Orthorexia Takes Healthy Eating to an Unhealthy Extreme

Our relationship with food has evolved to a point of complexity as some people strive to find the "perfect" diet and eat right to the point of obsession.

Our relationship with food has evolved to a point of complexity as some people strive to find the "perfect" diet. Indeed, studies and individual testimonies have shown how powerful a balanced diet can be to help us stay healthy in mind and body. But Jen Schwartz from Popular Science writes that researchers are bringing attention to an eating disorder that's causing some people to go overboard with healthy eating: it's called orthorexia.

The authors write in their paper:

“Although more than one-third of U.S. adults are obese and would likely benefit from healthy modifications to their diets and lifestyles, there seems to be a smaller group of individuals for whom 'healthy' eating can become a dangerous and extreme fixation.”

It's uncertain how many people suffer from orthorexia since the term was first coined in 1997 by Doctor Steven Bratman to describe his own food-related anxieties. The disease is described as an unhealthy fixation that drives people to control their eating habits, and to only consume what they deem as "pure" foods. With a nation driving to create a healthier America, Sondra Kronberg from the National Eating Disorder Association told Schwartz:

“Our culture is promoting health now, which is great. But people of certain temperaments take healthy eating to an extreme.”

The name of the game is always moderation in anything in life, but sometimes a fixation on any activity, from exercising to eating, can come about from deeper psychological issues — a need to control a situation. While a disorder like orthorexia doesn't seem terrible — a fixation on eating healthy foods — this obsession sometimes causes people to isolate themselves. Like, they won't go out to eat somewhere they aren't able to prep or regulate what's in the food. In other cases, it has caused people to lose unhealthy amounts of weight, becoming malnourished after hearing certain key foods have bad qualities. Kronberg says it's important to not get wrapped up in every health pro-and-con study, or take it over the edge. She says:

“Sometimes you’re at a party and there are fries. Your body really can handle that one meal.”

As with anything health-related, it's important to bring questions to your doctor.

Read more at Popular Science.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

4 reasons Martin Luther King, Jr. fought for universal basic income

In his final years, Martin Luther King, Jr. become increasingly focused on the problem of poverty in America.

(Photo by J. Wilds/Keystone/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Despite being widely known for his leadership role in the American civil rights movement, Martin Luther King, Jr. also played a central role in organizing the Poor People's Campaign of 1968.
  • The campaign was one of the first to demand a guaranteed income for all poor families in America.
  • Today, the idea of a universal basic income is increasingly popular, and King's arguments in support of the policy still make a good case some 50 years later.
Keep reading Show less

Why avoiding logical fallacies is an everyday superpower

10 of the most sandbagging, red-herring, and effective logical fallacies.

Photo credit: Miguel Henriques on Unsplash
Personal Growth
  • Many an otherwise-worthwhile argument has been derailed by logical fallacies.
  • Sometimes these fallacies are deliberate tricks, and sometimes just bad reasoning.
  • Avoiding these traps makes disgreeing so much better.
Keep reading Show less

Why I wear my life on my skin

For Damien Echols, tattoos are part of his existential armor.

  • In prison Damien Echols was known by his number SK931, not his name, and had his hair sheared off. Stripped of his identity, the only thing he had left was his skin.
  • This is why he began tattooing things that are meaningful to him — to carry a "suit of armor" made up the images of the people and objects that have significance to him, from his friends to talismans.
  • Echols believes that all places are imbued with divinity: "If you interact with New York City as if there's an intelligence behind... then it will behave towards you the same way."
Keep reading Show less