Clean Eating - The Dirty Truth

Happened to see this program listed and thought at least some members might find it interesting.

To be broadcast (in the UK) on Thursday 19 Jan 2017 at 21:00 on BBC Two (repeated later - follow link at end for more details).

Clean Eating - The Dirty Truth

Horizon, 2016-2017

Imagine if the food you eat could 'clean' your body and make you feel well. Dr Giles Yeo investigates the latest diet craze and social media sensation - clean eating.

In a television first, Giles cooks with Ella Mills, the Instagram entrepreneur behind Deliciously Ella, one of the most popular brands associated with clean eating, and examines how far her plant-based cooking is based on science. She tells him clean has lost its way: "Clean now implies dirty and that's negative. I haven't used it, but as far as I understood it when I first read the term, it meant natural, kind of unprocessed, and now it doesn't mean that at all. It means diet, it means fad".

Giles sifts through the claims of the Hemsley sisters, who advocate not just gluten-free but grain-free cooking, and Natasha Corrett, who popularises alkaline eating through her Honestly Healthy brand. In America, Giles reveals the key alternative health figures whose food philosophies are influencing the new gurus of clean. He discovers that when it comes to their promises about food and our health, all is not always what it appears to be. Inside a Californian ranch where cancer patients have been treated with alkaline food, Giles sees for himself what can happen when pseudoscience is taken to a shocking extreme.

34 Replies

  • I always wondered what clean eating was. I always assumed it meant organic and unprocessed raw ingredients that people could cook in any way they wanted to.

    But then I've always been a bit naive. :(

  • Rather agree with you!

    I always assumed that if there are websites, books, "summits", television programs, webinars, products, etc., it meant profit. For someone.







    But then I've always been a bit cynical. :-( :-( :-(

  • I follow Chris Kresser, a functional medical practitioner, & take on board some of what he says with regard to nutrition, & his free thyroid health advice is great. It's certainly helped me, without paying a penny. :)

    I've seen a lot of dietary seminars peddled on Veg*n websites, along with promotion of expensive equipment & ridiculously expensive superfoods. Some people don't value what they can learn unless it's at a cost, & seem to have money to burn. Other people are gullible & desperate to cure health conditions that conventional medicine can't or won't fix. Alternative "cures" are often more popular where people can't afford conventional healthcare.

  • That does sound interesting. Thanks for posting!

  • An elderly friend of mine was suckered into a gf and 'alkaline' diet by some vitamin-pushing fool and when I met her one night for dinner she was emaciated and so weak she was holding onto the walls for balance.

    People have been adjusting their diets to suit forever and for a lot of us there is no harm in experimenting to see if excluding some foods can make us feel better, but not all of us are robust enough to deal w the changes, which often result in calorie/protein restriction. One needs to be very plugged in to ensure good nutrition on a severely restricted diet.

  • Oooooh, interesting.

    I remember an article (actually quite a furore) about one Instagram clean eater who claimed CE cured her cancer - total lies and another article about an Instagramer CE who confessed to stuffing her face with crap at night.

  • People have a desperate need to be noticed, to do something others acknowledge, to garner sympathy, whatever.

    The general anonymity of "social media" seems to encourage this. (Even where they are not completely anonymous, no-one knows about their midnight binges or early hours refrigerator raiding.)

    It does undermine our faith in what is posted. Hopefully the balance of genuine people without hidden (or sometimes , not so hidden) agendas here is higher than some places.

  • I was once an admin on a well-known parenting site on a well-known busy board and I have to say that it was the tiniest percentage of posters that had an agenda/bare face lied/or just plain trolled. Hardly made a dent and nothing to worry about.

    (No offence but this is a quiet and relatively dull IN A GOOD WAY board :-p not much to go on if you're a troll or out to get sympathy by lying)

  • There are those who genuinely follow a strict regimen and when something 'resolves' healthwise they say it was their diet, which... hmm.

    I'm not concerned about those who falsely claim diet cured their cancer (as helvella says, social media and attention seekers go together like fish and chips) but it is an ugly thing to do when you know other people w cancer may follow the same regimen, possibly substituting dietary changes for legitimate and proven methods of treatment.

