How Clean Eating is Different From Fad Diets

You can probably think of someone who has tried to diet, and who has failed. Perhaps you are that person. Many registered dieticians and nutritionists warn that fad diets are not sustainable in the long-term, and that they can also result in nutritional deficiencies. Fad diets have included ones that focus on high levels of protein, liquid diets, juicing diets, or the grapefruit or cabbage-soup diets, as examples.

You can recognize a fad diet by one that promises quick weight loss without exercise or muscle building, or one that restricts you from eating certain food groups.

Although you may lose weight quickly at the start, fad diets are not realistic for the following reasons:

  1. You will gain the weight back when you stop the fad diet – Many fad diets suggest reducing calories. The problem with calorie reduction is the slowing of your body’s metabolism. As a result, when you return to eating an appropriate number of calories from the various food groups, you are more likely to gain weight.
  2. Fad diets restrict certain vitamins, minerals, and/or fiber – This is obvious if you are eating only cabbage or only grapefruit. However, even a popular diet such as the paleo diet restricts grains, dairy, legumes, and many fruits. If you are not careful, you can become deficient in specific vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

The best diet you can follow is one that combines healthy food choices and exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle. For example, this involves eating a variety of food groups, reducing simple sugars, reducing salt, exercising, and implementing other healthy habits such as giving up smoking and/or alcohol reduction. This is exactly what clean eating is all about!

Clean eating doesn’t have to involve restricting certain foods if you don’t want to. For example, although some people may choose to eliminate gluten or dairy when they choose clean eating, it is not a necessary component of a clean-eating lifestyle.

Here are other reasons why clean eating is not considered a fad:

  1. It is sustainable long-term – Because you don’t have to eliminate food groups, it is easier to stick to clean eating. You don’t even have to eliminate chocolate and desserts, if you don’t want to. The key, though, is to choose healthier, dark chocolate, and only to eat it occasionally.
  2. You will feel healthier – Many diets restrict certain nutrients or caloric intake, so you may feel dizzy, experience headaches, and generally feel unwell. However, with clean eating, you don’t necessarily have to restrict any food groups, nor nutrients. In addition, you are eliminating sugar and other refined carbohydrates. That is why many people decide to follow and stick with a clean-eating diet and lifestyle – they feel more energetic, have better concentration and focus, and have better weight management.
  3. You will feel full longer – Because you will be eating whole vegetables and fruits, and perhaps whole grain foods, the fiber in these foods will ensure you feel fuller for a longer time, reducing cravings.

As you can see, fad diets and a clean diet/lifestyle have nothing in common. Fad diets are not sustainable for the long-term, however clean eating is, and the reasons for that have been discussed above.