Clean Eating – Can It Help With Weight Loss?
Our expert nutritionist and Dubai personal trainer Lama has answered the questions below to provide a better insight on clean eating and what should be taken as an example of clean/healthy eating.
‘Clean Eating’ is a relatively new term for healthy in Dubai. Can you explain what ‘clean eating’ is?
Clean eating is a broad term excessively mentioned on social media channels sometimes misleading people to think that it will provide magical benefits. Social media has abused this term and each channel defines it as it suits them to generate profit. People need to be very careful where they get their information from and what they follow. Such misinformation leads to detrimental health results and disappointments.
As I mentioned above, clean eating is a broad term that lacks consensus to what it includes but however in general means “the exclusion of processed foods”. While it can be very beneficial if applied appropriately, sometimes advertisers and promoters may define clean eating wrongfully by omitting certain food groups making it just like another fad diet that may lead to deficiencies and restraints. Some food groups that are commonly omitted under the ‘clean eating’ umbrella include gluten-containing grains, packaged goods, dairy products. Why can it be detrimental to listen to those blogger:
- Processed foods could mean anything from frozen, washed, cut, packaged fortified vegetables, fruits, and meats to foods with preservatives, additives, chemicals, added sugar and excessive salt. It is essential to define what we mean by ‘bad processes food’ because for example frozen vegetables and canned legumes can be lifesavers for people who need big quantities and are short on time and contain the same nutritional value as the fresh ones.
- The omission of food groups is unfavorable unless there is a specific medical condition. Clean eating could lead to nutritional deficiencies in the long run if not explained and set appropriately.
- Clean eating is not necessarily eating less calories. In fact, if you rely on nuts and high-fat foods clean eating could lead to weight gain.
Clean eating, in general, has known to mean “exclusion of processed foods”. Clean eating has also been promoted via social media as a type of “diet” that promises impressive results and weight loss. However, while clean eating could be a good thing, there is no real consensus on what it entails and includes.
As a diet and nutrition specialist in Dubai do you think following a clean eating based diet can help with weight loss goals?
If applied and implemented properly, “clean eating” could improve health and ensure adherence to the necessary servings of vegetables and fruits. In my personal dictionary as a nutritionist, clean eating is synonymous to healthy eating and it means as below:
- Basing your diet on a VARIETY of quality wholefoods foods that provide nutrients and energy sources.
- Including all food groups in your diet unless medically indicated ( eg: gluten for celiac disease patients). Every single food group ( grains, vegetables, fruits, meats, legumes) contains necessary and different nutrients, vitamins and minerals that our body needs in harmony to function optimally.
- Omit added sugars and ultra-processed foods. By this, I mean foods and packaged goods that have chemical additives, trans-fats, alcohols, and too much salt.
- Adopt a plant-based diet. Something like the Mediterranean diet which I am a big advocate of. Studies have shown that eating more vegetables and fruits leads not only to better physical health but also better mental health and happiness. Could it be the colors?!
- Control the quantities you eat in addition to the quality of foods. Even healthy and “ clean” foods could be high in calories which leads to excessive weight. It is important to be aware of what food is calorie-dense. Example: avocado on wholegrain bread with nuts could add u to 500 calories while a salad with some quinoa is only about 250 calories.
Does Clean eating promote weight-loss and how?
Clean eating if followed in a healthy manner, may provide some weightloss and health benefits when switching from a highly junk rich lifestyle to a more healthful one richer in vegetables, fruits and lean meats. This is because the latter contains less calories and the nutrients are absorbed by the body. in addition, adopting a healthy lifestyle rich in quality foods will reverse any hormonal resistance that causes excessive cravings and uncontrolled hunger. Eating wholesome foods regains the hormonal homeostasis that balances hunger and satiety and restores the microbiota which is known to improve health physically and mentally.
Clean eating sample menu:
40 grams oats with unsweetened almond milk plus ½ cup of frozen berries and ½ cup of zero fat Greek yogurt
Salad with greens, cucumber, tomato, beets, 1 medium sweet potato and boiled broccoli, 250 grams of grilled chicken. Dressing- balsamic vingar, mustard and lemon juice. Any herbs are acceptable
Grilled Salmon tiryaki 200 grams: tiryaki sauce made of low sodium soy, 1 teaspon honey, ginger with ¾ cup of basmati rice and mixed vegetables ( frozen or from raw)
Organic vegan protein 1 scoop with frozen banana (1) mixed with almond milk and some cinnamon.
Finally, what are your top 5 tips for anyone considering switching over to a clean eating lifestyle?
Clean eating is simply avoiding packages sweets, junk foods, fried foods, fast foods etc…. it is relying on foods from natural sources whether frozen, packaged or fresh. My tips are as follow:
- Embrace the rainbow of veggies and fruits. Make your plate 2/3 vegetables/grains/ legumes and 1/3 lean meats. Eat all kind of vegetables and fruits. Lettuce and cucumbers are not enough!
- Avoid added oils and dressings. Ask for dressing on the side when you get your salad. Dressings could rack up to 250 calories extra to your meal.
- Choose lean meats and legumes as your protein sources. Eggs, chicken breasts, and low fat meat.
- Don’t omit food groups. Eat everything that is natural including dairy and grains if you like them. Chose the low fat options such as white cheeses and lo fat milk.
- Don’t drink your fruits. The nutrition lies in the wholesomeness and its lost when it is broken down. Eat it, with peel if possible.
- Choose high fiber carbohydrates like quinoa and bugrul and avoid white flour-based ones.
- Control your calories. Know how much you need, eat consistently, be organized. Have healthy snacks with you and don’t over do it on the healthy fats! They are very calorie dense.
- Read your labels. Avoid high caloric snacks (over 200-250 calories) and meals over 500-550, be wary of saturated fat, choose high protein and low fat, limit added sugars and foods with more than 2 additives in the ingredients.
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