Is Sugar Free Clean Eating Dangerous?

Sugar free living and clean eating is SURELY just a fad diet.  Like countless others I’ve probably just jumped on the latest bandwagon in a bid to lose a few extra pounds. 

If you believe that, or are only interested in a ‘sugar free, clean diet’ for quick weight loss then off you trot, no need to read on. 

Some TV shows, blogs and newspaper articles have recently almost blamed online food movements for body image issues and even for fuelling eating disorders.  What a load of rubbish!  Eating disorders are a mental health issue, not something you can ‘catch’ from browsing the internet.  That there’s a lot more information online for anyone suffering to research is certainly true, but that also goes for many other mental health vices too.  A simple Google search will quickly prove that. 

Body image is a completely different subject and not one I tend to address as I prefer to promote good health regardless of looks, but what I will say is this: when UK tabloids happily give column inches comparing two bikini clad celebrities’ bodies – one in her late teens and the other in her late twenties who is also a mother of two children – where could these body image issues possibly be stemming from?  Certainly not from a boring photo I post of my lunchtime salad hashtagged #cleaneating, I’m sure. 

eggsalad

Last year I read about a journalist who tried sugar free living for a few weeks (even eliminating peas and fruit!), the national newspaper pull out featured it over a two-page spread but it was a totally ridiculous diet that she understandably struggled with (‘apples are out, kale is in’) and one that I certainly don’t associate with sugar free living.  There’s nothing wrong with an apple, with its 10g of sugar.  I’m totally happy to eat that 10g, thank you very much.  It’s hardly two biscuits and a can of coke, is it?

Others have been bashing the ‘Clean Eating’ movement.  So what does clean eating even mean?  To me, clean eating insinuates removal of processed foods.  What on earth is wrong with that? Ok – perhaps we should all keep chocolate, biscuits, cake and ready meals as part of our daily food intake.  Now, let’s all also become magically healthy at the same time.  Achievable?  It just makes no sense to me at all. 

How can it be dangerous that I drink no fizzy drinks, no fruit juice, no sugar in my tea?  Eat no chocolates, biscuits, or sweets?  I avoid honey and dried fruit.  And I eat less refined carbs than I used to, replacing them with complex carbs instead.  I happily and readily eat butter, olive oil, nuts, coconut products, all meat and fish and all dairy products. 

So now tell me, which part of my sugar free clean eating diet sounds dangerous, or faddy to you? 

Or maybe it just sounds ‘cleaner’ than it used to be, just as it does to me.

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2 thoughts on “Is Sugar Free Clean Eating Dangerous?

  1. The message is eat less sugar and if possible no refined sugar. This makes complete sense. It also makes sense to drink less, give up smoking, avoid drugs, whether legal or prescribed, and so on. It is also true that different people metabolise and cope with different substances in materially different ways. You demonize sugar. My brother does the same.

    A holistic approach would suggest people should try to understand their own bodies better and adjust their diets to suit their specific make up. The reductionist approach, focusing on specific substances, is part of the general health problem in my view. It encourages the view that there exists a generally applicable diet that is optimal and success involves identifying it. By focusing so much on sugar you contribute to this misleading belief. It may be good for you to avoid but what makes you think everyone is like you?

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    1. There’s no demonisation going on here – this is merely an awareness-raising project.

      Nothing makes me think everyone is like me, which I have said on countless occasions. Sugar makes me feel ill. It has no immediate affect on others. I’m not in the habit of telling others what to do – anyone who reads my blog has the freedom to make their own choices and I certainly don’t judge them on that. Those who know me and may have asked for my help and advice with sugar reduction know full well that I’m non judgemental and fully understanding of their struggle with that whether their choice is complete unwillingness to try it, to not eat a piece of cake in the staff kitchen or to cut it out completely from their diet.

      But what I HAVE learnt that when it comes to food, there are an awful lot of people who haven’t even considered the fact that eating and drinking sugar is a bad idea because of the belief that ‘sugar gives you energy’. They don’t know that it can cause headaches, joint aches, it feeds cancer and that it can trigger a lot of autoimmune issues.

      If your brother is demonising sugar directly at you can I suggest he starts his own blog so he can redirect his demonisation in another direction?

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