  • Yes, it isn't just ugly it is psychopathic. Complete disregard for humanity and manipulation at it's highest! I remember this article on the news. The woman made a lot of money and she didn't apologise to anybody!! No apology or offers of recompense whatsoever. Mind you, if she was that kind of person to do it in the first place I suppose she wouldn't

  • Well, I haven't died from untreated breast cancer after adopting a special diet (and I wouldn't have done the usual treatment anyway) - however, it's a diet much older than so-called clean eating. And my asthma almost completely went away after 50+ years when I went gluten free, so I wouldn't knock it completely.

  • I'm not knocking eating well - just the people that make a fortune about it and are complete frauds. Pretending you have cancer to further your own brand is appalling.

    I didn't know you had breast cancer Angel, wishing you well and a good recovery xxx

  • Diagnosed 10 years ago - still here. Might still have it. Don't care. I don't think everyone who advocates a particular diet for an illness is lying. It's dreadful that some are.

  • I love how laid back you are! :0)

    I don't think most people are lying either tbh. I think proper eating has lost its way and people are looking to these self-professed food gurus for guidance. On the one hand, I don't blame people to look elsewhere for answers; on the other hand, a fortune is being made by these bloggers.

  • "There are those who genuinely follow a strict regimen and when something 'resolves' healthwise they say it was their diet, which... hmm."

    There is more evidence than you could ever hope to read on the relationship between diet and health. Good and bad health. You seem to be suggesting that when something 'resolves' healthwise it has nothing to do with a person's diet. Read a few studies about diet and diabetes 2 ( just for starters)!

  • While I really do agree that diet is fundamental, I have also witnessed people making ludicrous claims. Even when the claims have a certain validity for the individual, they are not necessarily readily transferable.

    I'll mention

    puncturedbicycle because you tacked onto the end of the thread so your response might not otherwise be noticed.

  • Totally agree with you about ludicrous claims. Though think it's also ludicrous that people believe diet *doesn't* affect us. Clearly not saying one diet fits all -we know it doesn't - but diet should be one of the first things people consider when health issues arise.

  • helvella I was replying to Bombus. :-)

  • But catrich seemed to be replying to you!

  • Yes, no doubt about that. I was quoted! :-)

  • Good morning catrich!

    By 'hmm' I meant that it may be true and it may not but there is no way to prove it. What I mean when I put 'resolves' in scare quotes is that health matters are often good until they're not good anymore, so until you die there is no way to say something was 'cured' but that doesn't stop a lot of people from making outrageous claims.

    My partner had very good results w acupuncture, reducing dairy and reducing coffee. His chronic eczema largely resolved but we can't yet say it was cured, and because it flares occasionally, and these flares seem unconnected to the foods he knows are a trigger, we don't yet know exactly what's going on. So while I would suggest that anyone else w eczema gives that regimen a go by all means, I won't be writing a book entitled The Eczema Cure any time soon.

    One of the nice things about changing one's diet is that it makes us feel like we are in control and indeed it's good to do something good for yourself. But there are too many of us doing too many untestable things to say that we've found an answer that can be applied to all. As I said above, for most of us in reasonable shape any reasonable theory is worth a punt, but extreme diets are not helpful or harmless for everyone.

    I did actually say that many of us will feel better when excluding certain foods so I'm not sure why this has touched a nerve for you. I have read a lot about health and nutrition thanks, and actual studies done in a formal setting (eg diet and diabetes) are of course more reliable than a cancer cure blog or unverified claims made in a book about how I cured myself through diet. The more proof we have of how diet effects us the better. What I believe about unproven claims may still be different to what you believe. :-)

  • I agree and enjoyed reading all the above until the final paragraph with the slightly defensive tone. I am absolutely sure you have read a lot about health and nutrition. And what you believe may well be - clearly is - different etc, etc and vive la difference and all that! No need to take my response personally. It's healthy to debate. And sometimes people - all of us - can be completely wrong irrespective of whether it's dubbed an opinion or statement of fact. ( NOT referring to you here).

