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What to do when healthy eating becomes obsession?

Eating behavior disorders are a psychiatric disease that is becoming very common today and is more common, especially in young girls. It is often seen at the middle socioeconomic level, in the white race, and in industrialized societies where attractiveness is considered to be linked to weakness.  Orthorexia nervosa (ON) is an eating disorder defined as an obsession with healthy eating, an obsession with consuming a natural diet that interferes with a person's entire life.

This behavior disorder, which occurs as a result of obsessing over natural and healthy eating, leads to the emergence of obsessions that lead to anxiety in individuals and pathological consequences such as eating behavior disorders in the later process. Limiting food choices for healthy eating of individuals with orthorectic tendencies leads to weight loss. The weakness that occurred as the limited eating style progressed was a result of the progress in this processr.

A study that evaluated the food preferences of those with an orthorectic tendency found that they had a greater tendency to eat healthy, such as consuming vegetables, fruits, and whole grain products, and visited places that sold healthy foods more often. Obsession with healthy eating can have negative effects on body perception in the future. As a result of restrictions made to improve external vision, energy, protein and other nutrients due to insufficient, unstable or excessive intake of the body structure and function is significantly negatively impaired ‘malnutrition’ can lay the foundation for health problems such as.

  • They are more worried about food,
  • They feel guilty when they consume foods they think are unhealthy,
  • They are prepared to pay more to buy healthy food,
  • They seem to be seriously concerned that a healthy diet will affect their appearance.

More than 90 percent of eating disorders are caused by individuals under the age of 25, 5-20 times more common in women than in men, and only 5-10 percent of all cases are caused by men. Sociocultural factors are known to be effective in the development of eating disorders, society's importance to weakness, pressure from family, friends and mass media play an important role in the development of eating disorders. 

Identifying obsessive concerns in orthorectic-prone individuals will be useful in classifying the disease and establishing diagnostic criteria. 

To protect yourself from the obsession with healthy eating;

  • First, stop treating food as a harmful threat to your health.
  • Remember that malnutrition, which occurs when you are concerned about healthy eating, can lead to a more dangerous situation for a person, resulting in long-term metabolic problems for health with behaviors that turn into harm rather than good.
  • Most importantly, if this situation has started to cause both financial and mental distress for you, it will be useful to see a psychologist. Orthorexia is a behavior that can be evaluated within other eating disorders. 

Read: 8 recommendations for losing healthy weight in the summer

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