Is Orthorexia a Real Eating Disorder?

Is Orthorexia a Real Eating Disorder?
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Tracing the source and legitimacy of a disorder purporting to describe an “unhealthy obsession with healthy eating.”

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Orthorexia Nervosa is described as a “fixation on the virtue of food or unhealthy obsession with healthy eating. Orthorexia has been [styled] as a type of ‘self-righteous eating’ [or as] ‘clean eating'” by “sufferers” of the disorder. Wait, let’s take a step back here. First of all, though this “phenomenon…has been described in the scientific literature, it is not formally recognized as an official psychiatric diagnosis.” Furthermore, orthorexia doesn’t even have “an accepted definition,” nor “validated diagnostic criteria.” And, if you can’t validly diagnose it, or even define it, what good is it? Okay, well, first off: where did this concept even come from? Not from some scholarly source, but from a popular press article called “Confessions of a Health Food Junkie” in a magazine called Yoga Journal.

Let’s explore its “scientific legitimacy.” Evidently, it looks like “[o]rthorexics obsessively avoid [processed] foods, [unhealthy fats, and] foods containing too much salt or too much sugar.” But wait; by definition, we should avoid unhealthy fats—they’re unhealthy! And anything that has too much salt or sugar has too much salt and sugar. Is someone who’s a nonsmoker “obsessively” avoiding cigarettes orthospirexic? Obsessed with “right” breathing? “In many cases, parents try to “strictly limit their children’s sugar intake…” No! Off to the loony bin they go.

Orthorexics make the “nutritional value of a meal more important than the pleasure of eating it.” Uh, but if you didn’t just a little, wouldn’t you just eat doughnuts all day? If pleasure trumps health, maybe we should all just start shooting heroin.

One of the proposed criteria is “an unusual concern about one’s own health.” What does that mean? Do you have a mental illness if you decide to hold the bacon on your double cheeseburger? That could be seen as an unusual level of concern in a standard American diet.

“People with orthorexia pay excessive attention to the quality of consumed food,” so much so they’d rather not eat unhealthy food. I bet they put their seatbelts on too! We better reprogram their unhealthy healthy thoughts with “cognitive behavioral therapy combined [of course] with” drugs (SSRIs such as Zoloft, Prozac, and Paxil.) Hey, that’s what the “experts recommend.”

“With regard to psychotropic medication,” yeah SSRIs may help, but you may have to dip into the atypical “antipsychotics” as well. Now, often there will be a concession like: “Of course, from a clinical and public health perspective it would not be reasonable to suggest that individuals who follow a strict healthy diet are endangering their health.” It only reaches “clinical significance” when “health-directed eating” starts causing problems in relationships, or impairs an individual’s social life. But, like, if someone asks their spouse not to smoke around them and the kids, that “health-directed” behavior could cause “interpersonal distress” in the relationship. Should you just keep quiet? Or should you yourself keep smoking just to not cause waves with your smoking spouse? And social-life-wise, do you have mental illness if you tell your date you’d rather not go to the steak house or the smoking lounge?

“The problem…is when the behavior begins to hinder a person’s ability to take part in everyday society.” Like what if you start bringing food to dinner parties? Maybe I’ve just gone to too many potlucks, but bringing a healthy dish to share doesn’t sound like a druggable psychiatric offense to me.

And then, there’s Instagram. Think of “the implications social media can have on the psychological well-being” of hundreds of thousands of individuals. Did you know that “[h]ealthy food posts tend to receive more support from users than less healthy images, indicating a positive attitude towards healthy foods and healthy eating”?!? Soon, everyone might be taking pictures of broccoli. Quick, get out the straitjackets!

In his decades of medical practice, Dr. Dean Ornish says he’s “never seen” a case of orthorexia. “Most people,” he says, “have the opposite problem; they don’t care enough about what they eat.”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: artistlike via pixabay. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Orthorexia Nervosa is described as a “fixation on the virtue of food or unhealthy obsession with healthy eating. Orthorexia has been [styled] as a type of ‘self-righteous eating’ [or as] ‘clean eating'” by “sufferers” of the disorder. Wait, let’s take a step back here. First of all, though this “phenomenon…has been described in the scientific literature, it is not formally recognized as an official psychiatric diagnosis.” Furthermore, orthorexia doesn’t even have “an accepted definition,” nor “validated diagnostic criteria.” And, if you can’t validly diagnose it, or even define it, what good is it? Okay, well, first off: where did this concept even come from? Not from some scholarly source, but from a popular press article called “Confessions of a Health Food Junkie” in a magazine called Yoga Journal.

Let’s explore its “scientific legitimacy.” Evidently, it looks like “[o]rthorexics obsessively avoid [processed] foods, [unhealthy fats, and] foods containing too much salt or too much sugar.” But wait; by definition, we should avoid unhealthy fats—they’re unhealthy! And anything that has too much salt or sugar has too much salt and sugar. Is someone who’s a nonsmoker “obsessively” avoiding cigarettes orthospirexic? Obsessed with “right” breathing? “In many cases, parents try to “strictly limit their children’s sugar intake…” No! Off to the loony bin they go.

Orthorexics make the “nutritional value of a meal more important than the pleasure of eating it.” Uh, but if you didn’t just a little, wouldn’t you just eat doughnuts all day? If pleasure trumps health, maybe we should all just start shooting heroin.

One of the proposed criteria is “an unusual concern about one’s own health.” What does that mean? Do you have a mental illness if you decide to hold the bacon on your double cheeseburger? That could be seen as an unusual level of concern in a standard American diet.

“People with orthorexia pay excessive attention to the quality of consumed food,” so much so they’d rather not eat unhealthy food. I bet they put their seatbelts on too! We better reprogram their unhealthy healthy thoughts with “cognitive behavioral therapy combined [of course] with” drugs (SSRIs such as Zoloft, Prozac, and Paxil.) Hey, that’s what the “experts recommend.”

“With regard to psychotropic medication,” yeah SSRIs may help, but you may have to dip into the atypical “antipsychotics” as well. Now, often there will be a concession like: “Of course, from a clinical and public health perspective it would not be reasonable to suggest that individuals who follow a strict healthy diet are endangering their health.” It only reaches “clinical significance” when “health-directed eating” starts causing problems in relationships, or impairs an individual’s social life. But, like, if someone asks their spouse not to smoke around them and the kids, that “health-directed” behavior could cause “interpersonal distress” in the relationship. Should you just keep quiet? Or should you yourself keep smoking just to not cause waves with your smoking spouse? And social-life-wise, do you have mental illness if you tell your date you’d rather not go to the steak house or the smoking lounge?

“The problem…is when the behavior begins to hinder a person’s ability to take part in everyday society.” Like what if you start bringing food to dinner parties? Maybe I’ve just gone to too many potlucks, but bringing a healthy dish to share doesn’t sound like a druggable psychiatric offense to me.

And then, there’s Instagram. Think of “the implications social media can have on the psychological well-being” of hundreds of thousands of individuals. Did you know that “[h]ealthy food posts tend to receive more support from users than less healthy images, indicating a positive attitude towards healthy foods and healthy eating”?!? Soon, everyone might be taking pictures of broccoli. Quick, get out the straitjackets!

In his decades of medical practice, Dr. Dean Ornish says he’s “never seen” a case of orthorexia. “Most people,” he says, “have the opposite problem; they don’t care enough about what they eat.”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: artistlike via pixabay. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

Doctor's Note

I had a blast doing this series, as I’m sure you’ll pick up on. Couldn’t wait until they were up, and today’s the day! Stay tuned for the thrilling conclusion to my three-part video series with Orthorexia Nervosa Symptoms and The Orthorexia Nervosa Test.

While, as I think you’ll clearly see after watching the entire three-part series, orthorexia cannot be considered a legitimate eating disorder, there are very real and very serious eating disorders (such as anorexia and bulimia) that should not be taken lightly. If you or a loved one suffers from one of these diagnoses, please seek immediate help from a professional.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

272 responses to “Is Orthorexia a Real Eating Disorder?

