What Does it Mean to Eat Clean?

Amy Barczy

| 2 min read

Amy Barczy is a former brand journalist who authored content at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. Prior to her time at Blue Cross from 2019-2024, she was a statewide news reporter for MLive.com. She has a decade of storytelling experience in local news media markets including Lansing, Grand Rapids, Holland, Ann Arbor and Port Huron.

Woman cooking at home
Eating clean sounds like a healthy diet in theory – but what does it really mean?
The lack of a universal definition for “clean eating” means it’s easy for people to interpret the diet trend in a way that could be problematic. It's so broad because the philosophy surrounding it involves eating more nutrient-rich foods that are whole and unprocessed. Think whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes. Artificial ingredients and any foods with food colorings, food dyes, added sweeteners and added sugars do not fall into that "clean" category.
On this episode of A Healthier Michigan Podcast, hosted by Chuck Gaidica, the extremely broad "clean eating" concept and these talking points are discussed:
  • What does it mean to eat clean?
  • The positive and negative aspects of clean eating.
  • What happens when clean eating becomes unhealthy?
  • Clean eating myths.
  • How viewing foods as clean or dirty could demonize the way we look at certain foods.
In simple terms, eating clean should mean eating nutrient-rich foods that are less processed, have less artificial ingredients and less sweeteners. But some people take clean eating to mean more than that – and can misinterpret the concept into something restrictive.
For example, some people may think “clean eating” means taking off the skin of an apple or a potato before eating it – but the skin contains important fiber and nutrients. Or if someone decides they won’t eat any food that has additives; yet some foods like milk typically has Vitamin D added to enhance the uptake of calcium.
If you’re thinking about trying out the clean eating approach it’s best to focus more on adding more nutrient-rich, minimally processed foods to your diet and to avoid fixating on every ingredient in the food that you eat every day.
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Blues Perspectives

Oct 26, 2020 at 4:57pm

Exactly, Sandy! There is so much to learn about where our food comes from, how it's harvested, growing practices, and more! Listen, learn, and subscribe to our A Healthier Michigan Podcast here: https://www.ahealthiermichigan.org/podcast/. Thank you, Candice

Sandy Sillman

Oct 26, 2020 at 4:13pm

I started clean eating to help my diabetes and reading labels is the most important!!!!! There are so many products with "GMO" which has shocked me!!!! But, I am learning.

MI Blues Perspectives is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association