Do you know someone who is extremely concerned about their diet
? Someone, for example, who does not eat meat, who has eliminated sugar or processed foods from their diet
It seems that there is currently a growing trend of eating only natural foods and without additives. However, orthorexia nervosa is proof that even healthy eating can be harmful .
In the following article we are going to talk about this disorder, which can become very disabling if too tight a control is exercised over what is eaten, due to excessive concern about following a strictly healthy diet with integrity.
First of all, let it be clear to everyone who reads us thatWe do not intend to criticize any lifestyle or food . Upon reaching a certain age we can make the decisions that best fit our values and morals; so whoever feels more comfortable refusing to eat certain foods because that would betray his consciousness, go ahead.
- If you want to learn more about the concept of obsession, we recommend: David Beckham’s mental disorder and 5 more famous people.
What is orthorexia nervosa?
When the interest in leading a life as healthy as possible goes through imposing a series of rules of eating behavior and becomes excessive concern for what is going to be eaten, we speak of orthorexia nervosa.
A person with this disorder feels an unhealthy obsession with eating healthy that can lead him to compulsively want to know the composition of all the foods that make up his diet, so that he only eats those whose ingredients he feels are good for his body .
We understand that this definition would fit any person who does not suffer from any allergy to the components of certain products (such as gluten, nuts or lactose intolerance), and who still chooses to voluntarily deprive themselves of them.
Orthorexia nervosa is not a new concept (in fact, the term was coined as early as the 1990s), but its incidence has been increasing due to this growing fixation on clean nutrition. According to scholars of the disorder, orthorexia sufferers imprison themselves and become prisoners of self-imposed nutritional rules.
What is, for some, “healthy eating”
We began this text with some examples of what many today attribute to eating healthy. As children, when we went to school we were urged that we had to learn to “eat everything” and it was explained to us that our diet should be as varied as possible. However, when we grow up and get older, taking charge of our lives, many decide to start imposing some dietary restrictions on themselves .
Those who want: Many people who are not lactose intolerant reject drinking cow’s milk and spontaneously opt for alternatives such as rice, oatmeal or soy, alleging that they are much more digestible, or relying on sayings such as “the human being is the only animal that drinks milk from other animals” or that “in nature, other animals stop drinking milk when they are weaned and do not taste it again”.
Other examples are the already classic vegetarianism based especially on stopping eating meat, veganism (an even more inflexible version that eliminates the consumption of everything that comes from an animal), not eating bread made from wheat flour, processed foods or foods that contain refined sugars (industrial bakery).
debilitating effect on health
Deny the body certain nutrients because it can cause health risks if taken to extreme extremes. By depriving themselves of too many nutrients necessary for the body, orthorexics can end up suffering serious physical consequences : from a deficit in their immune system, through weaker bones or a malfunction of the thyroid gland.
Another possible negative repercussion is the lack of vitamins such as B12, which is found especially in eggs, meat or fish, precisely foods that many strict vegans deny in order not to break their commitment to animals.
Is orthorexia nervosa an eating disorder
No. Although it shares some features with disorders such as bulimia or anorexia (due to the hypervigilance that is generated before food), orthorexia nervosa has more to do with fixation for an excessively severe diet that includes only pure food as long as it is healthy. keep the body incorruptible.
Unlike anorexia, orthorexics do not focus solely on eating as little as possible in order not to gain weight, as weight loss is not always their ultimate goal.
Although not medically recognized as anorexia or bulimia are, orthorexia nervosa is closer to a phobia than an eating disorder.; so it can be treated with techniques such as behavioral therapy, which would involve the subject to learn how to behave in situations that generate anxiety and that have to do with food, relaxation techniques or analyze the associated thoughts and beliefs.
Affects social relationships
Orthorexia nervosa occurs when “eating well” takes precedence over personal relationships and causes the person to neglect their usual lifestyle. Imposing these rules of eating behavior causes withdrawal and avoidance of social commitments in which food is involved; as well as moving away from a normal life by spending too much time worrying about what you eat.
In recent years, in some areas of the population, especially younger people, this predisposition to lead a life as healthy as possible has increased, something that has become a cultural phenomenon. Despite the fact that there is nothing wrong with wanting to live in a healthy way and eating what one likes and desires, it is advisable to be careful not to make this a kind of religion with unbreakable dogmas and that this makes us take life too seriously. I laughed.