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Healthy Eating. Is It A New Eating Disorder?


We all know about the dangers of eating disorders such as Bulimia and Anorexia. Now a new eating condition is also coming under scrutiny.

Called Orthorexia it is a compulsion to eat ‘clean’ unprocessed food and although this sounds as if it should be healthy, according to experts it can become an obsession that can ruin lives.


Orthorexia is an obsessive-compulsive disorder that sees sufferers fixating on pure food and keeping to an inflexible list of food rules.

It does not matter whether the sufferer is doing the Paleo diet, sticking to gluten free, Dukan or Intermittent Fasting, the condition is the same and goes way beyond the desire to lose weight or become healthier.

According to eating disorder specialist Emmy Gilmore speaking in an interview with the Daily Telegraph,

Orthorexia is when a way of eating shifts from being a choice and temporary measure to becoming part of who you are and how you live.

As ever with eating disorders, there may be deep-seated physcological reasons why this condition occurs. Many people who suffer from anorexia or bulimia suffer from feelings of low self-esteem and low confidence and do it as a way to keep control over the world. Sticking to a restrictive eating regime may seem to offer a similar solution.

So what are the warning signs of Orthorexia?

According to Emmy Gilmore, eight key points may signal a problem.

  • Giving up food groups because of so-called allergies that in many cases have not been confirmed by a doctor.
  • Deep-seated obsession with keeping to what the sufferer considers to be the ‘perfect diet.’
  • Excessive supplements use.
  • Obsessive exercising.
  • In many cases, the sufferer has low weight but still continues with the regime.
  • Obsession with cleanliness and food preparation.
  • Irrational fixation with certain foods that the sufferer believes are ‘pure.’
  • Obsessing about foods and their links to various health concerns.

In truth, it is easy to see how Orthorexia can develop. Every day it seems that a new diet plan or health scare is featured in the news and pay too much attention to these and you could run into problems.

Of course, it is important to keep to your healthy eating plan, especially if you are trying to lose weight because it is so easy to fall into unhealthy eating patterns.

However, take it too far and it seems you could run the risk of developing this unusual condition….Slice of cake anyone?

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