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Headlines like ‘Clean eating trend can be dangerous for young people’ are designed to get your attention, and it worked!


I know from first-hand experience, and countless stories from friends and students, that clean eating is an important part of wellness. Can it really be dangerous?

Reading the article I discovered the “dangers” are far from clear-cut. The writer muddles together several examples: young people at risk of eating disorders, adults whose OCD-type behaviour extends to food, and people who lose weight due to excessively strict diets — then lays the blame at the feet of “food bloggers”.

Ursula Philpot, a dietitian at the British Dietetic Association, said a fixation with eating healthily had been a noticeable route into eating disorders for vulnerable individuals in the past couple of years.

She identified social media and the rise of healthy food trends and blogs as key drivers of the trend

From my point of view, this is linking unrelated topics. Eating disorders are a genuine, serious mental health issue. Blaming the actions of “vulnerable individuals” on “healthy food trends and blogs” makes as much sense as blaming alcoholism on craft brewers.

Far from being “dangerous” clean eating is a sensible alternative to the processed, fat and sugar-laden foods that have made almost two-thirds of Brits overweight.

Like everything else, healthful eating should take place in the context of a balanced life. Obsessive, anxious or compulsive attitudes towards food are typical of “clean eating”. They are a sign of something wrong that needs to be addressed. But let’s not blame healthy eating for unhealthful behaviours.

Share your thoughts on clean eating in the comments!

photo credit: Zaheer Baksh Photography The Right Start… for me via photopin (license)