    I was responding to the section I referred back to in my reply. Not disagreeing or agreeing with any other statement you have made. And no nerve touched. At least not by you or any statement I have ever read on this forum. Though I don't agree with all of it and wish some people wouldn't scream that dosage is too high or too low before seeing blood results or hearing more details. :-)

  • Maybe we can put that down to the relative lack of nuance in online communication. :-)

  • Ah another programme to demote clean eating per se. Clean eating is up to interpretation as is anything else that is said or believed in. For me I only have to look at the animal world for proof that certain plants are poisonous and need to be avoided and as we are part of the animal world it is common sense that certain produce is better than others to keep us healthy. I haven't watched the programme as yet but will do with interest and an open mind. My granddad had an allotment upon which he used to shovel horse manure when the word organic was unheard of, we loved his fresh veg and tame rabbits he kept for consumption, but then the big conglomerates took over especially after the last war and the indoctrination of food started to take place along with the radical use of pesticides and antibiotics. My grandparents both lived well into their nineties, does this tell me anything, good genes inherited perhaps or wise eating passed down the generations, either is a possibility, even though they were relatively poor the food was clean and edible dare I use that dynamic word that has magically made a controversial programme.

  • Clean eating is demoting itself because of the disengenouosness of some of the clean eating brigade on Instagram (and although I'm not on social media, it still filters down into mainstream media) and the far-reaching and dangerous implications it can have.

    For example: claims that it can cure cancer.

  • Yes I can understand your point regarding social media's capability of contortion. As for claims that dietry interventions can cure cancer this has been proven in certain cases and I know somebody in person who has diminished her tumour in this way. It is dangerous to completely dismiss any dietry regime as one size does not fit all as we all know, this is my concern with certain factions who may have hidden agendas such as big pharma to create dogmatic programmes.

  • Someone with a huge following claimed their cancer was cured using clean eating recipes. They lied about having cancer and if one person with cancer turned down chemotherapey in favour of mung beans and kale then that's criminal on the back of a trickster then that's criminal.

    So it's not contortion - it's downright lies.

    I have a feeling that this is what the programme is about - vultures descending on desperate people saying they can cure them with eating clean and taking huge wodges of cash in order to so.

    But we'll wait and see.

  • I try to stick to what I class as clean eating, ie, I avoid chemically processed foods such as junk food, margarine, transfats, artificial sweeteners, E numbers, preservatives, etc.

    I make most of what I eat from scratch, & try to buy organic, or from sources with nothing too nasty added. I feel it's sensible eating, not cranky or dangerous.

  • My thinking too Leverette

  • I personally follow the autoimmune protocol paleo approach which basically cuts our gluten, grains, dairy so you are eating whole natural whole foods (meats, fish and veggies) ....then after a certain period you can challenge the body by reintroducing foods e.g. milk (gluten is never reintroduced). It's been the best thing I have done for my health. I urge anyone still having problems alongside getting properly medicated to look into diet as it can play a huge role. I do think some people are going overboard with the whole 'natural eating' thing....listen to trained professionals like Chris K and Paleo Mom.

  • Read the various comments and Id probably agree more with Em-Lou. I'd also add - if a diet/ protocol makes you feel better, then I believe that your body responds positively e.g. by secreting helpful chemicals. If that's true, it's surely a good thing and could assist recovery from medical conditions?. Indeed there are many posts throughout this HU forum from thyroid sufferers who have benefitted from paleo etc - arguably constituting a small medical research study (but without the funds that rich drug suppliers put into large studies!).

  • Didn't get to watch the programme, so thanks for the link. This bit jumped out at me:

    So, many of us will, at some point or another, turn to the false prophets of the diet industry to cure the ills that our health service is too stretched and too underfunded to deal with.

  • Interesting stuff, thanks Helvella!

    I shall stop saying I eat "clean food", & start saying I try hard not to eat any cr*p food, instead. I don't follow any of those bloggers, or have any of those cook books, or eat anything too weird. I do still use the same wholefood recipes that I have done for 30 years, & make almost everything from scratch, so I still don't think I'm cranky, wasting my money, or doing myself any harm. :)


You may also like...