In general, clean eating refers to following a diet free of processed foods, and instead focuses on whole or raw foods. It’s not an easy switch to make, with grocery store aisles dominated by processed foods, and with many of our favorite recipes containing at least some processed food.
So is it worth it? What clean eating results can you expect from removing processed foods from your diet?
What Is Clean Eating?
Clean eating is a term that can mean a lot of different things. But a simple way of understanding healthy clean eating is to think of it as a way of viewing a diet that emphasizes:
- Eating more real foods, like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats.
- Limiting highly processed snack foods, sweets, and other packaged or “convenience” food.
- Limiting processed, packaged snack foods with a long list of (usually non-natural) ingredients.
- Eating regular, balanced meals, and healthy snacks.
- Cutting back on foods that have added salt, sugar, or fat.
- Cooking at home more than eating out and preparing food in healthy ways.
- Eating more plant-based proteins, like beans, lentils, and peas.
- Eating more high-protein whole grains, like quinoa, barley, and buckwheat.
The Mayo Clinic notes that while staying away from highly processed, packaged food as much as possible is smart, sometimes processing is necessary. A few examples include pasteurized milk and eggs, which makes them safe for consumption; or frozen fruits or vegetables, which are minimally processed, including freezing to maintain more of their nutrients.
Likewise, some foods contain added ingredients that help to stabilize or extend product shelf-life. Ascorbic Acid, citric acid, and vitamin E (tocopherols) are added to food products to extend the shelf life. There are others, too, and while not considered harmful in the small amounts when found in food products, it is up to you to decide if you are comfortable allowing them in your home as they can ensure expensive essentials in your pantry don’t go bad until you are ready to use them.
Clean Eating Results
What can you expect if you make a change to a clean eating diet? Everyone’s body is different, and different factors will make everyone’s experience different. However, truly utilizing a clean eating diet and significantly reducing or removing highly processed, packaged foods from your diet can have significant (and positive) results.
When researchers talk about diet, they are often focused on the effects of obesity, as obesity is a risk factor for a variety of serious health conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease, heart disease, sleep apnea, metabolic syndrome, osteoarthritis, and some cancers as well as many other disorders.
NIH Researchers concluded that “limiting consumption of ultra-processed foods may be an effective strategy for obesity prevention and treatment.”
Even if obesity or weight loss is not your primary goal or need, that’s far from the only benefit of clean eating.
Research from institutions like the National Institutes of Health, Tufts University, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, and more, research supports that clean, healthy eating can result in:
- Improved overall health.
- Improved mood.
- Improved energy and stamina.
- Losing excess weight.
- Slower aging process.
- Fewer headaches.
- Improved hair and skin.
- Improved cognitive function.
If you want to see results like these by moving towards a healthy, clean-eating diet, you might also consider adding these clean, nutrient-dense supplements from Irwin Naturals, Sunwarrior, and Starwest Botanicals.
Living Greens Super-Food – Irwin Naturals
Living Greens Super-Food from Irwin Naturals is a nutrient-dense blend of whole food concentrates in a liquid softgel. Living Greens Super-Food contains a Super Green Blend of spirulina, chlorella, wheatgrass, and other chlorophyll-containing plants; a Fruit and Vegetable Concentrate Blend containing superfoods like blueberry, cherry, spinach, broccoli, and more; and an Enzyme Support Blend that contains a broad range of digestive enzymes to help to maximize the absorption of vital nutrients found in this formula. The result is an energizing nutritional boost from whole foods that deliver a broad spectrum of phytonutrients to support whole-body health.
Lean Meal Illumin8 Superfood Shake – Sunwarrior
Lean Meal Illumin8 Superfood Shake from Sunwarrior is a plant-based nutritional supplement formulated specifically for those with weight management goals. Every serving is packed with protein, organic superfoods, whole food vitamins, and the equivalent of one fruit serving and one vegetable serving: all to provide natural energy support to assist you with your health and weight management goals.
Organic Kelp Powder – Starwest Botanicals
Organic Kelp Powder from Starwest Botanicals is made of powdered, organic kelp. Kelp is a nutrient-rich, green superfood packed with vitamins and minerals. While seaweed or kelp may not sound that appetizing to everyone, Organic Kelp Powder solves this problem by providing kelp in a powdered form that can be used as a natural alternative to table salt. It’s rich in iodine, trace minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients, and may support thyroid function, healthy metabolism, and more.
Have you tried a clean eating diet? What were your clean eating results?