Clean eating. What does that even mean? Swapping couscous for quinoa, oil for avocado, cabbage for kale? Ever since the likes of Deliciously Ella and the Hemsley sisters stepped into the limelight, alongside the palpable rise of social media, the world has gone completely nuts (no pun intended) for the phenomenon that is ‘clean eating’. Health gurus are constantly using digital platforms such as Instagram and Twitter to push the theory that by ‘eating clean’, we can improve our health. Of course, maintaining a balanced and nutritional diet is essential to living a healthy life, but to what extent has the social media sensation gone a step too far?

Last night on BBC 2, Dr Giles Yeo investigated numerous nutritional approaches that are currently trending as the ‘healthiest’ and cleanest’ ways to live. Eliminating gluten and grains, drinking plant based milks and practising an Alkaline diet are all ways in which we can supposedly improve our health. But how do we know whether these are simply food fads, or genuine, proven ways to positively impact our health?

As a result of the rise of multiple online influencers, more and more people have adopted a ‘gluten-free’ lifestyle, despite only 1% of the population actually suffering from Coeliac disease. Others are choosing to give up grains, subsequent to the Hemsley sisters and

Dr William Davis, author of bestselling ‘Wheat Belly’. A dietary approach which has definitely gone a step too far however, is the Alkaline diet – most commonly associated with Natasha Corrett of Honestly Healthy. This pseudoscience has been taken to the extreme by Robert O Young, who claims that an alkaline based diet can reverse cancer.

It seems that clean eating is not always as it appears to be, and that social media is not only affecting our relationship with food, but is making us feel worse about ourselves, rather than better. Food can not do what medicine can, so until science proves different, we’re sticking with the good old fashioned approach of eating fruit and veg, cooking from scratch and scoffing the occasional donut!