In our quest for healthier eating, the terms “clean eating” and “organic diet” often surface, each promising a path to improved well-being. But what sets them apart, and which one is the right fit for you?
Join us on a journey of exploration as we delve into the world of clean eating and organic diets. We’ll uncover their principles, benefits, and potential drawbacks, ultimately helping you make informed choices.
We all know this famous quote by Hippocrates “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
Could this actually be the holy grail of health?
There have been hundreds of different diets over the years claiming health benefits, weight loss, and increased energy, but how many of these are actually using food as medicine?
In order for something to be medicinal, it would need to exert a therapeutic or healing effect on the body. You’ve probably heard about the Mediterranean diet and how beneficial that is, but what about clean eating and going organic?
Is one better than the other?
What Is Clean Eating?
Clean eating is a way of life-based on the belief that eating whole foods in their most natural state and avoiding processed foods such as refined sugar offers certain health benefits. Variations on the clean eating diet may also exclude gluten, grains, and dairy products and advocate the consumption of more raw food.
Addressing The Skeptics
In one study the idea of “clean eating” was been criticized as lacking in scientific evidence and potentially posing health risks. (8)
Another study found that clean recipes had exactly the same fat/carb/protein ratios as normal recipes and therefore could make no difference to a person’s health. (9)
The funny thing is that these studies have not actually analyzed any other health benefits and simply make unsubstantiated statements themselves.
What they have failed to notice here is that the most powerful health benefits of food do not come from the ratio of the macronutrients fat/carb/protein ratios at all, but rather from a vast array of micronutrients, including 800 different antioxidants, enzymes, polysaccharides, oils, vitamins, minerals and dozens of other phytonutrients and medicinal compounds.
Read more on the subject of Forgotten Nutrients Here
Clean eating has also been coined an ‘eating disorder’ by the National Eating Disorder Association, called ‘orthorexia’ (10) and a couple of their red flags are:
- The avoidance and ultimately the elimination of certain types of food that the sufferer may not view as “pure” such as artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives, and foods that may have been genetically or chemically modified or treated with pesticides
- The avoidance of certain processed food groups that society has deemed “unhealthy” (10)
The crazy thing is that there is clear overwhelming evidence that these processed foods do actually cause disease.
One large observational prospective study showed higher consumption of ultra-processed foods was associated with higher risks of cardiovascular, coronary heart, and cerebrovascular diseases. (11) An increase in ultra-processed foods consumption also appears to be associated with overall higher mortality risk among this adult population according to another study. (12)
The most damning results come from a large observational study published online Feb. 11, 2019, by JAMA Internal Medicine, where almost 45,000 adults ages 45 and older completed several dietary assessments over a two-year period. On average, ultra-processed foods made up about 15% of their daily diet as measured in grams.
Ultra-processed food was defined as ready-to-eat and microwaveable foods, such as bread, breakfast cereals, instant noodles, chicken or fish nuggets, chocolate bars, and candies, chips, and artificially sweetened beverages.
After nine years, the researchers found a direct statistical connection between a higher intake of ultra-processed food and a higher risk of early death from all causes, especially cancers and cardiovascular disease., the most common killers.
Eating clean is therefore not an eating disorder, but rather a very sensible move if you want to preserve your health.
My suggestion is, try to eat as clean as you can without getting fanatical about it. If you move towards a higher percentage of clean food (food without processing or any chemical additives) your body will respond with more energy, a stronger immune system, and quicker healing responses.
Another point to make is that going organic is not considered the same as clean eating, as clean eating also includes avoiding all processed foods. Organic food is a slightly different approach, so let’s compare the two.
What is an Organic diet?
Organic food is food produced by methods that comply with the standards of organic farming. Standards vary worldwide, but organic farming features practices that cycle resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity.
Organizations regulating organic products may restrict the use of certain pesticides and fertilizers in the farming methods used to produce such products. Organic foods typically are not processed using irradiation, industrial solvents, or synthetic food additives. (14)
Unlike a clean diet, organic food can still be processed and can include bread, pasta, cereals, sweets, biscuits, cakes, and canned foods.
Some Benefits of an Organic Diet
The secret is getting extra high quality healthy nutritious food and this can be tough in today’s profit-driven supermarkets. The reason the food growing industry commercially spray and fertilize foods is to make them grow bigger and to poison the insects and deter birds so they don’t eat it, maximizing yield and profitability. In the process, we are poisoning our population and actually consuming hollow, artificially enhanced, nutrient-devoid food.
Everyone is becoming more conscious of how food affects their health and awareness of the negative aspects of industrial farming is increasing.
Detoxification and Healing
If you want to allow your body its full potential to grow, heal and tap into life energy then going organic makes perfect sense. Using organic produce alongside a Herbal DETOX program is the ideal combination to get a quality natural internal body cleanse. By using herbs to enhance your body’s natural detox processes and by eating organic produce alongside you can potentially double the healing micronutrient levels in your body. This can encourage rapid healing and cleansing simultaneously.
