It seems that just about everyone is jumping on the clean eating bandwagon lately – and with good cause. It is super healthy and a great way to lose weight. However, not all clean eating plans are created equal. Some seem to fudge the rules a little and stray from the core of this wonderful, pure, way of life. If you really want to eat clean, avoid these common clean eating traps.
5 Traps to Avoid While Clean Eating
Processed foods are toxic. Your body doesn’t even know what to do with half the junk in those canned or crated “meals.” White sugar and white flour are two common forms of processed food that often slip through the cracks because clean eaters either don’t realize that 1) they aren’t clean, or 2) they are in way more foods than people realize. Canned foods can fall into this category as well. Read the labels. A good rule of thumb is, if a food has an ingredient that you cannot pronounce, or it has more than 5 ingredients, it really isn’t clean.
Sugar is a huge problem. It is estimated that in the United States alone, the average adult eats around 64 pounds of sugar a year while a teen boy eats upwards of 109 pounds. The biggest problem with sugar, though, is that is has so many aliases. Even people who really want to avoid it often wind up consuming some form because they don’t know what to look for. This is why it is important to not only read labels, but also know what they mean.
Common forms of sugar:
- Anything that ends with “ose”
- High fructose corn syrup
- Lactose (yes, milk has sugar)
- Maltodextrin or dextrin
- Beet sugar
- Raw sugar (it is processed)
- Corn syrup
- Sorghum syrup
There are healthy, clean sugar alternatives like stevia (which may also be processed, check the label), raw and unfiltered honey (yes a sugar, per se, but it has a much lower glycemic index than sugar), and sucanat are a cleaner choice.
It is no secret that our meats are full of toxins, hormones, and steroids. The animals are fed chemicals to make them bigger, grow faster, and produce more while the meat itself is treated with various substances including arsenic (often used on packaged chicken). This is not clean, not by a long shot. This means that if you want to eat clean you probably can’t just walk into any grocery store and buy your meat. You will have to look for meat and eggs that are steroid and hormone free – cows that are grass fed, free range chickens – and yes, they will be smaller. They will be a lot healthier though.
Diet sodas have got to be one of the biggest lies in the health industry. Many people drink them thinking they are a healthier alternative to the sugary sodas that so many people consume. That isn’t the case though. Diet sodas have a ton of artificial ingredients – go ahead, try to read the ingredient list on that can of diet soda in your hand. They have sweeteners that actually increase sugar cravings, not to mention the sodium. All of these things combine to create a beverage that not only doesn’t help you lose weight, it actually gets you hooked on the drink while causing you to crave sweets. Diet sodas are definitely not clean.
Genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, are living organisms that have undergone genetic engineering. When we think of GMOs it is usually in terms of food, particularly produce. There are a lot of reasons to avoid GMO foods including the fact that they are not on the clean eating list. There is a lot of talk that these foods create combinations of viral, bacteria, animal, and plant genes that are unstable and unnatural. Many of these foods are not labeled so it is important to know where your food is coming from. Often a safe bet is your local farmer or a known store that puts an emphasis on whole, healthy foods.
Have you ever fallen for any of these clean eating traps? Are there any we didn’t mention here? Tell us about it in the comments below!