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  1. Big Pharma would like us to think so. They’re probably working on a vaccine as we speak.

    1. So YR,

      Why do you think Instagram correlates with this condition?

      Is there a scaremonger WFPB teacher on Instagram who isn’t on the other social media?

      I am not really on Instagram. I did go once. I had the thought that it might be young people, but they said that it wasn’t associated with age. It is associated so highly with Instagram that I want to know who started it and what are they teaching?

      Does anybody know?

      Per one of the studies, Instagram lead to a 49% increased level when NO OTHER SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNEL has the effect and BMI and age had NO association? So, who is the one leading people into it? That tells me that it is a person causing it at least somewhat.

      “Higher Instagram use was associated with a greater tendency towards orthorexia nervosa, with no other social media channel having this effect. In exploratory analyses Twitter showed a small positive association with orthorexia symptoms. BMI and age had no association with orthorexia nervosa. The prevalence of orthorexia nervosa among the study population was 49%, which is significantly higher than the general population (<1%)."

        1. Nope, it is real and it is something about Instagram. Wrong focus. Selfie, selfie, selfie-centered, notice me, notice me, notice me, love me, love me, love me, please don’t judge me, please don’t judge me, please don’t judge me.

          It is interesting to me that Facebook and MySpace and all of social media have the same dynamics, but only Instagram caused it. Is that where the “ex-vegan” thing came from? It has to be. Suddenly, there are a wave of people who were pretending to still be eating raw. Are there sponsors or do they get money? Versus Facebook and Twitter?

          In May 2017, a survey conducted by United Kingdom’s Royal Society for Public Health, featuring 1,479 people aged 14–24, asking them to rate social media platforms depending on anxiety, depression, loneliness, bullying and body image, concluded that Instagram was “worst for young mental health”.

          1. Deb, I don’t do Instagram or FB, Twitter, etc. Although, years ago I did set up a FB account….never used it, however. That outfit ain’t got nuthin’ on me. :-)

            I gave them the wrong name, wrong birth date (I’m now supposedly 113), but they accepted me anyway. Just wanted bodies, I guess. I never bother checking it out, etc. I hear it’s pretty difficult to cancel the FB account.

          2. Why are they calling it an eating disorder rather than an internet disorder?

            It should be named after Instagram because of those statistics.

            Rather than examining what is really going on, they are focusing on the side effect of trying to eat clean.

            Maybe it is the internet doctors doing fear-mongering and confusion?

            Or maybe it is that anorexics turn to vegan for weight loss and get exposed to WFPB on Dr. Greger’s channel on Instagram, but the Lectin fear monger guy gets them scared in one direction and the Soy police get them scared in another direction?

            I like blaming Dr. Greger. Poetic.

    2. Legally, what happens when you define the pursuit of healthy behavior as unhealthy?

      I genuinely am concerned more about the long haul of this.

      It is already in print and the press will pump it. They will make it a star because it is new and they can.

      Autism comes to mind. Once they changed the definition to allow so many more children in and made it a spectrum things changed and children who would never have been diagnosed and who never would have been medicated are being diagnosed and medicated.

      You can’t close Pandora’s box that easily. It generally takes decades of legal battles to reverse things like this.

  2. Thank you for the opportunity to laugh out loud so early in the morning. I’ll have to share my “diagnosis” with my lunch friends who have me wait till last to order because I take so much time telling the server what not to put on my salad!

    1. I laughed, too, but a day later, it concerns me that those words are already out there as the definition of a psychiatric disorder. They have defined already how to measure it and what is considered extreme and what medications need to be given.

      Children who go vegan or won’t eat RoundUp could be getting diagnoses soon.

      Lawsuits against RoundUp or the efforts of the people fighting against chemicals and addictive flavorings could find a legal precedent using these arguments.

      Whole Food Plant Based could genuinely suddenly be treated as a psychiatric illness.

      I can use the example of parents who wanted to use medical diagnoses instead of a psychiatric diagnoses have had their children removed.

      One of the Stsrbucks workers is friends with someone who had their child removed because of a disagreement about something like that. Her daughter is over 18 now but had her life destroyed.

      I see it with kids with ADHD and Autism where they push medication so fast.

      Politically, I know if this becomes official, certain communities will be affected.

  3. The proponents of SAD (standard American diet), particularly producers of crap food (pardon, I meant socially acceptable norms) know they are losing the debate. So now they are getting desperate.

    Personal story: I have shared on this website how I reversed multiple chronic diseases following WFPB (cardiovascular disease, cancer and wildly out of control ulcerative colitis), while reducing UC meds 90% (so far). My last physical was spent with my doctor asking me how I reversed all the diseases shown in their medical charts, all without meds. So I gave her Dr G’s website. She wrote it down. She wanted to know how I did what they were never taught how to do in medical school. I share my story with anyone interested and always refer back here since this is where I learned how.

    More broadly, I now have many doctors I regularly follow, who all advocate WFPB. And they report medical professionals increasingly becoming interested to learn and put into practice lifestyle medicine. The good guys are winning. The losers are getting desperate.

    1. Excellent testimonial!

      Yes, I have been wildly reversing things, too.

      I just find it fascinating that WFPB was declared a mental illness before SAD was.

  4. Problem is raw food to the extreme of a religious belief, like hygienist for exemple. That’s not science it’s a belief system. Here we learn that cooked food is good and cooked starch is necessary for well being. You can religiously follow a healthy diet, one like Dr Greger propose and never endanger your life, quite the opposite. Or follow a raw food only hygienist diet and suffer weight loss and bone loss because of not enough calorie/ nutrient absorption. It’s the diet that you follow that’s the problem not the degree of commitment of which you are following it. Like I said, cooking is not bad, it is way more dependent on which food you are cooking (carrots is always better cooked, bell pepper the opposite) not the cooking itself.

  5. Any deviation from the heard mentality is seen as a psychological disorder in intolerant societies that demand orthodoxy. The “normal” for acceptable eating behavior in the US is an appalling combination of heavily processed convenience foods, sugar saturated beverages, rancid oils and CAFO raised animal products all infused with excessive amounts of antibiotics, herbicides and pesticides. If that’s normal, you can have it.

    The real issue is that health conscious eating patterns are having a disruptive impact on the food industry, as companies such as Tyson Foods scramble to get into the mock meat game in an attempt to adapt to the growing phenomena, but that does not really address the concerns. Food conglomerates see this “aberrant” behavior as bad for business so cue their stable of paid researchers to manufacture a psychological disorder so it can be used as a talking point on morning news and variety shows, Orthorexia Nervosa. I can just hear Sanjay Gupta being interviews on all of the network and Cable TV morning shows now…

    1. “When the whole world is running towards a cliff, he who is running in the opposite direction appears to have lost his mind.”
      — C. S. Lewis

      1. Blair, love reading C.S. Lewis. In the same vein, quote from the book ‘1984’.
        “In times of universal deceit telling the truth will be considered a radical and dangerous idea.”
        As far as these people are concerned, Dr. Gregor is definitely guilty!

    2. I froze the screen at t=1:05 and read the rest of the pull quote on the page shown from J Human Sports and Exercise, and I noticed some interesting language:

      … preparation, kitchenware and other tools… part of the obsessive ritual
      They are very careful, detailed, and tidy persons with an exaggerated need for self-care and protection.
      Vegetarians cannot be considered as orthorexic because they do not exclude animal diets because of maniacal fear for their health (quoted from another source).

      Obsessive?
      Ritual?
      Maniacal?

      This kind of language suggests more than just unbiased reporting. What I’d like to know is what incentivized this kind of a bias in Yoga Journal and JHS&E. Even obsessed vegans could still practice yoga and subscribe to a lifetime of Yoga magazines, right?. Even “maniacal” vegans could participate in human sports and exercise, right? Why this particular agenda from these two sub-sectors of the health industry? Why should they care if some health-conscious members of the public place a higher premium on diet lifestyle?

