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The Negative Side of Clean Eating: What is Orthorexia?
Jun 24, 2021
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There comes a day when you decide to try clean eating. After all, eating food that has little to no bad ingredients and chemicals can prove to be helpful in the long run, right? But what if it crosses the line and your food choices start to affect your mental and even physical wellbeing. This is where orthorexia comes into the picture.

Orthorexia is a compulsive fixation with clean eating that places an emphasis on the nutritional quality of food consumed.

You may have a fairly good understanding of what constitutes clean eating: a sensible diet of natural greens and grain products, a variety of vegetables and fruits, and other locally produced foodstuffs with reduced carbs, cholesterol, and salt content.

There could be times when you check the labels carefully before placing products in your cart in order to effectively limit processed foods containing inorganic chemicals. You make a concerted effort to make healthy eating habits as part of a healthy and balanced lifestyle.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) does not actually recognize Orthorexia as an established eating problem. However, because it is characterized by an obsessive concern with the nutritional quality of food in one's diet, it becomes a problem.

It can be difficult to define, and the precise term is still disputed. Orthorexia is distinct from other well-known eating disorders including Bulimia or Anorexia, which are more easily identifiable by food intake and body image issues.

The Warning Signs of Orthorexia

Orthorexia's alarms include an obsession with food, ethical feeding, and focus on dietary principles and meal preparation.

Crippling Fixation

The objective of eating healthy escalates into a fixation with the risk of adverse effects. They may be incredibly concerned about the dietary quality of everything and fret about nutrition facts and components. Meal planning and meal prep methods can take many hours.

Individuals suffering from Orthorexia Nervosa may place themselves on a "dietary pedestal" and pass judgment on anybody who doesn't conform to their rigid nutritional restrictions.

Severe Diet and lifestyle Constraints

People who are experiencing orthorexia may avoid particular foods. Refusal to ingest anything that is judged "unsuitable" or "unclean." These things typically contain glucose, fats, sodium, milk products, or genetically altered organisms, and synthetic preservatives.

If left uncontrolled, these dietary limitations might overwhelm their minds and potentially result in malnutrition.

Mood Swings AND Mental Anguish

Orthorexia can be a source of intense tension and irrational worry. These signs frequently manifest as mood swings and dramatic emotional changes.

The exaggerated standards of healthy eating related to this illness, along with constant thoughts about food, can result in emotional upheaval surrounding meal planning, preparation, and consumption.

Additionally, the disease may result in the following:

Shameful thoughts

Guilt

Being too hard on one's self bordering on hate

Ignoring obligations

Relationships with friends and relatives are compromised

Solitude

Elevated distress

The Divide

Orthorexia patients frequently divide foods into "healthy" and "unhealthy" categories.

Meals classified as healthy are those that have qualified the rigid nutritional caliber. The unhealthy meals, on the other hand, would fail and could even be called deadly.

They may feel a sense of satisfaction when consuming healthier food alternatives and a debilitating feeling of shame when eating meals that are not in their healthy category. As previously stated, the shift between rewards and sanctions can result in mood changes.

Mood Swings AND Mental Anguish

Orthorexia can be a source of intense tension and irrational worry. These signs frequently manifest as mood swings and dramatic emotional changes.

The exaggerated standards of healthy eating related to this illness, along with constant thoughts about food, can result in emotional upheaval surrounding meal planning, preparation, and consumption.

How one's social life is affected by the obsession with clean eating

When severe lifestyle and food choices have a negative impact on an individual's overall life, this may indicate an eating disorder. Those who feel isolation and loneliness or even interpersonal disruption as a result of stringent food consumption and avoidance habits may be affected by this type of mental illness.

Fatty acids, insecticides, organic and inorganic sweeteners, sodium, and chemicals are all elements in the current American meals that can contribute to serious health problems.

Considering overeating, hypertension, and other problems associated with excess weight are alarming the nation, where and how do you identify between healthy lifestyles and obsessive-compulsive behavioral patterns?

This maladaptive eating can have a detrimental effect on physical health. Orthorexia patients exhibit a number of social and cognitive qualities common with patients who experience other eating disorders.

Orthorexia Origins

Orthorexia indications can initially appear great to friends and relatives. Indicators could go undetected because a healthy diet might conceal deeper concerns and compulsions.

This maladaptive eating can have a detrimental effect on physical health. Orthorexia patients exhibit a number of social and cognitive qualities common with patients who experience other eating disorders.

Though the specific origin of this disorder is disputed, predisposing factors that influence a person's likelihood of having it include the following:

Lack of self-esteem

Neurotic tendencies

A deep desire for order in one's lifestyle

Having trouble with restraining one's feelings

Females are more likely than males to suffer from eating disorders such as Anorexia and Bulimia. Orthorexia does not appear to be more prevalent in either gender because males are as prone as women to suffer this affliction.

We live in a society where fad diets, astute advertising, and social networking sites constantly bombard us with pictures of what healthy living should look like. We are aware of social norms. We've seen the consequences of fad diets.

Making informed nutritional decisions is vital, but never at the expense of mental health.

So if you or somebody you know displays any of the following indicators that the pursuit of the ideal diet is causing severe disruptions in their well-being and social lives, this may be an indication of orthorexia.