Chefs bend over backwards for yoga diners

They are experts at posting perfect images of beautifully crafted healthy meals and posing with green juices consumed after a workout in stylish gym clothes.

Now the twentysomethings obsessed with yoga-style Instagrams have prompted a rise in healthy restaurants as a growing number of owners “piggy back” on the clean-eating trend that is driving business on the high street.

“There are people who when they go out for dinner aren’t thinking about having a treat; eating out for them isn’t about indulging, it is about keeping control,” Sian Porter, consultant dietitian and spokeswoman for the British Dietetic Association, said. “These restaurants are responding to demand and have piggy backed off this trend.”

Olivia Edwards, of The Food People, a food trends company, said that over the past couple of years consumers have started to take “a much more tailored and personalised approach to health and their diets, choosing ways of eating that suit them”.

Pippa Jageurs, 22, from London, said she practised yoga and high intensity training as part of her conscious decision to lead a healthy lifestyle. When she went out for dinner, her diet did not take a sideline. “I prefer to opt for healthy options and restaurants to avoid ruining the hard work spent in the gym,” she said.

Such restaurants include the likes of Lily Simpson’s Detox Kitchen in Soho and Farmacy, a vegan and vegetarian restaurant in Notting Hill. Its founder, Camilla Al Fayed, daughter of the former Harrods owner, said: “A major part of our clientele is women in their twenties who are increasingly knowledgeable about healthy eating, and want to have a good time while they’re being good to their bodies.”

Eat Naked in Brighton attracts customers for its “nutrient dense” menu, free of “processing, gluten, wheat and refined sugars”, while Filmore & Union in Leeds was launched out of a “frustration” at the “lack of healthy restaurants”. In Manchester, Evelyn’s offers whole grains and burger patties made out of lamb and bulgur wheat.

However, Libby Limon, head nutritionist at VITL and a yoga teacher, warned of the negative effects of overdoing a healthy lifestyle. In 1997 Dr Steven Bratman, an American physician, developed the phrase orthorexia nervosa, which he concluded was an obsession with healthy eating. “There will be some people who misunderstand, abuse or take things too far,” Ms Limon said.

“The rise of orthorexia is a worrying trend. Using the cover of clean eating is something that should not be accepted and we should all be vigilant of friends, family and online.”

Her comments come after new photos of Marion Bartoli’s weight loss led her fans to voice their concern on Twitter. One described the tennis player as “gaunt and ill”. Dr Zoe Harcombe, a nutritionist from Newport, Wales, tweeted: “diet coke; soy; veg; grains & protein shakes. No wonder she’s cold & tired.”

The former Wimbledon champion dismissed the comments and has said: “I never get sick. I think I look OK and I’m in good health.”

Please wait...

Sign up to get

My Best Means Worldwide e-book