      Could it be that the original push came from the Big Ag and food processor industries?

      1. Wait a second. After reading the rest of the posts below I see this topic in a whole new light. So this is not just vegan-bashing from the yoga and fitness sectors… That never occurred to me.

        I would retract my comment above and rethink the issue.

        1. Words like “obsessive” and “ritual” could be used in a medical/therapeutic context, if developed carefully. But the word “maniacal” probably cannot; it clearly carries a pejorative nuance. So I’m still inclined to be suspicious of the journal reporting. I will wait for Dr. Greger’s final two installments to get a better picture here.

            1. (BTW, S, thanks for pointing out that thing about taurine and cooked meat back in the guacamole video. I took note. In fact I left one final note.)

              1. No problem dr cobalt! Just went back and read it. Thanks for the extra note! Let us know if you find anything grounding breaking in regards to cats becoming over alkaline. I’d love to learn more on this stuff as I think many of us would for our fur babies.

          1. Good point. I didn’t realize that their were going to an additional two chapters to this story.
            I’ll just have to hold my Orthorexia Nervosa, Restless Leg Syndrome and Leprophobia in check until then… :)

    3. Not to mention big Pharma, Caner. A WFPB diet has been proven for its ability to get people off of meds and individual plant foods have been shown to be as or more effective than certain drugs.
      Then who else loses out? Well Monsanto for one… the animal agriculture industry is a huge part of their profits.

      1. So why does Instagram lead to it at a 49% increased level when NO OTHER SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNEL has the effect and BMI and age had NO association? So, who is the one leading people into it? That tells me that it is a person causing it at least somewhat.

        “Higher Instagram use was associated with a greater tendency towards orthorexia nervosa, with no other social media channel having this effect. In exploratory analyses Twitter showed a small positive association with orthorexia symptoms. BMI and age had no association with orthorexia nervosa. The prevalence of orthorexia nervosa among the study population was 49%, which is significantly higher than the general population (<1%)."

  6. Thank you for this Dr Greger! Very interesting, and I am looking forward to seeing the other two videos as well. Having read health forums for years, I have seen posts by people who appear consistently overly concerned with endless, and seemingly inconsequential, minutiae (I am sure others have come across it too) and wondered if they picked up this pain-in-the-butt syndrome with their adoption of healthy eating, or, were they always like this? Healthy is good, and healthy is attractive, but self absorption is not. Charity work can offer a counter balance to self centeredness.

    Also, if it comes down to it, I would recommend the doughnut vs the heroin. Having revived a drug addict this past sat night, I can assure you it was not a good time.

    1. In my experience, “charity work” is filled with self-absorbed people patting themselves on the shoulder for “being good humans.” Not sure what this has to do with the topic anyway. Personally, I am fascinated with the “endless, and seemingly inconsequential, minutiae” about food intake and would love to sit across from a friend who isn’t cramming her face with sugar and animal fats and talking about her problems on a dating site. I certainly would not find discussion about the micro-elements of food intake a pain in the butt. But to each her own (opinion and experience). All the best :)

    2. Barb,

      “and wondered if they picked up this pain-in-the-butt syndrome with their adoption of healthy eating, or, were they always like this?”

      I have seen this but don’t wonder about it. Healthy eating is just eating. It would be the same thing to say about someone with a familiar eating disorder, is it that they have this tendency or does the act of eating cause it?
      Eating disorders stem from mental illness of some form. It doesn’t matter what way it manifests, it is an unhealthy mentality or even brain chemistry issue, for example OCD can cause eating disorders. I’m sure societal factors play a role as well, from bombarding us with fake “perfection” to paranoid blog posts which could easily trigger someone with anxiety.

    3. “Also, if it comes down to it, I would recommend the doughnut vs the heroin. Having revived a drug addict this past sat night, I can assure you it was not a good time.”

      But neither is morbid, crippling obesity, diabetes, cancer, losing a loved one from our stupid western diets, etc.

      It all sucks and should be avoided and dealt with.

  7. The most rational and sane act a person can undertake is to endeavor to preserve their own life.

    Coca Cola was funding research that linked obesity simply to a lack of physical activity .Orthorexia seems like the perfect concept for entrenched processed food interests to profit from. Who cares if people die, when there are shareholders to please?

    1. “The most rational and sane act a person can undertake is to endeavor to preserve their own life.”

      That about sums it up. Good one!

  8. From past history, one of the first steps of a repressive government in controlling it’s people is to officially describe unwanted behaviors as a “psychiatric “ illness. Then they can send a few of the offenders off to the gulag to be “re-educated”, to set an example. Could this definition be laying the groundwork for future official action?

    It’s getting increasingly disturbing how our society is moving rapidly toward the repressive state described in George Orwell’s novel “1984” where he predicted that governments would eventually use all means possible to ensure conformity by all citizens. He wrote the novel just after WWII when socialism was in vogue and he wanted to warn people of it’s detrimental effect on personal freedom of choice.

      1. kayte, getting a little too political and I have to say that being an independent and not liking either party in full or in most regard, I do not see that about our current present at all and have no idea what you’re talking about. But now that we’ve both gave a balanced opinion, let’s not make this some politically polluted thread.

    1. Darwin,

      When Dr. Greger posted his happiness blog, a few people showed up who believe that happiness is a psychiatric disorder.

      I meditated on it quite a bit because it can also be a sign of getting healthier and those of us who grew up suicidal, who made it all the way to happiness most of the time do not like the psychiatrists who seem to be obsessed with over-diagnosing and over-medicating.

      The point that I will give to them is that it could have technically been that I damaged a part of my brain, which left me happier, but I then, skip over to medical and hate that some psychiatrists just diagnose in the framework of psychiatry and aren’t holistic at all.

      The ONLY reason I would look at happiness and healthy eating as a psychiatric problem would be if there was a medical condition causing something objectively, measurably wrong.

      The examples in this video were of things which are more “social implications” and the concept that we should allow “mob rule” to form our behavior or be medicated if we don’t please everybody.

      The song, “Garden Party” just went through my mind. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PECmjB9df0w

      Some of us lived through greater society sometimes having values which judged groups of people so much that they justify killing people who are different and, yes, we still live in a greater society which eats unhealthy food for pleasure. Is there not a psychiatric disorder for that?

      1. Deb, yeah like only in the case of mania… what a ridiculous assessment. Happiness is an emotion. I think these types might just be trying to make their lives more interesting… overcompensation for not having any relevant hypotheses?

    2. Darwin, brilliant comment, thanks for sharing!

      “Could this definition be laying the groundwork for future official action?”

      I could first see this first showing up in cases of care for the elderly and child care.

  9. Sometimes truth IS stranger than fiction…and funnier too! Loved this video and can’t wait for the other two in this series!

  10. It is sad that the fear of speaking or discussing or having an opinion about ANYTHING in social media or otherwise is now in the scientific community. We are already in the right is wrong and wrong is right era. This is funny. Until you realize how scary it really is.

  11. As someone who did in fact develop severe anxiety around eating the healthiest, most sustainable, most equitable diet which I could, I do not find this article in the least bit funny.

    Extremely ironic, then, that adopting a whole plant foods based diet was part of my successful treatment of this food related severe anxiety. Yet you are ‘punching down’ mocking me & others like me. Do better.

    1. I agree and am glad that your response echoes my feeling as well. I have a lot of respect for Dr. Greger and have recommended “How not to Die” to countless family and friends, yet this video struck a nerve for me. I felt that certain content found in the articles that were referenced to be taken out of context. Just my opinion of course, but I felt compelled to share.

    2. I’d agree as well – while he raises a good point that most people have the opposite problem (and thus this may be exaggerated as a widespread concern), that doesn’t mean it’s not a real problem for some people who obsess over a healthful diet. The people I’ve known who would fit into this category are typically both a) highly anxious / unhappy around their food choices and b) often focus on aspects of health not well supported by the literature. It’s one thing to be avoiding processed meats, but another to be avoiding all grains or all GMO food etc. Of course people are free to choose whatever diet they wish, but I agree that we shouldn’t dismiss the idea that there are many kinds of eating disorders and disordered eating.

