Nigella Lawson Calls Clean Eating 'A Way To Hide an Eating Disorder' — Is She Right?

Is everyone eating clean masking an eating disorder? Nigella thinks so. (Photo: Getty Images)

If you’ve scrolled through social media, picked up a diet book or simply typed “lose weight” into your search bar, you’re pretty much guaranteed to come across the phrase “clean eating.” Although this phrase quickly caught on within the health and fitness world, there’s one foodie that’s vehemently against it, British celebrity chef Nigella Lawson.

The Taste host previously slammed the term (along with the whole health craze in general) in an interview with the BBC, saying that “the notion of ‘clean eating’ is an implication that any other form of eating is dirty or shameful.”

Related: 4 Ways to Reset Your Taste Buds (In Other Words: How to Crave Only the Healthy Stuff)

Then, while speaking at the JW3 Speaker Series in London, Nigella went on to condemn the phrase further, implicating that it’s commonly used to mask serious health conditions. “People are using certain diets as a way to hide an eating disorder or a sense of unhappiness and unease with their own body,” she explained.

The cook-book author of Simply Nigella: Feel Good Food, has definitely challenged our views of healthy eating and even our word choice when praising weight loss and dieting. “When women say ‘you have lost weight,’ that is not a good thing,” she exclaimed recently on The Late Late Show, “Generally I think it’s not good if it’s thought that being thinner is always better.”

Related: The Surprising Reason Healthy Food Can Make You Gain Weight

So, does Nigella have a point? Clean eating has largely been associated with healthier eating habits like embracing lean proteins, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, but is this just another fad diet with a larger problem hidden behind it?

Kelly LeVeque, a health coach and holistic nutritionist, doesn’t think so. “I think it would be a stretch to say that everyone who eats clean falls into those categories,” she says. “People are motivated to eat clean for a variety of legitimate health reasons, many of them specific to their individual health issues, such as autoimmune diseases, food allergies, digestive issues and family health history.”

Related: 9 Herbs That Make Any Meal Healthier

Of course there are people that will misuse the term as a shield to mask eating disorders and other serious conditions, but LeVeque believes it’s important to remember that there are legitimate health and lifestyle reasons for eating clean, and we shouldn’t let negative stereotypes make us overly-dismissive or judgmental of people’s food choices.

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