Here are my thoughts on the article "Why We Fell for Clean Eating" recently published in the Guardian. It's a really good (long) read that busts open the idea that we all need to be restricting our diets and instagramming our food and listening to everyone and anyone who has published a cookbook/blog who claims to have the key to our health.
I was just explaining orthorexia (aka an unhealthy obsession with "healthy" diet) to a patient of mine yesterday. She had reached a place where she had cut out certain foods and noticed a huge improvement in her health, while also restricting other foods, just because they "seemed unhealthy". Regarding restricted diets that make us think we all need to remove x, y and z, I said "there's a white potato (high in vitamin B6 and potassium - and a food staple in our diets for thousands of years) and there's a McFlurry. Very different things".
As someone who recommends certain dietary changes (ie. gluten removal) to patients on a regular basis, it is only ever when medically necessary. Definitely not a "blanket prescription" that is applied to everyone. However, this article doesn't touch on the politics and money behind food, which is a huge deal. Processed and refined foods that are high in sugar and low in nutrients are a huge problem for our health, and are huge money-makers. That being said, enjoying good food (ie. the Mediterranean diet, which has been the foundation of medical literature for years now), is a lost art to many. All bread is not created equal just like all meat, all fats, and so on. Too many unqualified bloggers have become "gurus", with no evidence base for what they are saying. The most recent evidence similar to this is the movie What the Health. It has so many blatantly wrong claims about diet and health, while thousands of people are watching and thinking that it is medical truth. Here is a link to a great article that debunks many of the movie's chief claims.
If you are confused about what is healthy for you, consult a professional. Someone who knows a lot about nutrition such as a Naturopathic Doctor or a registered holistic nutritionist. If you feel good, you're on the right track. Make food at home, with items you have to prepare yourself. Make a point of eating with friends and family as often as you can.
Enjoy, and repeat often.
~Dr. Rush, ND