    3. Treaclemine, I a sorry about your experience, though I don’t understand what it was, exactly. And I’m sorry that you didn’t find this article funny; I did, and a relief, too.

      I’ve been a vegetarian for close to 50 years for sustainability reasons, and have been subjected to food bullying for most of them. I was thrilled to learn that this way of eating is not only sustainable but probably also the healthiest way. And most recently, I’ve transitioned to plant based whole foods eating — even better.

      And I’ve been accused of being “orthorexic” “in jest,” by a friend who is desperate to lose weight — but seems unable to adopt PBWF eating. She’s been reading about it for years, decades, even receives newsletters from Dr. Ornish, etc. Yet she is frequently asking people how they lost weight. I’ve finally decided that she is upset with herself, not me; the fact that I lost weight eating this way simply upsets her. Very strange, and SAD.

      1. I don’t understand what you are saying to Treaclemine. If you don’t understand and you are sorry, why did you feel it a good idea to respond to this person (who described having a negative reaction) with your story about being a thin vegetarian?

    4. Ditto. I know someone who was becoming a walking skeleton because of this obsession. People can take it too far whether Dr. Ornish has seen it or not.

    5. Thank you treaclemine for your comment this morning. Perhaps having survived years- long eating disorder has given me a different perspective as well. (albeit unpopular). For me as well, it was fresh, whole, living aka plant foods that were key in my recovery, 40 yrs ago. All the best to you.

    6. Dr. Greger did miss the mark with this video. Although he was trying to defend people with orthorexia, he was basically tooting his own “vegan horn,” trying to highlight parallels regarding WFPB eating and how society might mock it and/or find something wrong with it so as to justify their own “terrible” diets. I noticed that he chose to leave out other important information from the research articles, one being that orthorexics spend several hours a day obsessing over their diets. When something interferes with one’s life to the point that it causes significant personal distress or impairs functioning, it becomes a disorder. Postpartum depression is a real disorder, and it didn’t get into the DSM until 1994, so it’s probably only a matter of time before orthorexia nervosa gets added as well. I hope you continue to be okay with your eating!!

      1. How interesting! “Although he was trying to defend people with orthorexia,…” That wasn’t my take from the video at all. I thought that Dr. G. was pointing out that the current state of this idea is so subjective, undefined and unquantified that it could be applied to anyone with an interest in healthful eating. ( I do agree that Dr G sometimes toots his WFPB horn a bit strongly.)

        I wonder if there is even a need for a defined condition “orthorexia” or if people who wind up hurting themselves or others because of an extreme concern over food, can’t be helped within the framework of more established diagnoses?

    7. I hear you and agree. This video is a flip and disrespectful response to the anxiety and restriction caused by the diet culture and food rules. Dr Gregor can be more careful.

      1. “disrespectful response to the anxiety and restriction caused by the diet culture and food rules”

        Umm, well how about the fact that this video wasn’t about legit eating disorders but about so-called “orthorexia?” That might be of some relevance.

        And yes, let’s all be careful… to the point of madness. Sounds like a plan.

    8. OVERSENSITIVITY! I’m calling it.

      Treaclemine… I too have suffered severe obsessive disorders surrounding so many things INCLUDING food and in so many ways… This was due to my crippling OCD that I had previously suffered for a large portion of my existence. I am not offended at this video whatsoever. I’m sorry, but I hate when people take something that they went through and then demand that the world cater to whatever oversensitive perspective they have on all things. We’re all victims in some way or another, let’s continue to be intelligent beings anyway. No one was mocking you or me or that guy over there.

    9. I appreciate your comment. I thought there must be some people who can’t even look at perceived unhealthy food with inducing a panic. I am a committed healthy eater and could see what the video was trying to achieve. However there must be the rare human who would fall in a very extreme category (much like someone who for example can’t touch other people for fear of germs) and deserve compassion.

  12. Could it be that the condition is real but the definition is too broad? I have a brother who is right now in a psych unit with severe weight loss because his fears about foods hurting him have become so great that there is almost nothing he thinks he can eat. Until seeing this video I thought orthorexia was the perfect diagnosis for him. He will eat and gain weight– up to a low normal BMI after his antipsychotic medications are adjusted. I also knew a young man who starved to death with similar eating problems. I think it is a real diagnosis but obviously the definitions you quoted leave too much room for tar brushing all of us who care about healthy eating as worse than just extremists.

    1. I think the definition being what was proposed was Dr. Greger’s whole point with this video and it is not his words that are being read. Those definitions are being given as how to define a mental illness.

      If you are unwilling to eat food unless it is organic, you would be mentally ill.

      If you are unwilling to eat unhealthy food, you would be mentally ill.

      If your family is open to eating processed food and you take a stance against it, you would be mentally ill and they want you to take meds for it.

      1. Deb, I agree. The definition is way too broad. I was raised on a SAD diet because that was what the authorities were pushing: “eat a balanced diet”. I guess they meant balance the good foods with a lot of bad foods ;-) But of course, they never really defined the bad foods! Since I have gone Whole Plant Foods, my health has improved tremendously! And I just ignore my friends who make fun of me.

        But I can see where some people could get into trouble by carrying certain things to irrational extremes and not getting enough real nutrients to stay healthy. This is when concerned family or friends should step in and help out by explaining the irrationality.

        It is certainly irresponsible to label someone with a quasi-mental health issue just because they avoid processed food and animal products. I have no idea who or why this definition/concept was ever even conceived. (Follow the money?, someone seeking notoriety?) But it certainly needs careful re-wording and I believe this is the whole point of this video. Maybe the next two videos will explain more.

        1. Here is the thing.

          Anorexia has people dying from it.

          Bulimia has people dying from it.

          If being focused on eating healthy foods is a disease, I would expect there to be people dying or getting diseases from it.

          I see the restriction of types of healthy foods to be more of a problem, which I do see online quite a bit. People get raw focused or just eat fruit or avoid lectins or soy or nuts or starches.

          Avoiding categories of healthy foods can indeed cause problems, but that is NOT what they are describing in those paragraphs.

          Avoiding RoundUp might take a lot of focus and might cost money and might have negative effects, but the positive effects would be high enough that the medication, having people eat foods with RoundUp and messing up their gut bacteria and serotonin levels would be worse than if they never “treated” the stress of eating healthy.

    2. According to the video, there is no accepted definition of “orthorexia” at all, nor any other formal medical description. To me that’s a huge red flag suggesting that “orthorexia” may me a manifestation of some other medical condition that is already recognized. Mention of the use of current psychiatric drugs tends to support this idea.

      Rather than being too broad, maybe “orthorexia” is unnecessarily specific. Did the people in the cases you mentioned have other strong concerns? or only food focus? Or even creating yet another psychiatric label to slap on people so we can dismiss them rather than empathize?

        1. It seems to me that Karma is starting to turn tables on irresponsible families. The family never took the time to learn optimal eating, and that mistake causes all of them to suffer. One particularly vulnerable family member was harmed by the standard diet practices, and it drove her/him to rightfully fear the foods that are harming them. The family is not enlightened, so they blame the food-abstainer for being different. Their solution is gang mentality. Gang up on the family member who won’t eat like us. Call the police if she resists. Make sure she is injected with painful chemicals so that her brain is damaged so bad that she cannot resist. These chemicals are called anti psychotics. Nazi Germany was terrible, but the true Hitler exists in almost every person. Unless you are perfect, you have this evil within you.

          The name of the family game is ego. My son makes me uncomfortable. He is very strange, and closer to enlightenment than me. The answer? Hurt him so bad with forced chemical lobotomy that he will never be able to resist again.

          History shows that humans are using psychiatry for evil. In the 50’s, lobotomies were given to women who fought back against their abusive husbands. They were labeled as psychiatrically “hysterical.” Is your son gay? The answer was homosexual disorder. The answer was lobotomy.

