Clean eating is not a new concept. Those involved in any way with health, fitness or nutrition, from fitness competitors to personal trainers to health-conscious individuals, have known about eating clean for years. However, clean eating is gaining popularity (thanks to Tosca Reno) as a way to gain better health, easily maintain weight and as a way to lose weight and keep it off for life. But what exactly is clean eating?
At its most basic, clean eating is making the healthiest food choices possible, opting for fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean cuts of meat instead of processed and refined foods. To eat clean, there are a few easy principles to follow.
Clean Eating Principles
- Eating a mini-meal every two to three hours (5 to 6 small meals per day total) to keep blood sugar level and prevent hunger
- Combining lean proteins and complex carbs at every meal
- Avoiding all over-processed and refined foods (especially sugar, white rice, and white flour)
- Avoiding saturated and trans fat, instead consuming healthy fats
- Avoiding soda and other sugary juices and drinks
- Avoiding high-calorie, zero nutrient foods (i.e., junk food)
- Eating proper portion sizes
- Drinking at least 8 cups of water every day
What Clean Eating is Not
When describing clean eating, it’s important to point out what eating clean is not. Clean eating is not a diet, although it is a great way to reduce body fat, lose weight, and keep the weight off. Clean eating is a lifestyle that requires time, commitment, and pre-planning and is not just a way of eating that can accomplish weight loss or overall health just by doing it on the weekends only. Clean eating is not about deprivation, avoiding food groups, counting calories or starvation, but about making healthy food choices and providing the body with the best foods possible.
The Benefits of Clean Eating
There are many health benefits to eating clean, including:
- Fat loss
- Weight loss
- Increased energy
- Clearer skin
- Shinier hair
- Better sleep
- Increased mental well-being
Clean eating is not complicated, nor is it expensive. Oftentimes it is actually cheaper to buy clean eating foods than it is to buy prepackaged, processed foods. Although it is less expensive to eat clean and nutritious foods, it does require more time in the kitchen planning and cooking meals.