Why ‘Eating Clean’ Is So Freaking Impossible

All month long, Galore is exploring what it truly means to be #blessed, mind, body, and soul. Click here for more health and wellness content.

When it comes to dieting, “eating clean” sounds so easy.

All you have to do is dine from a list of pre-approved foods “in moderation” and voila, you’re a cashew-crunching, gluten-free, dairy-free babe with the bikini Instagrams to prove it.

But if portion control is an issue for you, eating clean can be a slippery slope. One minute you’ve had an appropriate three flax-crackers-and-hummus, and then all of a sudden, you lose control and finish an entire tub of Sabra. You’ve cut out gluten, dairy, sugar, and booze, and you still can’t lose weight — so WTF is the problem?

Actually, the problem is pretty common, and as we’ve covered before, it has a name: the “health food halo effect.”

Dr. Peggy Policastro, director of behavioral nutrition at the New Jersey Institute for Food, Nutrition and Health at Rutgers University, told Galore that this is what happens when you divide your diet into “good” and “bad” columns and then overdo the “good.”

This strategy can work if you eat these foods in moderation. But what does that even mean?! Basically, if you have issues finding the “off” button and stopping at three hummus crackers, then clean eating is not for you.

The key isn’t to remove “bad” foods from your diet, Dr. Policastro said. It’s to keep things moderate.

“No diet should ever cut out certain foods,” she said. “The key to any good diet for weight loss is decreasing the amount of portion sizes and increasing physical activity.”

It always sounds so easy, doesn’t it? But if you really do want to lose weight, upping the quality of the food you eat and cutting certain food groups is only part of the battle. Eating healthier is obviously better for you, but if you don’t combine it with cutting calories, you’re not going to lose weight.

Basically, if a diet doesn’t feel restrictive, it’s probably not doing anything. And that’s the problem with eating clean. It seems like all you have to do is swap out “bad” foods for “good” ones, but if you truly want to lose weight, you also have to keep your portion sizes under control.

Or just say fuck it and be yourself. Whichever.

Gimme More Health

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