▲Skittles at the Trafford Centre
The hash tag #balancednotclean is going around the Internet quite a bit at the moment and I am a huge supporter of this. Something a great deal of people need to understand is that to eat healthily is to eat a balanced diet and not to eat ‘clean’, never eat anything with fat or sugar or even to cut out food groups altogether.
What a balanced diet is, is including each of the five food groups in their respective quantities.
Look at the eatwell plate above – notice how it includes all of the food groups? Well that’s because our body needs all of these to function properly. Now I’m not saying that eating three chocolate bars and a pizza every night is healthy but what I am saying is that eating these foods is not a bad thing as everything in moderation is healthy. So go ahead, have a piece of cake when you’re out with your friends, think of this and you’ll have no reason to feel guilty for it.
Women’s bodies in particular need some fats to function as it is needed for the proper functioning of our nerves and brain. Fats are part of myelin, a material which wraps around nerve cells so that they can send electrical messages. It is also needed to maintain healthy skin and other tissues because all of our cells need some fat as an essential part of their cell membrane. They also form the structure of many important substances in our body including a hormones. This is why many underweight teenage girls experience delayed puberty or even amenorrhoea (loss of periods). Fat also acts as a protective cushion for our organs holding them in place and protecting them from injuries.
Carbohydrates and sugar are also essential parts of a balanced diet but so many people are scared of them for no good reason. For the brain, heart and nervous system to function properly then a constant supply of carbohydrates is needed. This is because during digestion carbohydrates are converted to glucose (a form of sugar) which gives us the majority of our energy for our muscles and other parts of the body.
All of the above reasons are why eating a balanced diet is so important and why ‘clean eating’ is basically a load of bulls**t!