We highly recommend going organic if you want the best health results from a detox or weight loss products like those in the Ultimate Herbal Health Program.
Global Trend Towards Organic Food
Commercial Foods Full of Poisons
Pesticides, due to their intensive use and their peculiar chemical features, can persist in the environment and enter the food chain, thus representing an environmental risk for the ecosystems and human health. (7)
Over 66% of commercially sprayed produce has pesticides present when they sit on the supermarket shelves. Tests were performed on the produce available on the American market and the results were staggering. Nearly two-thirds of the 3,015 produce samples tested by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2013 contained pesticide residues – a surprising finding in the face of soaring consumer demand for food without agricultural chemicals.
- Apples: 98% of conventional apples had pesticides
- Celery: tested positive for 57 different pesticides
- Capsicum: up to 15 pesticides on a single sample
- Peaches: More than 60 pesticides have been found on peaches
- Grapes: Grapes have more types of pesticides than any other produce, with 64 different pesticides
- Lettuce: 78 different pesticides were found on lettuce samples
- Cucumbers: 81 different pesticide residues were found on cucumbers
Much Higher nutrient levels
In another study, researchers were open to finding an outcome that might show a very slightly higher content in the organic produce than in commercial production, which they thought would be due to the chemicals used to grow the commercial plants, the outcomes of the study shocked the researchers!
When they saw that the amount of iron found in the organic spinach was 97% higher than in the commercial non-organic spinach and that manganese was 99% higher in the organic over the commercial, they were truly amazed. In commercially grown vegetables, many trace elements were completely absent compared to the organic produce where they were abundant. (3)
See just two examples of this study below.
Here’s one shocking outcome of this study – in all 5 of the tested vegetables: snap beans, cabbage, lettuce, tomatoes, and spinach the organic vegetables, all contained healthy levels of cobalt, an essential trace mineral compared to the commercial vegetables which contain none. (3)
According to one study when considering the consumption pattern of organic consumers, an increase in intake of a selected set of nutrients and contaminants was observed. (6)
People who eat organic are therefore better nourished in general. Not only do they tend to eat more vegetables and fruit, but this produce is of higher nutritional value. On the flip side, the combination of ingesting pesticides and chemicals while eating mineral-deficient food must certainly lead to an unhealthy state in the rest of the population over time.
Cardiovascular Diseases Reduced by Organic food
Another study compared Non-Organic Food Consumers with Organic Food Consumers and found those who ate organic had a lower risk of type II diabetes, hypertension, and Cardio Vascular Disease. This effect was significant for men. (1)
Birth Defects Reduced by Organic Food
A study looked at 35,107 women and their male infants. Nearly half of the women reported eating organic foods regularly or occasionally, while the other half seldom or never did. Among the women who ate organic foods, there were 22 cases of hypospadias (a penis deformation) in their infants. In contrast, the mothers who rarely or never ate organic foods had 52 cases of hypospadias in their infants. Among all the types of foods, organic vegetables showed the most significant link to a lower occurrence of hypospadias. (15)
Is it any wonder when you consider what all these chemicals must be doing once they enter our bodies. Going organic where possible definitely seems the logical choice.
Where Organic Diets Fail
One thing I have noticed over the years is where a lot of organic diets fail.
You can go into an organic health store and still find a lot of processed junk food, and of course, the destructive effects of red meat. Yes, you can eat organic food but still consume a large quantity of meat, cereals, bread, chippies, sweets, donuts, and ice cream. What I’m saying is that going organic is not necessarily going healthy.
That’s where a clean diet can actually be more health-promoting, even when all of the foods are not necessarily organic. The health-promoting benefits of food actually come back to the level of nutrition they provide, and I don’t just mean fat, protein, or carbohydrate, I mean actual phytonutrients (plant nutrients).
The key distinction between an organic diet and a clean diet lies in the presence of processed foods. When you follow an organic diet, it doesn’t mean you’re avoiding processed items like artificial sugars and trans-fats.
In essence, being on an entirely organic diet doesn’t automatically equal healthy eating. Imagine a diet consisting entirely of organic potato chips, popcorn, donuts, and chocolate bars – not exactly a nutritious choice. Surprisingly, organic supermarkets can stock just as many processed foods as regular ones.
Here’s my suggestion: aim for a balanced approach by incorporating both clean and organic options whenever possible. Avoid going to extremes and becoming overly fixated on any single dietary regimen. Like detoxing and weight loss, these approaches can promote well-being, but they work best when integrated into a balanced lifestyle with gradual, intermittent changes.
Remember, while both clean and organic diets offer benefits, neither one is a magic solution for health on its own.
Brett Elliott ®