The trend of eating clean, local and fresh has caused a massive stir in the world of health and nutrition. With a number of celebrities joining the league of ‘clean eaters', many youngsters and fitness enthusiasts are trying to abandon all things greasy and junk. You may like to believe that the trend is a positive one, but if a latest study is to be believed, the obsession with 'clean diet' and the lack of complete knowledge about the same may signal a risk for eating disorders. The study was published in the 'Journal of Eating Disorders'.
'Clean eating' typically include elements such as eating local, real, organic, plant-based, home-cooked foods, but many a times people also go on to the extent of eliminating gluten, grains or dairy without consulting an expert. These extreme decisions may prove detrimental to people's health.
According to authors, trendy 'clean eating' diets that are often highlighted on social and popular media, are most often done by non-expert celebrities. One needs an enhanced understanding to make such tall claims. Moreover, there is no scientific consensus around what constitutes 'clean eating.'
The study's results "highlight the need to train consumers to better distinguish between trustworthy and fraudulent sources of information on nutrition and health behaviours," said Suman Ambwani, a noted scholar in the field of disordered eating and associate professor of psychology at Dickinson College.
Ambwani and a team of researchers asked nearly 150 college students to define 'clean eating.'
The students were also asked to read five vignettes featuring different 'clean' diets and rate whether they thought the diets were 'healthy,' reflected 'clean eating' and whether they might try them out.
"It is concerning that our respondents had positive attitudes toward extreme 'clean eating' diets that cause distress and disruption," said Ambwani.
"We know dieting can create an increased risk for developing eating disorders, so we need to better understand how ostensibly healthy diets may devolve into disordered eating," Ambwani added.
The subjects' responses varied but overwhelmingly favoured 'clean eating,' even if the so-called 'clean' diets caused problems in work, social and emotional functioning.