Clean Eating or Flexible Dieting?

Please understand that not all dieting methods are created equal. Thus, to treat all diets as the same and talk about the dangers of dieting without acknowledging the nuances of eating behavior is myopic and one-dimensional. You can for sure get yourself into a lot of trouble when pursuing fat loss (as with many endeavors), and it’s certainly not appropriate for everyone (again, as with many endeavors), but it’s also important to understand that there are many shades of grey here. ⁣

Additionally, many people think that clean eating and flexible dieting are both specific diets, but they’re not. The difference between these two approaches lies not in WHAT foods you eat, but rather the mindset with which you approach your nutrition.⁣

In the scientific literature, the terms “rigid dietary restraint” and “flexible dieting restraint,” or “rigid dieting” and “flexible dieting” are used to describe these concepts. Clean eating involves an all-or-nothing mindset. You think of foods are being either good or bad, permitted or forbidden. It makes sense, then, that consuming said “forbidden” foods would induce feelings of guilt and remorse. Indeed, the research shows that clean eating is associated with higher body mass, more yo-yo dieting, more binge eating episodes, plus greater anxiety and body images issues. ⁣

On the flipside, flexible dieting is far more moderate. No foods are off limits, and a heavy emphasis is placed on portion sizes. Flexible dieting is correlated with the absence of overeating, lower body mass, and lower levels of depression and anxiety. Plus, it predicts better long-term outcomes as well as fewer disordered eating symptoms and behaviors. ⁣

However you choose to eat, understand that typically, more restrictive methods tend to backfire. Find a way to enjoy the way you eat for lasting results. ⁣

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