          Soon after this was exposed as Hitler/Stalinesque brain-damage, Big pharma cashed in on the public’s need to feel superior over their families. They invented pills which would restrain through damaging the outer layers of the brain. They are called anti-psychotics.

          So, today we can still gang up and take revenge on our families forever. AND, we can appear to be saintly because we call the brain-damage a “medicine.” Our ego has defeated us. Humanity is very ill, but the illness is and always was energetic. The illness was the evil inside each and every one of us.

          It is still there. The only answer is to use the self improvement techniques which aim to demonstrate that ALL problems we have will only go away when we decide to own up to our self. WE ARE THE PROBLEM, NOT ANYONE ELSE. REVENGE IS THE PROBLEM. Meditation and non-attachment can help, but also it is necessary to work on removing the evil within each of us. Work on yourself, not on drugging others by force.

          This disgusting dominance behavior is the result of billions of people all blaming everyone else ALL THE TIME.

          Someone seems different, and I’m uncomfortable about it? Blame them! Blame Trump! Just never blame me!

          OH! If you suggest I must blame myself, I will call the police and have you “medicated.” You will never be able to blame me again. You will have your brain treated with the “medicine” !! This is the “medicine” that I would never take myself voluntarily. NEVER! Everyone is bad except me!

          Justice! Justice! Well,
          “Justice” actually means, ‘I will hurt or kill you if you try to interfere with my violent, murderous revenge. I will use gang mentality to crush my enemies. They will suffer and or die for discomforting me in any way. I will use the police and prisons to enact my revenge, and when I’m still wanting extra revenge, I will use the psychiatric system for extra torture’ – Mike Fretty 2019

          And, why would no reasonable person ever take the supposed “medicine” of anti psychotics? Why is it that they are only recommended for patients suffering from mental illness? The answer is that all 6 of the latest meta-analyses which measured the MRI effects on the brain ALL indicated significant damage to the majority of the brain. Most recently, the results were broken down by each specific antipsychotic. Haldol, Risperidone, Seroquel, Olazapine, Even Clozapine.. low-medium , medium, or high doses ALL CAUSED STATISTICALLY SIGNIFICANT LOSS IN MOST BRAIN REGIONS. (Dr. G, if you are interested in these meta-analyses, give me an email)

          why else are they evil? Because the medicines destroy the entire body, not just the brain. Average life expectancy was recently weighed by Cochrane meta analysis, and those patients who took the medicine had shortened lives by roughly 20 years, while those patients (with equivalent initial symptom severity) who did not undergo drug therapy had normal lifespans. Again, if you read this, and still think that these drugs are necessary, why not just try them for yourself? The answer is that they are evil. Some sort of morality still exists in you deep down, but you have been defeated outwardly. That is why you know that they are bad drugs, but claim outwardly that they are good for certain people. You know it is a lie. (If you are a psych-doc profiting from these drugs, you might lose your paycheck for denouncing their use… Uh Oh! I better use more gang mentality to protect my paycheck.. My message is this to you psych docs: You are not invisible. It is very clear what you are doing. Just convincing yourself it is the norm to prescribe this crap is not going to absolve you)

          If it isn’t clear to you by now, forced antipsychotics are ALWAYS WRONG IN EVERY CASE. NO EXCUSES!

          If you must sedate, benzodiazepine is equally effective, and much better tolerated. Antipsychotics are literally Nazi ego weapons. Whatever you learned in school about how these antipsychotics are a necessary evil, you were misguided. There is no necessary evil. Evil is just bad. “Bad doesn’t validate good. Good validates ITSELF!” – Aubrey de Grey

          It is time to take a stand against this cruel torture. The downtrodden people of this planet can no longer be forced to endure this garbage!

          FORCED MEDICATION IS ALWAYS REVENGE! THE PATIENT MUST ALWAYS BE GIVEN THE OPTION OF A LOCKED ROOM WITHOUT MEDICATION, OTHERWISE YOU ARE BASICALLY HITLER. BLAME YOURSELF, OR THE EGO, THE EVIL, IS ALREADY IN CONTROL OF YOU. NEVER BLAME THE PATIENT. NEVER FORCE A PSYCHIATRIC DRUG OR YOU ARE HITLER. STOP THE BRUTAL GANG FORCE!!

          Trust and surrender is the healthiest way to be. Do you want your family, your society, your planet, to LIVE IN FEAR of your forced “medicines”? How can your family do this, how can they live in peace when they always have their own family threatening them with chemical torture/lobotomy whenever they try their best to show you that your diet is killing you? They are unique in their way, and you try to crush them with chemicals for exposing your own inadequacy.

          The victims aren’t intellectual, but the Spirit is showing them to abstain and to resist the murderous diet in every way possible. This disease will only be overcome with love and understanding. NEVER FORCING DRUGS! Celebrate, honor, care for their uniqueness with your loving guidance instead of taking the easy way out and destroying their strange beauty with the most disgusting force.

          What about for the person who is abstaining from most foods, and becoming dangerously thin?

          Just give them the few foods they like in abundance. No risk there. Take your time to care for them instead of drugging. Read to them about the benefits of pure foods like beans. Keep reading, keep loving, keep caring. NEVER FORCE DRUGGING WITH HARMFUL CHEMICALS. If you truly are a good person, your CARE for your family will be shown through your daily effort to OFFER them healthy foods. NOT REVENGE-DRUGS-EGO.

          This has to stop now! All the supposed science that claims that certain people benefit from antipsychotics is totally non-scientific. I have read this garbage that plagues Pubmed. Most of the studies are ambiguous. When reading them over, I cringe at the sickening way these test-patients were treated during the experiments. Then I look around and realize, it is no longer a test. Every hospital in the world is using these vicious chemicals forcefully instead of love, time, care, and compassion. If you took time to read these studies, you too would see that they are not testing the best interest of the patient. They are testing how to destroy the spirit of the patient, and make them docile. These people were the potential of the planet to be perfect. They were the potential for greatness, uniqueness. They just needed our time, our care, our love. Instead, we continue to kill away the potential for true love, true greatness. We continue to perpetuate a nazi police state through the mental-health/ Police-state union. (The police are called to take the unique person to the drug camp for re-assignment) This is not a colorful expression of words. This is an exact description of the lives of millions of weak, but unique people. CRUSHED BY FORCE.

          End the chemical rape of millions of our sons and daughters today! Whether you are supposedly orthorexic, a spiritual savant, or just plain weird, WE LOVE YOU! WE WON’T FORCE DANGEROUS CHEMICALS ANYMORE!! AND, most importantly, WE WILL NEVER GO INTO PRISONS AND FORCE PSYCHIATRIC CHEMICALS ON PRISONERS WHO ARE ALREADY LOCKED AWAY!!! THIS IS ABSOLUTE REVENGE!! THEY ARE ALREADY LOCKED AWAY, THEY CAN”T HURT ANYONE (but even if they could, forced chemicals are torture) GIVE THEM A CHOICE!!!

          Say it with me people! LOVE NOT FORCE!

          PEACE
          Mike F

          1. Mike, I totally agree with you about drugs; I refuse to take them. IMO, they end up killing people.

            I’ve seen people sit around like glassy-eyed zombies, having ingested 10-12 of their daily prescribed medications.

          2. Mike :
            I like your comments and your take on…Orthorexia

            If you really want to hear more (from Michael Greger) what was he thinking when he script the 3 clips on Orthorexia on June 28th 2018. He explains in the first question he received why and how he research “Orthorexia”. Is really enlightening and educational.
            A. Go to Home page of NutritionFacts.org
            B. Open Menu: Video Library.
            C. At the bottom of Video Library. Go to LiveQ&A. Each month had to 2. FB and YouTube.
            D. Go to June 28th on YouTube Q&A. After a minute at 1:10 exactly he respond to the question what is your take on orthorexia? He went to learn the issue, open-minded, but after reading almost everything about it. Realized *****
            E. Check it out. It IS WORTHY! and illuminating particularly for young Americans married to this new version of “social media liberalism” where is more important to try to “pseudo- empathy-size” with your interlocutor than demanding evidence based reasoning.
            I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
            Best
            Doctorcito de Argentina

            1. I watch all of the Q/As. Dr. Greger is my hero, my family’s hero. No one is perfect, and all have made mistakes. Sooo many people in my life have been brutally tortured for their beliefs through forced drugging. It goes on and on, and it seems that nothing can be done at times.

