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Unhealthy Obsession with Healthy Food Causes Stress and Nutritional Deficiencies


According to an excerpt from NBC’s, a little known disorder known as orthorexia is affecting the quality of life for some people who are committed to an extreme form of healthy living and nutrition.

An unhealthy obsession with healthy food is responsible for this condition in which a person becomes overly focused on the quality of the food they eat. Although not considered a medical diagnosis, orthorexia may cause significant mental stress, social isolation, and potential nutritional deficiencies.

According to the Mayo Clinic, people with orthorexia may avoid food with artificial colors and flavours, as well as added salt, or sugar. Food preparation can take a disproportionately long time, as food may need to be washed several times, and cooked well. Restaurant meals are usually out of the question, and individuals with orthorexia generally avoid any food that they have not personally prepared themselves.

Orthorexia goes way beyond being a food quirk. There is little moderation, and the person becomes consumed with the quality of their food. People with orthorexia build their self-image on the perceived virtuosity of their food choices. Their compulsive tendencies may lead to low self-esteem, depression, and stress as the person adopts strict rules and behavior around food in order to control their eating habits.

Unlike anorexia nervosa or bulimia, orthorexia describes an obsession with the quality of food, not the quantity. However, restricting food intake due to fears of pesticides or high fat content may result in nutritional losses or an unhealthy decrease in weight.