One of the best lifestyle changes you can make is to commit to eating clean. But just as with every other new undertaking, you need to take the time to learn. There are a ton of myths and misunderstandings about what clean eating really is and isn’t, and they can lead you down the wrong path.

Clean eating is about eating whole foods. It’s about eliminating foods that have unhealthy additives from our diets. It’s about staying away from processed foods and avoiding chemicals, added colors and sugars. Knowing what clean eating is includes knowing what it’s not, and that’s where our list of top 5 clean eating mistakes comes in. Read on to help yourself avoid the most common pitfalls people make as they start their clean eating journey.

1. People think eating clean means going on a diet.

The idea behind eating clean is that you’re giving your body healthy fuel. You don’t do it to lose weight. You don’t leave out foods based on their fat content or stop eating because you’ve reached some arbitrary calorie count. You focus on nutrients that are best found in whole foods, while staying away from processed foods. When you identify foods to stay away from, it’s because other foods are better for you – not because you should eat less food.

2. People follow fads instead of learning.

When it comes to nutrition, you should make decisions based on good information that is pertinent to you and your goals. If you want to eat clean, that means you want to eat whole foods It is not the same as eating gluten free, or organic, or vegetarian. Clean eating involves lean proteins, nuts, seeds, whole fruits and vegetables. It’s about giving yourself the fuel to power your body without unnecessary additives or processing. Don’t get distracted by fats, an Instagram feed, or by your friend’s diet ideas.

3. People think eating clean skips certain food groups

If the clean eating diet you’re following leaves out entire food groups or macronutrients, then you’re not doing it right. You want to make sure that you are getting well rounded nutrition from a variety of clean sources. Cutting things out is a recipe for leaving out important nutrients.

4. Foods you think are clean really aren’t

We’ve all been fooled by foods that pretend to be good for us when they really aren’t. Granolas filled with sugar. Protein and energy bars loaded with fats and chemicals. Bars offer convenience that can’t be denied, but try to stick to the ones that have ten ingredients or less to keep them as clean as possible. These bars should be used as a last resort in a pinch.

5. You think because it’s clean, you can eat as much of it as you want

Eating whole, clean foods packed with nutrients is a good thing, but you can have too much of a good thing. Remember that your goal is to give your body the fuel that it needs, and not more than that.

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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