practice of clean eating usually eliminates any consumption of processed food, which automatically rules out consumption of food additives too.

Secondly, clean eating will deliberately limit the consumption risk of foreign substances, including carcinogens. Carcinogens are substances that have been widely known as the culprit of cancer cells development in our body. A lot of carcinogens are produced as a result of chemical reactions taking place during food processing. Hence, comes the popular belief that overly fried food, for example, can result in carcinogens. Another bullet dodged by the clean eaters. However, carcinogens, food additives and any other types of foreign substances, surely can’t be avoided completely. But through clean eating, you will greatly minimize the intake, and eliminate further advancement of the risk to our health. 

But before you start clean eating, I need to tell you to watch out for the common trap that usually comes with it. It is what we call as diet imbalance. Clean eating is about eating local, non-processed, organic, plant-based, home-cooked foods. Unfortunately, there is a growing trend of also eliminating other types of food that are seen to have negative nature such as gluten and dairy, even though there hasn’t been that much definitive research to back this up. Doing so may instead increase our risk of deriving negative effects to our health. For example, avoiding gluten-containing foods or cutting out carbohydrates may lead to low whole grain consumption, which is associated with increased risk of gut cancer, obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Eliminating dairy products without sufficient substitutes from plant-based food may lead to insufficient calcium intake, which can also impact our overall bone health. Quoting a statement from Evers and Carol in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, it is crucial to train consumers to better distinguish between trustworthy versus fraudulent sources of nutrition information and health behaviors. In particular to this case, we need to be more careful and suspicious of the various claims out there, and only choose the ones that are trustworthy and fit your overall preferences.

So, in summary, clean eating is a good method that you can use to achieve a better health. But, it is not the only way. If it seems too extreme for you, then maybe you can try using another feasible method. I personally am not a practitioner of clean eating. Instead, I use my own method of mindful eating. Basically what I do is that I don’t put any hard restrictions on what I can and can not eat, but I always try to be mindful of what I put in my body. To do this, you need to firstly build a habit of taking a step back and record what you are going to eat before actually putting it in your mouth. That’s it. Easy, right? After you have made a habit of this, then you can gradually advance your mindfulness capability by also starting to recall what you have eaten on your previous meal before you eat your current meal. That way, you can start training yourself to maintain balanced eating. For example, if I’ve eaten too much carbohydrates on my last meal, I would choose to eat more greens and proteins for my current meal and achieve a better nutrition balance. It is like putting a food journal inside your head. 

So, are you ready to try out a better dietary habit? I would love to hear what you think! Shoot me an email at dannis@lifeforexperts.com. Or, connect with me through my website in LifeForExperts.com, my Twitter in @lifeforexperts, or my Instagram in @lifeforexpert without the letter “s” at the end.

Thank you for trusting Life For Experts. Never stop learning to become an expert in life. I’m Dannis, and I will see you next time. Bye!

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