Many people have heard the phrase “clean eating,” but what does it really mean? What is the difference between clean eating and dieting? Many of these types of terms in the world of health and fitness can be rather confusing.
Clean eating refers to the consumption of whole foods that are closest to their natural state. Basically, the less processing the better! You’ve probably heard the common advice to shop the outer perimeter of the grocery store and to not head down the aisles. The outer sections of the grocery store are where you will find all of the foods typically associated with clean eating: fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats and fish, as well as various nuts and seeds in bulk.
Clean eating is very different from dieting. Dieting usually entails being very specific with what you eat and often focuses on various quantitative factors, such as a strict quantities of calories, carbs, fats and protein allowed per day. Clean eating is the opposite: it focuses on simply eating only healthy whole foods with less of a focus on quantitative numbers. Clean eating allows much more dietary freedom as you are not forced to meticulously calculate everything you eat.
Clean eating is a long-term lifestyle change, while dieting is a short-term fix that is often unsustainable.