              But, revenge is alive in the legal system today. So often have I experienced people being abused by the police/court system for their diet, and their beliefs. Forced drugging for life has been ordered on members of my family for standing up against injustice. This includes standing up for a wfpb diet. Many years of constant suffering occurred.

              Dr. Greger, you have a book to write about mental health / psychiatry. Forced drugging is a subject that can not be ignored. Hear my plea, stand up for these victims. Stand up for the weak. They have been silenced, and are in extreme pain/sedation every day.

  13. Thank you, Dr. Greger, for a darned good laugh. Treaclemine, he is mocking the studies and write-ups about the situation, not the specific people involved in it. He doesn’t need to “Do better.”

  14. Yes, if you go by the definition presented in that article, Orthorexia sounds ridiculous. But, when you have a friend who is truly obsessive about eating the “right” food or only eating “clean” food, it’s a very scary thing. I’m talking about someone who decides that they will only eat fruit, for example, and if there’s no fruit available, they won’t eat at all. I’m talking about someone who will punish themselves with starvation or exercise for eating the “wrong” foods. I understand that there are people who will attempt to pathologize anything and everything, even healthy eating, and that there should be push-back against that. But, please understand, there are people who develop a rigid belief system surrounding food and food rituals, and it’s really scary when you see it up close and in person. Maybe it would make more sense as a sub-category of OCD or anorexia, I don’t know. But food obsessions are real, and they can be very unhealthy.

    1. Freddie,

      You are right. There are real eating disorders.

      The psychiatrists are trying to define Whole Food Plant Based as a psychiatric disorder requiring medication.

      That is what Dr. Greger is showing. The words are not his own. These words are about real professionals who see Whole Food Plant Based as a psychiatric disorder and they are trying to write policies based on that definition and are suggesting which drugs to take for it.

  15. I think it’s more that they start obsessing so much about being healthy, that they don’t eat at all, and because they’re scared to eat unless it’s a health food this can be dangerous.

    If someone gets overly meticulous and are not sure what food is and isn’t healthy, they then don’t eat, and this confusion mixed with fear is what I would say is meant by Orthorexia, when someone isn’t actually sure what is healthy, so they avoid food all together because they’re paranoid it isn’t healthy enough. Basically they have black and white thinking, or just going to extremes too fast, and don’t know what they’re doing properly.

    Orthorexia to me, is when someone keeps getting confused on what is and isn’t healthy and because of this isn’t eating right. Till they understand what is and isn’t healthy better. First they should aim to eat what they enjoy, then aim to be healthy once they have a good grasp of what they consider healthy, because if you’re that worried about being healthy, and you’re becoming so obsessed with being healthy that you’re not eating at all. Then that isn’t actually healthy. It’s unhealthy. It’s a bit of a paradox.

    Basically this is a result of when someone is confused about what is and isn’t healthy, so they avoid food, or have unhealthy food habits that they think are healthy, when they’re not.

    An example is people that think salad is healthy and they eat salad all day most days and end up eating low caloric foods and don’t make sure they get enough calories, and that those calories don’t take a lot of work to get the calories out of the food as well, like eating a lot of raw food that your body has to work harder to break down and digest, over food that is blended or cooked, and already broken down a lot. Which means they uses more energy to break it down then cooked, and get less over all calories. Basically I would call this a person being confused, and either thinking they’re being healthy and they’re not, in which they don’t believe any other way is healthy, and so they get in to bad health, thinking they are eating healthy, and usually after this they just eat what ever, because they think, I was eating healthy and it failed. Which to be fair it’s better they eat what ever they want then eat foods which don’t give them enough energy. Yet some will not accept that what they’re doing isn’t working for them, and keep eating what they think is healthy, when it’s not, and gets very unhealhy because of this belief. A salad is healthy, but just eating greens isn’t healthy. You have to get a good balance of whole grains, beans/legumes, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, spices, and makes sure you meet your calories for the day. But if a person has a belief set, and only eats salad, or any other diet they think is healthy which isn’t healthy, and can’t get out of this mindset, I would call that Orthorexia. I would also call it Orthorexia, if a person thinks eating junk food all day is healthy, and will not let anyone tell them otherwise, unhealthy acts a person thinks are very healthy.

    Basically it all comes down to not understand what works for their body properly, and or not fully understanding science which shows what is healthy. Basically they’re going it alone not getting help from a Registered Dietitian. They don’t have to agree with everything a Registered Dietitian says based on what they know about their body, but if it’s obvious they’re getting ill following a diet they think is healthy, well it isn’t healthy for them. They need to just start making changes, going with their gut more, eat what they want till they work out how to be healthier.

    This is what I would say this is trying to refer to, not people that actually are in good shape, aiming to make healthier choices, but people following a new diet which is bad for them, or people scared to eat food, because it’s not healthy enough.

    Instead a person should go with a spectrum, what is over all more likely to be healthy, then aim to eat the food that is most likely to be healthy based on the spectrum for each food group they should be eating. Then work out which food is healthy in small amounts, what is fine to eat in large amounts, and so on. Like eating a lot of nuts and seeds is bad, but eating 20g to 60g of nuts and seeds a day if you’re in good health is good for you, as appose to eating none. If you’re over weight or trying to lose weight then you should avoid nuts and seeds and they go in the unhealthy spectrum depending on weight. So basically if you draw up a diet chart based on what foods to eat in each spectrum, how healthy they are, and eat something you feel like from the healthy sections. Depending on how much fat has on their body, and create a spectrum of what people should be eating based on this, you can formulate to a decent degree what people should be eating like if, they’re trying to get healthier, or just have a healthy diet in general. There would also be diets depending on diseases and what people should eat for a healthy diet as well. So it’s about knowing the body as well.

    In the end if you’re not sure just make sure you get enough calories and a good balance of most foods, don’t overly focus on one health food, and go to a registered dietitian, if you’re struggling with what is and isn’t healthy to do.

  16. I agree it seems nuts to make a psychiatric condition out of it (and find meds to prescribe!), but the study did point out that these folks are focused on healthy eating/diet to the extent that it supercedes and interferes with/harms their relationships with others, and that they spend a majority of their day analyzing their own diets and thinking about food…none of these (I think) would be considered exactly “healthy” mental behaviors.

    1. Jen,

      The examples given were so much broader than that.

      If someone were giving examples of food obsession, which is a very real condition, they would not use any of the examples given.

      1. They have defined Whole Food Plant Based as a mental illness. The examples given were closer to Whole Food Plant Based than eating disorders.

        I had an eating disorder when I was in college. Whole Food Plant Based organic, no salt, no sugar, no oil is not an eating disorder, even if my whole family and all of my friends genuinely think it is because they are Standard American Diet and Keto.

        They think vegetarian and vegan are eating disorders and Whole Food Plant Based is more.

        Getting off of food as a topic, I am part of a brain study and gave examples of where my brain became broken and what that looked like and the answer was that there was a whole list of objective things and they weren’t “Oh, I am just too happy all the time.” It was a list like, “My calendar was a year and a half off” and “I found out that I had bought 4 instapots and couldn’t figure out how to use any of them.” (Turned out that all the recipes said to use a manual setting, which wasn’t on my pots.) My brain is healing and I no longer have the same list, but my family sees Christianity as a mental illness and Whole Food Plant Based as a mental illness and meditation as a mental illness, etc.

