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What is Clean Eating?

Eating clean or ‘clean eating’ refers to a popular diet trend characterized by a few key features. Some of these features include eating locally (and supporting sustainable practices), minimizing processed foods, nourishing yourself on whole foods, such as whole grains, fruits and veggies regularly throughout the day. Clean eating also recommends limiting unnecessary extras, such as alcohol, added sugars and sodium. Clean eating is not an ‘all or nothing’ concept. Small changes add up over time and can make a difference in your environment and your health.

One of the key characteristics of clean eating is minimizing processed foods. What is a processed food? A processed food is a food item that has been modified through mechanical or chemical operations to change it. According to the USDA, this includes, but is not limited to milling, chopping, heating, drying, canning…etc. Clean processed foods do exist such as whole grain pasta, whole oats and plain yogurt. However, many processed foods contain sugars and other additives (natural and man made). Part of the recommendation for limiting packaged foods is because of BPA, a chemical found in cans, as well as chemicals in plastic. Explore your grocery store for ‘cleaner’ versions of many packaged and bottled foods, such as condiments.

Clean eating is a trend geared towards minimizing food waste, promoting local foods and sustainable farms and minimizing the ‘junk’ in the American diet. It is not just a diet trend but a food movement.



Mediterranean Diet reduces Diabetes Risk

What is the Mediterranean diet? Well, it is one typically rich in pasta, bread, fruit, and vegetables, (high in fiber and low in trans fats) with moderate amounts of poultry and fish, using liberal amounts of virgin olive oil and a moderate amount of alcohol (specifically red wine). The Mediterranean diet is reputed to be among the healthiest in the world. Multiple research studies have shown that Mediterraneans suffer less heart disease than people from northern Europe.

Nutrition experts believe that the typical Mediterranean diet reduces ‘bad’ or saturated fat and increasing the level of natural antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, significantly reducing the risk of heart attack. A landmark research study (prospective, cohort) showed a startlingly positive, strong correlation between adherence to the Mediterranean diet and a decreased risk of developing diabetes.

Mediterranean diet: research

This study involved over 13,000 graduates from the University of Navarra, Spain (with no history of diabetes), whose dietary habits and health were tracked over 8 years. Initially, participants completed a food frequency questionnaire designed to measure the entire diet, including questions on the use of fats and oils, cooking methods and dietary supplements.

Every two years participants were sent follow-up questionnaires on diet, lifestyle, risk factors, and medical conditions. During the follow-up period the researchers from the University of Navarra found that participants who stuck closely to the diet had a lower risk of diabetes. A high adherence to the diet was associated with an 83% relative reduction in the risk of developing diabetes.

Adherence measures how closely the participant followed the Mediterranean diet guidelines using a numerical scale. On a ten-point scale (0-2 for low, 3-6 for medium and 7-9 for high Mediterranean diet adherence) researchers discovered that each 2 point increase on the adherence scale had a corresponding 35% reduction in diabetes risk! Benefits from consuming a diet rich in plant foods (including fat) and low in processed foods? Who would’ve thought?