An Obsession with Healthy Eating
We all know that it’s important to eat healthy, but is there such a thing as eating too healthy? When healthy eating becomes so extreme that it becomes unhealthy, it’s called orthorexia. Some doctors are calling it the “new eating disorder”, because orthorexia means someone has an obsession with food. Other health professionals think this extreme obsession is a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
Orthorexia is healthy eating that has gone too far. This condition often begins with someone wanting to eat only “healthy”, “organic”, or “natural” foods. A person may start by cutting out unhealthy fats, animal products, processed foods, preservatives, artificial ingredients, or anything they think is “unhealthy”. People with orthorexia may gradually limit or refuse to eat more foods to the point where, their diet becomes very restrictive. Orthorexia is dangerous because when you eliminate entire food groups, you don’t get important sources of nutrients such as protein and dietary fats that your body absolutely needs to function properly. If the deficiency is severe, it can lead to malnutrition and other serious health problems.
You should always eat healthy, but not obsess about it too much. As a teen, it’s very important not to diet or set strict rules around food for yourself. Be aware of what you eat and drink and how it makes you feel. Try to eat healthy foods most of the time, but don’t take it to the extreme.
-Brooke, CYWH Summer Volunteer