If you’ve been around the health and fitness community for any length of time, you’ve almost certainly encountered the term “clean eating.” While, like other terms like “healthy” and “natural,” this phrase can be a little vague in meaning, all clean eating protocols share the same basic principles. Essentially, clean eaters try to stick to minimally processed foods, while avoiding artificial dyes, flavorings, sweeteners and preservatives. But why? Is there any real benefit to clean eating – in any of it’s various forms? Here are just 7 reasons why you should be eating clean.
- Reduced body fat – Among experts, it’s generally agreed that nutrition plays a much greater role in weight loss than exercise and the clean eating philosophy strongly supports this stance. Simply increasing your intake of fruits, vegetables and lean meats is always a powerful way to reduce body fat. Combine that with the avoidance of artificial additives and added sugars – which have all been shown to increase the risk of obesity – and clean eating could be exactly what you need to trim down.
- Improved mood and cognitive function – Your brain does plenty for you besides just acting as a control center for the rest of the body. Proper chemistry can impact your mood and thinking ability in a complicated web of factors that many scientists refer to collectively as “flourishing.” A 2015 study published in the British Journal of Health Psychology found that young adults (with an average age of 19.9 years) who ate more fruits and vegetables flourished more than others – meaning that they were more creative, happier, positive and curious. Other studies have found that increased intake of fruits and vegetables also results in more energy and a greater sense of calm.
- Reduced risk of metabolic syndrome – Sort of a broad, umbrella term “metabolic syndrome” refers to a collection of conditions that combine to increase your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Studies have found that artificial emulsifiers and sweeteners both impact human gut bacteria in such a way that increases the risk of this conditions, and, in turn, metabolic syndrome.
- Increased muscle mass – Along with helping you cut down on your body fat, the lean protein featured in clean eating can help you to increase muscle mass by giving your body exactly what it needs to properly recover from your workouts. Of course, that means that clean eating needs to be combined with well-designed workouts if that’s your goal.
- Improved skin – Not only does clean eating encourage increase fruit and vegetable intake – which are full of water and antioxidants – but it also usually comes along with a push to drink more water. All that extra hydration, combined with the antioxidants found in plants, will help to improve the health and appearance of your skin.
- Reduced risk of behavioral problems – Beginning in the 1970s, artificial dyes have been linked to hyperactivity in children and these findings have been supported by numerous other studies in recent years. While the FDA officially considers these substances “safe,” the concerns have been powerful enough for some companies, including Kraft, to remove artificial colorings from their products and replace them with natural alternatives.
- Reduced risk of cancer – Of course, increasing your intake of naturally occurring antioxidants and phytochemicals will help to ward of several different types of cancer. In addition, several artificial sweeteners have shown a potential to increase the risk of certain cancers. Cutting these additives out of your diet, then, will logically help to reduce that risk.
To support your athletic goals and help you keep your diet clean, all Gnarly products are completely clean. This includes, of course, Gnarly Whey – which is made from all organic, grass-fed dairy cows.