Why You Shouldn't Eat Clean: How To Lose Fat More Effectively

all right what's going on guys so in

this video i want to talk about clean

eating now let me start by saying that

if you follow clean eating yourself

and it's been working well for you and

it's something you feel like you can

happily stick to

that's totally fine i do think that

nutrition is very individual

so the problems i'm going to outline

here may or may not all apply to all of

you but i do think that there certainly

are better approaches to dieting that

many people would benefit from hearing


because despite its many drawbacks clean

eating is still extremely popular in the

fitness industry today

this was shown just last month in a new

survey covered in the latest issue of

the mass research review

of over a thousand young people aged 14

to 24.

now 88 of people viewed clean eating as

positive so only 12

saw it as negative in fact 71 of people

viewed clean eating as entirely healthy

with no unhealthy or harmful features so

clearly most people

probably including many of you still

think clean eating is a good idea

and i'll admit that on the surface it

really does seem like an obviously

reasonable approach

you just get rid of any dirty junk foods

and instead eat clean

nutritious whole foods what could be the

problem with that well

even though it seems to make sense on

the surface as we'll see i think the

devil is in the details

so the first issue is that no one seems

to agree on what clean eating actually

means and this has very practical

implications if you talk to your typical

bodybuilder they'll give you a short

list of six or seven foods

something like chicken egg whites brown

rice sweet potato oatmeal and protein


and even with a list this short you

might already start to notice some


people say a main criterion of counting

as clean as being unprocessed

whole or natural yet protein powder

almost always makes the list

despite being very highly processed

refined and synthetic

oatmeal undergoes extensive processing

as well now even though it's still

totally arbitrary i can see why brown

rice gets the clean label while white

rice doesn't because white rice goes

through some additional processing

to mill out the bran and the germ

stripping away some b vitamins and fiber

in the process

but then as pointed out in the mass

write-up it doesn't make sense why sweet

potatoes get the clean label while white

potatoes don't

because neither sweet potatoes nor white

potatoes are milled or processed

so it doesn't make sense for sweet

potatoes to be any cleaner than white


other than the fact that the white color

reminds people of white rice or white


which are more highly processed than

their browner counterparts in fact white

potatoes could be argued as being one of

the best

fat loss foods out there because of how

incredibly satiating they are per


one study found that when compared to

other common carbohydrate sources

potatoes are by far the most satiating

so what counts as clean

clearly depends on who you ask and what

diet they follow if you follow keto you

might say

all carbs are dirty if you follow paleo

you might say grains and dairy are bad

but meats and veggies are fine and this

is a problem because as dr holm said in

the latest mass review

if you tried to eat clean according to

every group's definition you'd have an

empty plate now this might seem like i'm

just nitpicking or playing semantics but

not being able to clearly define

what the approach actually entails makes

it hard to give dietary guidelines based

on sound nutritional principles

and can end up causing some pretty

serious issues as we'll see

so the second problem i notice with

clean eating especially when it comes to

fat loss is that even if it technically

works which it can it's still needlessly


for most people a true commitment to

clean eating means you're not able to

partake in special occasions or enjoy

dinners with friends or family

because what's on the menu is off limits

and that's kind of a shame because you

can miss out on a lot of life

for no reason since science tells us

that it's perfectly fine to be flexible

with your diet

and enjoy a variety of foods even some

processed junk foods

and you'll still lose fat just as well

as long as you're in the same

net caloric deficit over time and eating

enough protein

in fact it's actually better than that

being more flexible with your diet isn't


good enough for fat loss research tells

us that it's likely better than clean


which leads me to problem number three

clean eating just isn't the most

effective strategy for long-term fat


for most people one study from 2012 gave

two groups the same diet

except one group wasn't allowed to eat

bread and the other group was

clean eaters especially if they follow

paleo aquito might expect the group

without bread to do better

but in reality after 16 weeks both

groups lost the same amount of fat

but the group that was told to cut out

the bread had way more subjects drop out

part way through

they just couldn't stick to the diet as

well so over the long term the more

foods you make

off limits the harder it'll be to

consistently follow through this is

supported by other research

as well for example this study examined

what they called flexible control versus

rigid control flexible control basically

means you're flexible with how you

schedule your meals

you're flexible with your weight loss

timeline and you take a non-dichotomous

view of foods

so you don't see foods as either good or

bad or clean or dirty

rigid control means the opposite you

have rigid timelines you often try to

diet as fast as possible

and you look at foods as being either

good or bad so there are foods you can


and others that you can't and as it

turns out flexible control was

associated with lower body mass index

less binge eating and better weight loss

over a one year program then when the

same researchers did a follow-up three

years later

they found that flexible control was

better at maintaining weight loss after

three years as well and this shouldn't

be surprising the strictest clean eaters

are pre-contest bodybuilders

and they're the perfect example of

people who see cyclical not sustainable

weight loss

almost without exception bodybuilders

will lose fat for several weeks leading

up to a competition

and then spend the rest of the year

being at a higher body fat percentage so

even if we just ignore the research and

look at the best anecdotes

clean eating still doesn't bode well for

