Whenever a new diet comes out, it is all about the foods you have to avoid. The theme behind almost any diet seems to be founded on restriction. The CRAP diet is is no exception.
C.R.A.P. Stands for limiting the intake of the following:
- Refined sugar
- Artificial sweeteners
- Processed Foods.
While in theory, this diet may seem like a good idea, in practice it is very difficult to follow. For one, the cut the CRAP diet does not give any guidance on what you can eat, only what you should avoid.
This can be extremely confusing and frustrating for people who are trying to adopt healthier eating habits.
In this blog post, we are going to break down the crap diet and compare its claims to what the science says.
Crap diet meaning
CRAP stands for Chemicals, Refined Sugar, Artificial Sweeteners, and Processed Foods. The term “diet” implies that you should avoid these ingredients or foods that contain them.
To better understand the crap diet let’s take a closer look at each letter.
The don’t eat CRAP diet claims that you should avoid all chemicals.
What exactly are “chemicals”?
Chemicals are found in everything, including the air we breathe and the water we drink. The human body is made up of chemicals and we need them to survive. (1)
Some chemicals can be harmful, but many are essential for our health. For example, vitamin C is a chemical that is essential for our immune system. (2)
The CRAP diet does not give any guidance on which chemicals are bad and which are good. This lack of clarity makes it very difficult to follow the diet.
The CRAP diet claims that you should avoid all refined sugar.
What is refined sugar?
Refined sugar is a type of sugar that has been processed to remove impurities. It is often used in processed foods and sweets. (3)
The CRAP diet does not give any guidance on how much-refined sugar is safe to consume. This lack of clarity makes it very difficult to follow the diet.
The World Health Organization has set a limit of recommended refined sugar to 25 grams per day. This is the equivalent of about six teaspoons. (4)
So, while I agree with the CRAP diet’s general idea of limiting added sugar intake, however, I think The Crap Diet does a poor job communicating it.
With the presence of sugar in almost everything, the craps zero sugar restrictions are simply unrealistic.
The CRAP diet claims that you should avoid all artificial sweeteners.
What exactly are artificial sweeteners?
Artificial sweeteners are low-calorie sweeteners that are used to sweeten food and drinks in place of sugar. They are often used in highly processed foods and diet drinks. (5)
On the one hand, there have been many claims that artificial sweeteners cause cancer, weight gain, and many more health issues.
However, there is no clear evidence that artificial sweeteners are harmful. In fact, some studies have shown that artificial sweeteners may help with weight loss. (6)
The restriction of artificial sweeteners is not based on any clear evidence. Therefore, I would not recommend following this aspect of the CRAP diet.
Processed foods are often vilified as being unhealthy. The no Crap Diet, for example, claims that you should avoid all processed foods.
What exactly are processed foods?
Processed foods are foods that have been altered from their natural state. The processing of food can happen in several ways, including canning, freezing, and dehydration. (7)
There are two types of processed foods:
Processed foods: Any food that has been altered from its original state. That includes freezing, canning, and cooking. Essentially everything we eat.
Highly Processed foods: Food that has been significantly altered and contains high amounts of saturated fats, preservatives, and sodium. They also tend to have lower amounts of fiber and nutrients (vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients.)
Current research shows that the more HIGHLY processed foods you consume the higher the probability of developing a disease like diabetes or heart disease. (8)
As a registered dietitian, I recommend that you focus on consuming all 5 food groups as much as possible. There is no need to avoid all processed foods. Frozen strawberries, for example, are processed.
Frozen strawberries and whole-grain bread are two examples of processed foods. Refined sugar may be found in a variety of products, including sweets and salad dressing. And the effects of artificial sweeteners appear to be minor.
I believe it’s appropriate to characterize the no crap diet as… Crap.
What is the 80% rule diet?
The 80% diet rule is simple: 80% of the time, focus on eating whole grains, dairy, lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables. The other 20% of the time, you enjoy food, and the people it brings.
The CRAP diet more resembles an elimination diet. It claims that you should avoid all chemicals, processed foods, artificial sweeteners, and refined sugar. I don’t know what is left to eat after we exclude all of these foods.
The CRAP diet is too restrictive and not based on any clear evidence. I like following the 80% philosophy and letting myself indulge in my favorite foods 20% of the time.
Crap diet for constipation
There is no evidence to support that The no CRAP diet may be beneficial for symptoms of constipation.
The Crap diet is a semi-elimination diet advocating for the elimination of chemicals, refined sugar, artificial sweeteners, and processed food.
Elimination diets are often a type of restrictive diet that removes certain foods to identify which ones are causing gut issues.
While elimination diets can be useful they are not meant or treating constipation.
If you are experiencing symptoms of constipation, it is important to see a doctor or registered dietitian to determine the cause and to create an individualized treatment plan.
The CRAP diet is a restrictive diet that eliminates chemicals, refined sugar, artificial sweeteners, and processed foods. While it might seem like a good idea, this diet simply demonizes foods without the evidence to back it up.
A better option might be the 80% diet rule, which encourages you to eat nutritious foods 80% of the time. If you’re experiencing constipation, it’s important to see a doctor or registered dietitian for help.
Thanks for reading! I hope this post helped clear up some confusion about The CRAP Diet.
Remember: this post is for informational purposes only and may not be the best fit for you and your personal situation. It shall not be construed as medical advice. The information and education provided here is not intended or implied to supplement or replace professional medical treatment, advice, and/or diagnosis. Always check with your own physician or medical professional before trying or implementing any information read here.
Noah Quezada is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist located in Denver, Colorado. Over the course of more than a decade, he has gained extensive experience in helping clients manage their weight through in-person sessions. Noah is also the 2023 President of the Colorado Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.