Clean-eating is 'absolute rubbish' - Embarrassing Bodies' Dr Christian claims
The "clean eating" fad is more dangerous for children than fizzy drinks, a health guru has claimed.
Dr Christian Jessen said that such doctrines, promoted by celebrities such as the actress Gwyneth Paltrow's website Goop, are "absolute rubbish".
He said that the wellness industry is particularly "insidious" because it masquerades as promoting a healthy lifestyle when in fact it does the opposite.
Dr Jessen, who is best known for presenting the television shows Embarrassing Bodies and Supersize vs Superskinny, said that parents at least know fizzy drinks, chocolate and sweets are unhealthy.
However, they do not realise the dangers of "wellness" promoting brands - and may even follow the clean eating mantras themselves.
Speaking to an audience of teachers at a conference on gender identity, Dr Jessen said that the "booming" wellness industry was fuelling anorexia and body dysmorphia in teenage boys as well as girls.
"The booming wellness industry has kind of launched an entire industry of fitness celebrities onto social media, encouraging millions of followers to embrace their regimes for clean eating and for exercise," he said.
"But I argue it has little, if anything to do with health, and it is all about looks."
Dr Jessen told the conference, held at Highate School in north London, that the messages on "fitspiration" websites which have huge followings among teenage boys are "often indistinguishable from pro-anorexia websites".
He added: "And the language, very much in use is guilt about weight and body shape and shame and stigma about being fat and about being overweight."
Dr Jessen said that mothers may follow wellness or clean eating mantras themselves, making it even less likely that children will be told off for doing so.
"It's just overwhelmingly mind boggling for a doctor to see that - the number of people following it and going along [with it] it's just kind of terrifying," he said.
The television presenter and health campaigner said that it is "nonsense" to cut out particular elements of a diet, particularly for teenagers.
[The wellness industry] has little, if anything to do with health, and it is all about looksDr Christian Jessen
Dr Jessen told the conference that he was firmly against websites "that promote extreme diets, quick fixes, exclusions - so all the nonsense about cut out wheat, cut out dairy, all this paleo nonsense, they all sort of border on those sorts of issues."
He said there is "no basis is science whatsoever, no basis in fact, no evidence at all" to justify such dietary recommendations.
"Very, very young kids are now saying 'I need to cut dairy, I need to cut wheat'. These are growing kids. They have an increased requirement for energy - far more so than us adults."