Can Clean Eating Actually Be Bad for You?

A couple days ago I came across an article published on Today called Blogger Jordan Younger reveals how extreme ‘clean eating’ almost killed her.

Before I share my thoughts on the article, please take a moment to read it … it’s a short read, I promise.

If you don’t want to read it, here’s a quick quote that sums it up:

[Jordan Younger] writes about suffering from a controversial disorder called “orthorexia.” What began as an attempt to get healthy, morphed into an unhealthy regimen of food restrictions, 800-calorie-a-day juice cleanses and exercise. After a year, Younger had wasted away to 101 pounds, her hair was falling out and she had stopped menstruation.

Younger has written a memoir called “Breaking Vegan” that chronicles her self-destructive fixation with “clean eating,” an obsessive focus on healthy, unprocessed foods.

K, now that you’ve witnessed this steaming pile of sensationalist, clickbait journalist, allow me to vent a few specific issues I have with this article:

Issue #1: The headline itself is incredibly misleading.

The woman in the article suffered issues because she adopted a vegan diet and didn’t get enough calories … not because she was a “clean eater.” While I fully advocate a plant-focused diet for many reasons and believe people can get more than enough calories eating this way, “clean eating” doesn’t necessarily mean vegan.

Issue #2: Her problems stemmed from an eating and/or compulsive disorder, NOT from eating clean eating.

From the article:

Orthorexia is not recognized by the American Psychiatric Association, and experts disagree on whether it’s an eating disorder or disordered eating with obsessive-compulsive features.

Ms. Younger even states that she “found the term online” and diagnosed herself. She states:


I developed obsessions and anxiety around food. It wasn’t about veganism. I had restrictions on top of veganism.

So here’s the takeaway from this, you guys: don’t believe everything you read. If you have an “obsessive focus on healthy, unprocessed foods” like I do, then you should be damn proud of yourself.


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