        When I had an eating disorder, the list didn’t look like, “Unwilling to eat food unless it is organic” and, yes, this past year, I have gone to the grocery store every single day and looked at organic produce and to them, it might be obsession, but I am learning a new diet and it is healing my brain and I am now sleeping at night and there is improvement in so many things and that is what I can point to.

        1. Deb:
          I like your take on…Orthorexia

          If you really want to hear more (from Michael Greger) what was he thinking when he script the 3 clips on Orthorexia on June 28th 2018. He explains in the first question he received why and how he research “Orthorexia”. Is really enlightening and educational.
          A. Go to Home page of NutritionFacts.org
          B. Open Menu: Video Library.
          C. At the bottom of Video Library. Go to LiveQ&A. Each month had to 2. FB and YouTube.
          D. Go to June 28th on YouTube Q&A. After a minute at 1:10 exactly he respond to the question what is your take on orthorexia? He went to learn the issue, open-minded, but after reading almost everything about it. Realized *****
          E. Check it out. It IS WORTHY! and illuminating particularly for young Americans married to this new version of “social media liberalism” where is more important to try to “pseudo- empathy-size” with your interlocutor than demanding evidence based reasoning.
          I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
          Best
          Doctorcito de Argentina

  17. I’m suffering from orthorexia, and this is the first time I’m happy to report that I’ m suffering from a chronic disease.

    1. 1. SO AM I !! Yuuupiiii! So happy, proud, unapologetic & arrogant about it. (
      2. Please, laugh with me. LOL like an American millennial ha, ha.. Although I am in my “middle sixties”. This is clip is fabulous and hilarious.
      3. Abrazos to all of you for sharing a good time and good laugh.The first and only “positive” thing about digital communication. Clearly I prefer any type of “direct human contact” (
      4. Anyway…a day later….my age & memory made me forget what orthorexia means….problems when English is your 3rd/4th language….LOL …& also the beginning of “senility.

      Best. Argentinean doc

      1. “Anyway…a day later….my age & memory made me forget what orthorexia means”

        LOL!! Thanks for the amusing post. Though I don’t think it has anything to do with age… easy to forget something that has not actual definition :)

        1. S:
          Thanks for kind reaction/response
          I like your take on…Orthorexia

          If you really want to hear more (from Michael Greger) what was he thinking when he script the 3 clips on Orthorexia on June 28th 2018. He explains in the first question he received why and how he research “Orthorexia”. Is really enlightening and educational.
          A. Go to Home page of NutritionFacts.org
          B. Open Menu: Video Library.
          C. At the bottom of Video Library. Go to LiveQ&A. Each month had to 2. FB and YouTube.
          D. Go to June 28th on YouTube Q&A. After a minute at 1:10 exactly he respond to the question what is your take on orthorexia? He went to learn the issue, open-minded, but after reading almost everything about it. Realized *****
          E. Check it out. It IS WORTHY! and illuminating particularly for young Americans married to this new version of “social media liberalism” where is more important to try to “pseudo- empathy-size” with your interlocutor than demanding evidence based reasoning.
          I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
          Best
          Doctorcito de Argentina

    2. George: I like your take on…Orthorexia

      If you really want to hear more (from Michael Greger) what was he thinking when he script the 3 clips on Orthorexia on June 28th 2018. He explains in the first question he received why and how he research “Orthorexia”. Is really enlightening and educational.
      A. Go to Home page of NutritionFacts.org
      B. Open Menu: Video Library.
      C. At the bottom of Video Library. Go to LiveQ&A. Each month had to 2. FB and YouTube.
      D. Go to June 28th on YouTube Q&A. After a minute at 1:10 exactly he respond to the question what is your take on orthorexia? He went to learn the issue, open-minded, but after reading almost everything about it. Realized *****
      E. Check it out. It IS WORTHY! and illuminating particularly for young Americans married to this new version of “social media liberalism” where is more important to try to “pseudo- empathy-size” with your interlocutor than demanding evidence based reasoning.
      I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
      Best
      Doctorcito de Argentina

  18. I acknowledge that this term may be used incorrectly to describe people who are vegans, but there is a real problem out there with people taking their version of healthy too far. I had a friend become obsessed with raw food to the point of making herself sick and require hospitalization. (I felt guilty b/c I introduced the raw food concept though I never went too far with it myself.) I think in this case, Nutrition Facts may need to investigate a little further. Perhaps our community could challenge the broader medical community accurately describe a real disorder which should not apply to vegans or plant-forward people.

    1. Kristen,

      There are three parts to this series. I have a strong feeling that things like that will be in the next one because it is real. This one is about how psychiatry has defined it and what their solution is for it.

      1. Thanks, Deb. That’s good to know, and I’ll hold judgment. I don’t particularly care for the three part series in this case b/c the dangling part one is concerning!

  19. I bet the people who claim it is real are obese and unhealthy feeling ENTITLED to eat themselves to death at the cost of draining our healthcare system solely because of their own unhealthy food obsessions. We all see these huge people who these days all seem to need a truck because it is so much easier to buy themselves a gigantic fuel wasting vehicle for one person than addressing the obesity they feel entitled to have.

  20. I would agree with Dr Dean Ornish that most of us don’t pay enough attention. However I knew a person with this condition. She had a self-imposed time-consuming extreme diet developed with a very expensive ” alternative dietician”. It controlled her life and social life too. With many negative impacts. More than just a passion for healthy eating.
    Similar to the way people with celiac or severe allergies also get hindered at social events or restaurants….but over the top with many odd restrictions.

  21. Thank you SO much, Dr. Greger, for this light-hearted look into Orthorexia. I’ve had so many people over the past few years tell me that I am Orthorexic. So glad to see that perhaps it is I who is on the right track in maintaining optimum health, rather than those who could care less about their health.

  22. THANK YOU for doing this video. I work at a Weight Loss Center where we have the population Dr. Ornish noted who pays scrupulously little attention to their food and food plan.

  23. I transitioned to a whole food plant based diet overnight a year ago. This past year has been the most empowering and healthiest of my life in terms of weight loss and energy. It has also seen one of the steepest declines in my mental health with anxiety. The more I research about nutrition, mostly via this site but also through pubmed, the more risk averse and obsessive I have become.

    I’m worried about the fact my underweight daughter has given up meat but won’t eat adequate beans, greens or whole grains and whether or not she’s getting enough calories or micronutrients with the food I’m now feeding her. I’m worried because my husband and I are both now iron deficient anemic despite all our beans and greens. I worry whether the b12 supplement i’m taking is adequate or whether I’ll find out in ten years that my body hasn’t been absorbing it properly and then have irreversible nerve damage. Should my kids be eating fortified wholegrain sugar free cereals despite the inclusion of synthetic folic acid. Once a week? Never? Does my green tea come from china? Does this wfpb brownie have baking powder that contains aluminium? No one else seems to care about this level of detail. Not even other wfpb eaters.

    I am emotionally exhausted since being unplugged from the matrix of animal product consumption. I see a difference between me and those around me. The difference is that seeing my daughter eat cheese actually makes me cry. Thinking that my son might be having a bottle of diet coke at lunchtime once a month sends me to read about safe limits for caramel ingestion on pubmed. I question even good advice. Is a hypochondriac simply just health conscious or mentally unwell? I do think being overly obsessive about healthy eating and risk averse in diet is real and is rooted in poor mental health. Who is going to help me when I have a non-existent affliction?

    1. Hi there, Have you read the book Vegan Betrayal by Mara Kahn? If not, maybe you should. She’s a journalist (and ex vegan of about 20 years) who took several years researching this book and writing about some of her own experiences with eating as a vegan. Some of what she writes about might resonate with you.

      1. Thank you for the book recommendation :) One of the reviews says she doesn’t include sources for her information – that’s a wall to me right there as I’m quite research focused but I will still look into it…I’m too anxious to disregard alternate opinions without closely examining them!

    2. KCanucker,

      The problem is that you really should deal with your B-12 and not let yourself be deficient and sometimes worrying about things is about needing to deal with things. Which type of B-12 are you using and are you getting an adequate dose? I start there because you may have homocysteine causing the overwhelm.

