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Understanding Orthorexia: How to Recognize Obsessive Healthy Eating

In recent years, the world has witnessed an overwhelming surge of new diet trends claiming to be the key to unlocking a more aesthetically healthy looking body.

While the intention behind following a healthy diet can be positive; as aiming for more energy, vitality, or a specific body goal, there is a darker side that is often unspoken.

The obsession with strict diet regimes can lead to adverse effects on mental health, either by exacerbating existing mental disorders or even creating new psychological challenges.

A less commonly recognized condition is ORTHOREXIA NERVOSA, characterized by an obsession with eating only what is considered "pure, clean' or healthy" by the individual. Those suffering from orthorexia nervosa have an unhealthy relationship with food that leads to interpersonal problems, social isolation,nutritional deficiencies and malnutrition.

Social media platforms can have a positive and a negative impact on those searching for healthier lifestyles. On a positive side, providing information and community support, on a negative side, perpetuating unrealistic body standards and promoting dietary practices that are not suitable for everyone.The comparison trap on these platforms can also exacerbate feelings of inadequacy and trigger disordered eating behaviors.

Creating awareness and education is crucial in mitigating the dangers of diet obsession. A balanced approach to eating should emphasize nutrition and health over aesthetic goals.

Individuals should be encouraged to listen to their bodies, seek pleasure in eating, and focus on holistic well-being. Knowing that a balanced diet is not just what we eat, but also our relationship with food is a vital key in maintaining our physical and mental health.

For those struggling with diet obsessions it is essential to seek the guidance and support of qualified health practitioners with expertise in Nutritional and Naturopathic Medicine, Counselling and Psychology in order to manage and overcome their unhealthy relationship with food.

Grace Rivas

BHSc Nat. Medicine

Functional Nutritional and Naturopathic Practitioner



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