sustainable long-term fat loss

all right the fourth issue with clean

eating is that it can easily lead to

disordered eating

clean eating implies that if there are

good foods there must also be

bad foods and this is where it can start

to go wrong for a lot of people


research shows that black and white

thinking about food can cause orthorexia

where you become obsessed with only

eating foods you think are clean or


and other potentially more severe eating

disorders as well

in 2002 stuart and colleagues found that

rigid dieting strategies like clean


but not flexible dieting strategies were

associated with eating disorder symptoms

and a new paper from 2020 looking at how

different eating patterns relate to

binge eating and over 1300 subjects

found that inflexible eating beliefs and

high rigid restraint

were more likely to be associated with

recurrent binge eating

now that doesn't mean that so-called

flexible dieting or if it fits your

macros is a silver bullet either

just because you track your macros and

occasionally squeeze a pop tart into

your carb count

it doesn't mean you've immunized

yourself from these potential

psychological pitfalls but just simply

acknowledging that there really is no

such thing as a

bad food is a good place to start as the

mass review says no food you eat

independent of the amount or frequency

that you consume it has a measurable

negative effect on you

and junk foods that are high calorie

highly processed highly palatable and

low in micronutrients

are only problematic if they dominate

your diet and this brings me to the

final problem that i see with clean


even though it's touted as being

extremely healthy it probably

isn't as healthy as you think now to be

clear of course there are foods that

promote good health

like fruits and vegetables and foods

that when eaten too much

and too often can lead to health

problems like ice cream and french fries

the thing clean eaters often miss is the

fact that the dose

always makes the poison even the most

toxic and dangerous substance on earth

is only actually harmful at a given dose

and even water the most essential

component to life

will kill you at a high enough dose it's

no different with ice cream and french


what really matters is how much of that

junk food you're eating

and what the rest of your diet looks

like and if maximizing your health is

your main goal

extreme clean eating isn't the best

solution depending on just how many

foods you eliminate

you can easily run into nutrient

deficiencies this was shown in studies

from kleiner and colleagues which found

that male bodybuilders only had 46

percent of the rda for vitamin d

and women hit just 52 for calcium while

also being deficient in zinc

copper and chromium so unless you

carefully monitor your vitamin and

mineral intake

eliminating foods or food groups is an

easy way to miss out on key nutrients

for health

so with all those things in mind what do

i actually recommend well first of all i

like helm's suggestion that rather than

excluding bad foods

focus more on including nutrient dense

foods so yeah do make an effort to eat

more fruits vegetables grains and

healthy fats

but don't feel like you have to totally

eliminate all junk foods

or any specific foods from your diet and

that's true whether your main goal is


fat loss or both now when it comes to

fat loss we know that there really

aren't any magic

fat burning foods except kiwis just like

there aren't any magic fat storing foods

ultimately fat loss comes down to

putting yourself in a net caloric

deficit over time

and to a lesser extent eating enough

protein people often try to mystify fat

loss because it's more marketable when

it's mysterious

but it really is that simple every diet

that's ever succeeded at causing fat

loss has

one defining feature in common a caloric

deficit so for some people

tracking caloric intake protein intake

and optionally macronutrient intake

depending on how detailed you want to


will be the best strategy i personally

periodically track my intake using an

app like myfitnesspal

to make sure i'm in the right ballpark

with my calories and my macros

in this way if i want to fit some junk

food in my diet that would be off limits

on a clean eating plan

i can do that by just fitting it into my

calorie or macro targets

without compromising my results at all

but of course it isn't that active

tracking that causes fat loss and there

are no

magic macros either it's simply one way

of ensuring that you are in fact eating

an appropriate number of calories for

your goal

so you obviously don't need to track

calories or macros to lose fat

it just works better at keeping some

people on track while still allowing for

flexibility and variety in the actual

food choices

for others a more auto regulated

approach will be just as or more


without the same bother of having to

track everything this is something i'd

need a full video to do justice so you

guys can just let me know if that's

something you'd like to hear me cover in

more detail

in the future but very quickly three

things to focus on are prioritizing

nutrient dense

minimally processed whole foods but not

eliminating foods entirely you want to

be more consistent with your meals

when you try to eat similar meals at

similar times while also being flexible

enough to realize that it doesn't really

matter if you miss a meal or if you eat

something different occasionally and

then use a body scale

and progress photos to track your

progress over time and i think i'm going

to leave it there for this one

if you guys would like a much more

thorough breakdown of the practical

elements of what i recommend for

any goal whether it be losing fat

building muscle or doing both at the

same time

i'd recommend checking out my 17 chapter

ultimate guide to body recomposition

which i'll link down below and as you

can probably tell a lot of the info in

this video came from this month's issue

of the mass research review which i'll

leave an affiliate link to

down below as well if you guys would

like to check that out and help support

me in the process

i would say the best way to stay up to

date with the research on training and


is to simply just subscribe to mass and

you can also get there on my website so

if you go to jeffnaper.com

go to the affiliate tab and click on the

mass research review over there and

that'll get you there as well

uh thank you guys so much for watching

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i'll see you guys all here in the next