The basis of the overwhelming majority of diets is to restrict one or more types of food or ingredients in food in order to achieve the goal – the promise of permanent weight loss, improved health and ah yes, happiness. — Judy Scheel Ph.D., L.C.S.W., CEDS
Paleo, keto, detoxing juices—you might have encountered these diet trends if you’re always on social media. Perhaps a close friend is embarking on his or her weight loss journey. Or maybe a celebrity you’re following has a video series on how to achieve his or her flawless body. Not everyone is undergoing a new wellness regimen, but the Internet can make it seem so. Consequently, you might feel left behind.
These latest trends can pressure many people to change their diet drastically without seeking professional help. Thus, dietitians and nutritionists worry they may see a rise in cases of an obscure eating disorder called orthorexia nervosa.
Orthorexia: Definition And Symptoms
Orthorexia involves an obsession with “clean eating” or consuming whole foods instead of processed ones. Similar to anorexia nervosa (obsession with losing weight), it entails restricting the intake of “unhealthy” nutrients such as fat, sugar, and carbohydrates. The National Eating Disorders Association coined the term in 1998. However, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) has yet to recognize it as an official diagnosis.
Not only do you begin to cut out foods or practice certain dietary rules with orthorexia, but you may go to extensive lengths to meet these guidelines you have established with yourself. — Dawn Delgado LMFT, CEDS-S
Diet changes that may hint at orthorexia include the following:
- Compulsive checking of a food’s nutrition facts and ingredients
- Refusal to eat “impure” foods such as dairy or animal products
- Neurotic interest in what other people are eating
- Fear of eating meals prepared by other people
- Feeling distressed when “clean” foods are not available
- Obsessive following of food blogs and posts on social media
If left unchecked, orthorexia can lower one’s metabolism, damaging the …Read More