Orthorexia: When eating healthy becomes an addiction Orthorexia: When eating healthy becomes an addiction

Leading a balanced diet is important to our health. But what happens when this becomes an extreme? Find out what the consequences are.

Professor Steven Bratman from the University of Pennsylvania describes orthorexia nervosa as the pathological obsession with eating food considered to be healthy, which over time, can lead to malnutrition.

People who suffer from this disorder tend to limit the consumption of certain foods such as red meat, eggs, sugars, dairy products and fat. In some cases, they prefer to isolate themselves socially in order to avoid having to eat these foods. Another symptom is being over-concerned about what they eat, instead of focusing on the benefits of leading a healthy diet.

According to Obesity Medical Institute, the phenomenon may be on the rise in the coming years, as modern society “…tends to reach extremes and people that begin to go to an extreme about what they eat may end up actually not taking good care of themselves. This may lead to self-destruction as a result of this way of eating, similar to what happens with obesity.”

In general, patients with this disorder tend to obsess about products that have preservatives or additives, and like those who suffer from bulimia, they may also have strong or even uncontrollable urges to eat when they are nervous, excited, happy, stressed or feeling a sense of regret.

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