Orthorexia: An Obsession with Healthy Eating

If you’re obsessed with eating healthy, you might be considered in eating disorder territory, according to psychologists and nutritionists who have seen a spike in unhealthy eating obsessions.
Though it’s not officially classified as an eating disorder in the Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, health professionals have claimed to see an increase in patients who want to ingest only healthy food: an obsession known as orthorexia.

Unlike anorexia, which focuses on the amount of food a person eats, orthorexics concentrate on exactly what they eat. Trends like gluten-free and focusing on food origin have pushed people toward the obsessive tendency, according to health experts.

The term was originally coined in 1997 by Dr. Steven Bratman, which means the disorder isn’t simply a word that has popped up alongside food trends. While dedicating yourself to a wholesome diet is certainly beneficial, restricting nutrients can have dangerous physical consequences. Like those who suffer from anorexia, orthorexics often face a number of social situations with anxiety, like going to dinner parties or grocery shopping.

Orthorexia can reportedly be treated through cognitive therapy, which attempts to manage a patient’s feelings so they can change their behavior. The movement to put orthorexia in the DSM has recently been revived thanks to new research about the disorder.

“The message in the past has mainly been about thinness but there’s been a turn and it’s become more about cleanness and purity,” Sondra Kronberg, nutritionist, said. “Those same people who struggle with compulsion and rigidity in their eating will take that cultural message to an extreme.”

Orthorexia also made news last year when widely-read food blogger Jordan Younger announced she’d been suffering from the eating disorder. Younger self-diagnosed after a friend pointed out her unhealthy obsession with food purity; however, experts argue that she should have been diagnosed professionally, meaning that treatment could be improved if the eating disorder is placed into the DSM.

Source: The Fast Company
Photo: Pexels

More Articles

It may sound unbelievable, but people can suffer from a severe eating disorder and not even know it. You would think just looking in a mirror...

It is hard for someone without an eating disorder to understand why someone suffering from anorexia nervosa would go without food. Most people...

Eating disorders often do more than just affect a person’s body weight. In extreme cases, disordered eating habits can cause severe malnutrition,...

A dedicated fitness routine is a great way to stay healthy and fit, but as with everything else in life, people can take things too far. For some...

If you suspect your child has an eating disorder, you may feel overwhelmed. There are a few things you should know upfront.

First and...

More Articles

More Articles

It may sound unbelievable, but people can suffer from a severe eating disorder and not even know it. You would think just looking in a mirror...

It is hard for someone without an eating disorder to understand why someone suffering from anorexia nervosa would go without food. Most people...

Eating disorders often do more than just affect a person’s body weight. In extreme cases, disordered eating habits can cause severe malnutrition,...

A dedicated fitness routine is a great way to stay healthy and fit, but as with everything else in life, people can take things too far. For some...

If you suspect your child has an eating disorder, you may feel overwhelmed. There are a few things you should know upfront.

First and...

Hypoglycemia is a medical term that refers to low blood sugar levels. Usually, this condition is considered a complication of type 1 diabetes. It...

Diuretics are a class of drugs that promote diuresis, a process that increases the production and output of urine. The two most common ways to...

Anorexia, the shorthand name for anorexia nervosa, is an eating disorder that affects millions of people around the world. Even though anorexia is...

Anorexia is a mental and emotional condition, but it can have devastating effects on the body. Health care professionals estimate that only about...

Every year, thousands of amateur and professional athletes struggle with anorexia athletica, a lesser-known eating disorder, and variation of...

The reason eating disorders are so hard to treat is that they are such complex conditions. It is usually a combination of factors that lead up to...

When it comes to the discussion of eating disorders, night eating syndrome is a rarely recognized and often poorly understood condition. Night...

Most descriptions and media representations of bulimia nervosa fixate on binge eating and purging, usually via self-induced vomiting. Although...

New research shows a link between people with cathartic colon disease and the eating disorder bulimia. Cathartic colon is a dangerous condition...

Energy is not just something we need to keep our computers and smartphones charged. If an electronic device can fail to function without...