BBC Horizon’s latest instalment, Clean Eating: The Dirty Truth? has sent ‘free-from’ foodies everywhere into a tailspin as Dr Giles Yeo, Geneticist from the University of Cambridge and President of the British Society of Neuroendocrinology uncovered some uncomfortable truths about the lifestyle.
Looking at the current crop of dieting fads including: plant-based, gluten-free, grain-free and alkaline diets, he strove to sort fact from the pseudoscience, even interviewing one of its biggest stars, Deliciously Ella, who told Dr Yeo: “My problem with the word 'clean' is that it’s become too complicated, too loaded.” She adds, “I haven't used it, but as far as I understood it when I first read the term, it meant natural, kind of unprocessed, and now it doesn't mean that at all. It means diet, it means fad.”
Not since the Atkins Diet has a food regime garnered such acclaim and now, derision. As an Instagram hashtag, the term has had more than 27 million posts and has made its stars – Ella, the Hemsley sisters and Amelia Freer etc. - not just incredibly popular, but also incredibly rich with Ella’s eponymous first book selling almost half a million copies. But the biggest question is whether these self-appointed health gurus are dishing out advice that does more harm than good by endorsing dangerously restrictive diets and blurring the lines between ‘healthy eating’ and ‘eating disorder’?
Even so, it is undeniable that these glowing babes have done some great work in encouraging people to cook more at home and eat less processed food. As Dr Yeo concluded on Radio 4, when it comes to diet the best approach is ‘everything in moderation’.
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Images: Instagram @bbctwo @Deliciouslyella