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Cancer and Healthy Eating Blog

by CarolineH

Recipes and nutrition tips
07 February 2017 at 11:36

Nutrition - Clean eating?

This month I want to write about a Horizon television programme that was on BBC2 on the 19th of January. It was called ‘Clean eating- The Dirty truth’. Dr. Giles Yeo a scientist investigated what he described as the latest diet craze and social media sensation.
I am interested in this because as you know when I do advise on diet I do encourage a natural unprocessed way of eating (if possible) but there is a difference between this and the possible extremes that some people will go to. It is thought by Dr Yeo that many people are adopting the extreme clean eating approach as a hope to cure a disease including cancer. In fact part of the documentary was about a man called Robert Young from America who charges people phenominal rates to go to his farm and adopt an alkaline based diet as a method of curing diseases including cancer!!. Robert Young is not qualified and his theories are based on pseudo science. i.e. no research to support this. This of course is not good and not the way to promote healthy eating.
As we know the world of nutrition is a vast one and unfortunately at the moment it is not regulated-anyone is able to call themselves a Nutritional Therapist without needing to have a qualification A dangerous game. These people with the right media package can be dangerous to the vulnerable. It is important that if you do seek advice from any one in Nutrition that they are well qualified usually to degree level and a member of regulatory bodies like BANT or CHNC.
So what is clean eating? There are many advocates of this way of eating. People like Ella Mills (Deliciously Ella), The Hemsley sisters (The Art of Eating Well), Amelia Freer and Madeleine Shaw to name a few.
Clean Eating can be seen as, eating a natural whole food diet void of processed foods and sugars. Which I would agree with. More extremely it avoids Gluten and any form of grains, dairy and/or meat, which I would in some cases I would have to question.
I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that eating an unprocessed natural diet will go far in supporting our health and wellbeing but this is where it stops.
The main concerns with the Clean Eating movement is that it can cause a person to develop a morbid relationship with food, they can hang on to the hope it will cure them, may develop eating disorders or create a lot of tension and stress around food. I have to say that during my years of supporting people with cancer I have seen many who would fall into this category. This is of course very understandable because the internet and some books would have you believe that if you do not eat this way you are doomed.
One of the most important things is that we must all remember is that we live in the REAL WORLD and for so many reasons that I am sure we could all list, the art of clean eating does not always happen every day or at every meal, simply because life gets in the way. It is important to remember that we should of course do our best but not to dump on ourselves if for any reason it does not happen. Personally, I can think of many occasions when I have had to put food preparation on the back burner but as soon as I am able I pick it up again. Sometimes I rely on my freezer or very occasionally a take away or pre-prepared meal. In the whole scheme of things this does not matter as long as it is not daily or becomes the start of a habit that can be difficult to break.
So can nutrition make a difference to health? Absolutely, but with a balanced and realistic approach.
A shorter blog than usual but an important message.
Next month I am going to look at Acrylamide and the recent reports.
Caroline



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