Orthorexia

Do you or someone you know worry about eating healthily?

Ever been over-occupied with “clean eating” or a restrictive eating plan?

Do your eating worries stop you from enjoying food and social outings with friends and family?

Orthorexia is an unhealthy obsession with food. It’s not an official eating disorder or diagnosis, but it is definitely affecting more and more people.

People with Orthorexia will have very rigid behaviours around food, not necessarily amounts of food, but types of food. They will focus obsessively on healthy foods, foods with specific nutrition qualities they want or with specific health promoting properties.

People with Orthorexia will be driven by the goal to “be healthy”, they don’t necessarily worry about their body weight of shape.

People with Orthorexia will have extreme food rules and spend excessive amounts of time thinking about the food they are eating, nutrition quality of the food they are eating and will feel guilty or bad for eating foods outside of their food rules.

People with Orthorexia often become malnourished and have reduced physical and mental function. If low body weight occurs they can end up with anorexia nervosa as their starved brain starts driving further fixations on weight/shape/food.

Orthorexia is something I am seeing more and more in my clinic. If you think you may be affected or know someone who is, seek medical help and see a dietitian who specialises in eating disorders.

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