Why Eating Clean May Not Get You Lean


Why Eating Clean May Not Get You Lean

Backing yourself in to a corner with the foods your ‘diet’ allows? I breakdown why so called ‘clean eating’ mightn’t be for you…

What is clean eating?

Clean eating is a myth, it’s a tag given to a selection of foods that are the go to food sources for anybody dieting. When you ask someone who is clean eating to compile a list of the foods they are consuming you will most likely find chicken, broccoli and rice on the list. Now this isn’t a bad thing so to speak but let me explain why it isn’t a good thing either!

Calories and Fatloss

I’m going to briefly talk about calories and the relation to fat loss or gain:

  • Your body needs energy just to read this article, it gets that energy from calories.
  • Your main source of energy comes from food and stored body fat.
  • If you provide yourself with more calories than you use, you will store body fat.
  • So in order to burn body fat you need to ensure you provide yourself with enough calories to support daily life but still use up some of that unwanted body fat.


At no point does your body register food sources, carbs are carbs whether they come from rice, a piece of bread or a bar of chocolate they all become glycogen when consumed, the only difference is the time in which they are released for use as energy in your system, lower GI foods will provide energy over a few hours whereas energy taken from the likes of sugar will be readily available much quicker, there are a couple of other factors to take into account but we can save that for another day, for the time being just understand that the occasional bar of chocolate is not going to cause you to gain a load of fat. Of course this isn’t to say eating wholesome foods, lean meats, fruit and veg is bad, its good in fact but dependence on these foods can lead to a number of physiological and psychological issues when dieting is concerned….

Problems with clean eating?

  • Lack of variety – When someone is eating clean the likelihood is they are limiting themselves to around 10 food sources, yes the foods may be nutritious, but they will not have every nutrient your body requires and in all likelihood you are creating a nutrient deficiency for yourself, not good. By limiting other foods you are putting your digestive health at risk which can be crucial when trying to regulate weight. Of course supplementation could be the answer but food tastes better!


  • Psychological – Again let’s talk about the limitation clean eating has. You cannot eat chocolate, you are told chocolate is bad for you and you shouldn’t have it, now all’s you can think about is chocolate but why? Because if i tell you not to think about a polar bear, a polar bear is the first thing that comes to mind. Limiting foods makes us want them more! If you get a craving for anything eat it! because one chocolate bar is better than the 10 you will eat 2 weeks later when your will power can’t take the cravings anymore. Plus 1 bar of chocolate every now and then is most likely far less than you were eating when you weren’t ‘clean eating’. In the long term this WILL help you lose weight, enjoy the foods you love and create a healthy relationship with food.

So what should you do

Add variety! Don’t not eat bacon because it not on the clean eating list, why not put it on bread?!

Rules you should stick too:

  • Continue to base your diet on wholesome foods – lean meats, vegetables, fresh fruit etc… Just make sure to mix these up have a steak every so often or replace chicken with turkey.
  • Always choose the best of a bad bunch. Example instead of getting a McDonalds get a chicken kebab instead.
  • Following on from above point, identify foods that cause you problems i.e. if a packet of chocolate digestives are in my house I will most likely eat the whole packet with a cup of tea, so I stay away because that’s a food I lack control over, whereas I still enjoy a bar of chocolate if I get the urge because I know where to stop!
  • Do not tell everyone you are eating clean or on a diet, its added pressure you don’t need on yourself.

Want to know a little bit more about what you can do nutritionally while looking to improve your fitness goals? Drop me a line & we can talk specifically about YOUR needs


About Author

I am an ex-professional athlete & personal trainer based in No Limits Strength & Conditioning Gym in Liverpool I have the first-hand experience of first class training and nutrition. I can build a program to suit your goals and needs, teaching you everything you need to make that transformation. A keen interest in Nutrition and exercise has led to me to enrolling on Exercise and Sport Science Degree which allows me to bring advanced and ground breaking methods into practice. Whether you’re interested in muscle gain, fat loss or performance I have proven strategies to produce continual progress with my clients.

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