Hold On to Your Coffee… This Book Says It’s Time to Ditch the Detox

PUT ASIDE everything you THINK YOU KNOW about avocados, antioxidants, sugar and detoxes …

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A new book takes the ubiquitous “clean eating” brigade to task. In Bad Science and the Truth About Healthy Eating, Anthony Warner, who writes and blogs as The Angry Chef, examines why so many have jumped on the gluten-free, detox and so-called “clean eating” bandwagon. He holds up the theories of Gwyneth and a procession of food bloggers, pitting their theories against hard science and dieticians’ knowledge. “Clean eating started as a fringe movement but has grown into a huge and unrepentant tide of nutribollocks,” he declares. He uses sweary humour underscored with straightforward food chemistry to make his points. One of his key concerns is that it’s becoming the norm to take the opinions of photogenic Instagrammers more seriously than those of properly qualified nutritional scientists and dieticians. I’d love to give this book to every teenage girl I know, to encourage them to question the endless social media images that inspire them to exist on kale and avocado, and learn to recognise what an industry this has become. Most urgently, Warner discusses the danger of creating “an association with cleanliness and purity in food”, and the awful knock-on effect this can have on impressionable young minds and bodies. Having just completed a weekend detox when the review copy arrived, I felt a bit of a mug reading, for example, Warner’s tirade against coconut oil – currently regarded as a “superfood with magical powers” – “Anyone eating a spoonful of coconut oil is eating a spoonful of mostly long-chain saturated fat, a highly calorie-dense food proven to raise the risk of heart disease.” Yep, all those protein balls have a downside. Warner dismisses all manner of things we’ve embraced with scant evidence or facts, marvelling at our gullibility. “Detox isn’t real”, he rails. “The concept that we can detoxify our bodies by controlling our dietary intake is benchmark pseudoscientific bullshit… it makes no sense at all.” The crux of his conclusions is simple, and full of much-needed common sense – eat a balanced diet, have a positive relationship with food and keep everything in moderation. Up your intake of oily fish if possible. Cutting out entire food groups is not a good idea, unless based on proper medical advice. So before you miserably renounce dairy, caffeine and everything that tastes nice in favour of green juice, this might be worth a read …

Bad Science and the Truth about Healthy Eating by Anthony Warner, £12.99stg, OneWorld.

www.angry-chef.com / @One_Angry_Chef.

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Sarah Halliwell

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