Eat-Clean Diet

Definition

The Eat-Clean diet is a weight loss and lifestyle plan that emphasizes eating unrefined (or “whole”) foods in an attempt to eliminate all processed foods and refined ingredients, such as white flour or sugar, from the diet.

Origins

The Eat-Clean program is the brainchild of Tosca Reno. Reno, a Canadian, found herself overweight and with little energy at age 40. She lost weight and transformed herself into a fitness and lifestyle guru by exercising and following what became the Eat-Clean diet. She entered various fitness competitions and began publishing columns in fitness magazines, which eventually led to the publication of a dozen Eat-Clean books that she published with her husband, Robert Kennedy, as well as the Clean Eating magazine and a television program.

Description

The Eat-Clean organization emphasizes that clean eating is not a diet but a lifestyle. The program is structured so that participants eat five or six meals of 250–300 calories daily. Calorie counting is discouraged, however, and the program instead emphasizes portion control and limiting all processed and refined foods, alcohol, food colorings, preservatives, and saturated fats. Dieters are instructed to eat organic foods when possible, choosing from lean meat (e.g., chicken, fish, turkey), vegetable proteins (e.g., soya, textured vegetable protein), whole grains (e.g., brown rice, quinoa, oats), and fresh fruits and vegetables. Other program guidelines include eating a small amount of protein with a complex carbohydrate at every meal, drinking at least eight glasses of water daily, never skipping a meal, and consuming small amounts of healthy fats. In addition, the program recommends certain dietary supplements and a weight-training program of at least 30 minutes three times a week, with additional exercise encouraged.

The Eat-Clean diet does not require the purchase of a membership, meeting attendance, or the purchase of pre-packaged foods. Dieters do have the option of purchasing any of the books and cookbooks written by Tosca Reno. Facebook and Twitter groups are available to offer support. Since the goal of this program is lifestyle change, there are no specific weight loss goals and no defined end to the program.

Function

The Eat-Clean diet is intended to promote weight loss, increase energy, and improve fitness. By eating many small meals, the diet strives to keep blood sugar levels constant and prevent hunger. The emphasis on chemical-free organic foods is intended to reduce the chemical burden on the body.

Benefits

The Eat-Clean program's emphasis on whole grains, lean proteins, and fresh fruits and vegetables is in line with conventional nutritional thinking on healthy eating. Vegetarians can go on this diet so long as they are careful about their protein consumption. This diet may be suitable for people with diabetes but should not be started without consulting a physician.

Limited portions and emphasis on exercise do lead to weight loss, as more calories are used than are taken in on the diet. The diet emphasizes a slow, steady weight loss of an average of 2 lb. (1 kg) per week, which is in line with most medical advice. Weight loss often increases energy and improves self-confidence and the general feeling of well-being.

KEY TERMS
Calorie—
A unit of food energy. In nutrition, the word calorie refers to the scientific term kilocalorie, which represents the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of one liter of water by one degree centigrade at sea level. One calorie of food energy is equal to 1,000 true calories of energy.
Dietary supplement—
A product, such as avitamin, mineral, herb, amino acid, or enzyme, that is intended to be consumed in addition to an individual's diet with the expectation that it will improve health.
Fat—
A nutrient that the body uses as an energy source. Fats produce nine calories per gram.
Protein—
A nutrient that helps build many parts of the body, including muscle and bone. Protein provides four calories per gram and is found in foods like meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy products, beans, nuts, and tofu.
Whole grain—
Cereal grains that contain the germ, bran, and endosperm of the grain. They can usually be sprouted, whereas refined grains cannot.

Precautions

It is nearly impossible to eliminate all processed foods from the diet. People participating in the Eat-Clean program should understand that it is extremely difficult and should not feel as though they are unsuccessful if they do consume processed foods or ingredients.

Anyone beginning this diet should consult a healthcare professional, especially individuals with a chronic disease, such as diabetes or another ongoing health problem. If taking dietary supplements, participants should make sure that the supplements do not interact with any other medications (prescription, over-the-counter, or herbal) that they are taking. Women who are, or who wish to become, pregnant should discuss the appropriateness of this diet and exercise program with their physician.

Risks

The greatest risk to participants is the difficulty in staying on the program. Dieters must give up many common foods and must eat frequently throughout the day. This can make work and socializing difficult. In addition, exercising is an essential part of the Eat-Clean program. Some suggested exercises may not be appropriate for everyone and could aggravate a preexisting condition. Individuals should check with a healthcare professional about the type and level of exercise that is appropriate for their fitness levels.

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR DOCTOR

Research and general acceptance

Many of the principles of the Eat-Clean diet are endorsed by the traditional medical establishment. This is not a fad diet. However, some healthcare professionals express reservations about the dietary supplements recommended by the program, and other medical experts have also questioned the fat restrictions imposed by the diet.

See also Calorie restriction ; Whole foods vs. processed foods ; Whole grains .

Resources

BOOKS

Reno, Tosca. The Eat-Clean Diet. Mississauga, ON: Robert Kennedy, 2007.

Reno, Tosca. The Eat-Clean Diet Recharged: Lasting Fat Loss That's Better than Ever! Mississauga, ON: Robert Kennedy, 2009.

Reno, Tosca. Tosca Reno's Eat Clean Cookbook: Delicious Recipes That Will Burn Fat and Re-Shape Your Body! Mississauga, ON: Robert Kennedy, 2009.

WEBSITES

“Eat Clean Diet.” Freedieting.com . https://www.freedieting.com/clean-eat-diet (accessed March 27, 2018).

“The Eat-Clean Diet® Fast Fat Loss that Lasts a Lifetime.” http://toscareno.com/eat-clean/ (accessed March 27, 2018).

Clean Eating magazine. http://www.cleaneatingmag.com (accessed March 27, 2018).

Zelman, Kathleen M. “The Eat-Clean Diet: Diet Review.” WebMD.com . http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/eat-clean-diet-review (accessed March 27, 2018).

Tish Davidson, AM

  This information is not a tool for self-diagnosis or a substitute for professional care.