The obsession with healthy eating is a disease.  What is orthorexia and how can it be identified?

People who spend more than an hour in food districts reading the label of each product, chewing food 50 times to give the impression that their brain is overeating, may have a disorder called orthorexia – or an obsession with healthy eating. .

There is currently no scientific consensus on orthorexia. The two most commonly argued theories are either eating disorders (ADDs) or obsessive-compulsive disorders.

Orthorexia, which is the subject of a small amount of research, can be identified by a test consisting of ten questions and developed by Steven Bratman, an American doctor who gave this name in 1995 to a disorder he himself suffered, writes Agerpres, taking over AFP .

“If the patient makes a distinction between healthy and unhealthy foods, and strong and disproportionate emotions overwhelm him in relation to unhealthy foods, and this has an impact on his daily life, he is probably facing orthorexia,” said Alexandre Chapy, a psychologist. French.

Orthorexia has a “proximity” to anorexia, he says, but there is a difference between the two: “An orthorexic does not want to lose weight,” a goal pursued by a person with anorexia.

“Orthopedic people value cosmetic body image less, but they look at their body in terms of health,” said dietitian Laurence Myr.

The boundary between diet and illness

More than the desire to be in good health, “they are afraid of being poisoned by pesticides or food, of dying of cancer,” Alexandre Chapuy said.

These people adopt strict diets, which are not in themselves problematic, “as long as we do not suffer, we do not isolate ourselves, and our health is not affected,” said the psychologist.

According to Laurence Myr, however, people who follow specific diets by suppressing certain types of food may be “more inclined to develop an eating disorder.”

“The development of extremely strict behaviors, as an orthorexic person does, causes social problems” and can create a “twist” towards obsessive-compulsive behavior, she added. In the context of various agri-food scandals, such as the recent contamination of chocolate or pizza with bacteria, “consumer confidence is very weak.”

Dietitian Laurence Myr evokes the prevalence of the phenomenon in “athletes, medical students, researchers or dietitians.”

However, there are no official figures on the extent of this disorder globally.

Editor: BP

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