      I had that. Methyl B-12 is not always enough is what some of us found out. It isn’t shelf stable and I ended up with lots of symptoms of B-12 deficiency while I was using that as my supplement and it disappeared when I switched to either cyano or added in other forms. If you have a medical problem, it helps to deal with that first, but both of you being anemic, it sounds like you might need help working out the diet – like a nutritionist.

      I say that because I have watched people go Paleo and Keto and Atkins and Weight Watchers and Spark People and Jenny Craig and every single diet out there requires a whole learning curve and that requires special focus for a long time. The more we learn, ideally, the consuming focus changes.

      Sometimes it helps to do the process with a professional who can give strategies and suggestions of how to incorporate greens in pasta sauce or in a smoothie or something, which makes it easier for your family.

      If once you have learned, you still feel obsessed and overwhelmed, then you may have a problem, but fix your B-12 first because your brain can’t function properly without B-12.

      1. I also am going to ask, is it just food?

        Will you cry if your kids are among the 90% who smoke pot, take a drink, have sex?

        I say that because to define it as a problem with Orthorexia rather than dealing with a bigger issue would cause you to maybe go on meds and let your kids eat more junk food as a solution, rather than maybe something like meditation and prayer and communication of your values and parenting your children.

        1. I am not talking about food addictions right this second, I am just thinking about how history repeats itself.

          Valium was one of the meds mothers went on and they let their kids eat anything they wanted. That is how the Standard American Diet ended up happening.

          Rolling Stones made a song about that. Mother’s Little Helper.

          My brother has an 8-year-old who won’t eat healthy food at all and, as of the past month, she has started gaining weight. I do worry about her. I know she doesn’t eat fruits or vegetables or grains. She eats chicken nuggets, pizza, Mexican restaurants food and eats candy and cake and ice cream and cookies and brownies all day and night, just like we used to when I was a kid. I do know that she already has had a horn grow and now she started having a weight problem, which didn’t show until now. If they don’t start to deal with it, she is likely to have health problems as an adult and my worrying about her is a real thing, based on her real food preferences and food hatreds. She won’t even eat one grape or a baby carrot or any of it. It really is going to be so hard for her.

          If you are transitioning your kids off of Standard American Diet, it will take a while, but taste buds do change and your dealing with it now can give them a much healthier future. But, yes, if you can’t calm down, seek help for that. Figure out why.

          1. I want to apologize because I know that my heart is soft but my words are intellectual and you can’t see my face or hear my voice or hear my heart.

            You believe you have a condition and may need medication and I don’t want to make that process harder for you.

            I have walked for a few years and have been healing my brain after having blood sugar and homocysteine and aluminum in my brain issues. Whole Food Plant Based is what the studies show as helping with depression and anxiety and all sorts of things and I look at the studies of those meds and the problem with this video is that they have defined Whole Food Plant Based as a mental illness requiring meds.

            If you are really breaking down, please seek help.

            1. Hi Deb – thanks for your thoughtful replies :) … I do have a history of major depressive disorder, but I no longer take medication for that. I don’t seem to experience much anxiety beyond nutrition, (outside of what I expect other people also experience with life and loved ones) – so no I wouldn’t be crying if they smoked a spliff or had a sex in due course. I try and manage the anxiety through meditation, prayer and cbt because I do not want to take pills. But it requires active daily management with little to no relief. My kids don’t eat the SAD diet thankfully – they are closer to wfpb than not, but it’s still not achieving a full nutrient profile for optimum health. I’m not saying that I have an official condition, or orthorexia, all I’m observing is that other wfpb people don’t seem to stress the way I continually do about the details, spending hours reading and researching. I’m not sure what the answer is :(

      2. Oops – sorry I missed out this message when I first replied. I take 100 micrograms of B12 as Cyanocobalamin. Dr Greger suggests 250 micrograms daily but again I’m scared to take as much as that because the body can only absorb a tiny bit of it at a time. I drink fortified plant milks (with emulsifiers that scare me) so I presume that’s a bit more b12. And I’ve read research that excess B12 increases lung cancer in ex-smokers which I am. Do you see what I mean? Something as simple as taking a b12 supplement begets one hundred further questions as I try and ascertain what is the optimum regimen.

        I know I don’t know everything and yes, a wfpb nutritionist would be ideal if I had the money. But honestly I feel I could run circles around some of these people with the amount of information I have in my head. I’ve even looked into taking a dietetics course myself. I know how to incorporate the greens into my pasta sauces and hide them in smoothies for the kids. But unless you’re eating the volume required, and in the right way, your sabotaging your own efforts. Where do you draw the line between physical health and mental health. Cause there’s a sweet spot there that I am totally missing!

        1. Hi, KCanucker! I think it is possible to be too worried about doing everything perfectly. I had a client a few years ago who had a BMI of 18, and did not want to eat carrots, because she was worried that they included too much sugar. I really don’t think it is true that, if you don’t do everything just right, you are sabotaging your efforts. That sweet spot is where you are conscious of physical health, and acting on that consciousness without being obsessive about it. If you feel that you may be obsessing about it, and if it is causing you a significant amount of stress, then talking with a professional might help put your mind at ease. This doesn’t mean that being informed and careful about what you eat is a disorder. I hope that helps!

          1. Christine, you are spot on with your response. Having severe OCD and that manifesting into various eating disorders including being “perfect,” I can confidentially say that you hit the nail on the head.

            1. Actually, I would also like to add that in fact, a professional or anyone else who approached someone who was on a WFPB diet, but was also suffering with being overly obsessive about it and approaching things in an unhealthy way, by accusing or “diagnosing” them with “orthorexia” would at best, not help the person at all and at worst, make things worse. This is because the person on the healthy diet is suffering a real disorder but knows that the diet itself is backed up by science. So anyone trying to “help” this person couldn’t and wouldn’t be taken seriously or trusted by the person who needed help because they know that they don’t know what the hell they’re talking about, nutritionally.
              If anything, I could see the diagnoses of “orthorexia” preventing people with real disorders from receiving the council and help they might need.

          2. Hi Christine, thanks for taking the time to comment :) When I said if we don’t do everything right we sabotage our efforts, what I meant is how specific things like having an iron rich salad too close to that previous cup of coffee, or following it too soon with cacao would sabotage iron absorption for example. Or how eating wild rice introduces the arsenic or baking sweet potatoes creates the acrylamides both introducing the very carcinogens we are trying to avoid by eating wfpb.

            I agree that being informed and careful about what one eats is not a disorder. I make a distinction between being informed/careful and feeling compelled to spend significant time daily studying the research to the point of confusion and tears. I’m not trying to label myself. I’m just self-aware enough to know I have an anxiety problem directly related to nutrition and food consumption. There’s no point talking to my own NHS doctors who don’t respect wfpb eating and are largely uninformed about nutrition. They claim eating meat and dairy daily is healthy and routinely prescribe synthetic folic acid to pregnant women – what chance do I have of a measured response to my anxieties over the authenticity of my long-chain omega 3 algae oil supplements?

            All the same I’m grateful for your comments and can sense the kindness in your reply. But I don’t feel any further forward with knowing what to do about the obsessive compulsion I have towards nutrition and food. The doctors will just want to medicate me for anxiety :(

            1. KCanucker, I haven’t read through your previous comments (I only noticed Christine’s comment), but reading this one, I hope it’s ok if I weigh in.

              I have gone through the EXACT SAME THING. I mean, I’m sure there’s differences, but you probably get what I mean. In fact, I was also paranoid about the sun. There was not a question not wondered about by me, or rather obsessed over. And I can see why your research would bring you to tears. It’s like, you get all this slew of information AND misinformation and then you think you have something figured out but then you learn something else or another theory or another possibility and it just makes you feel helpless, like what you’ve already done (health-wise) wasn’t really good (even though it was) and that you don’t know what to do and you’re just petrified and confused. The only way I’ve dealt with it was through confronting it and in so many ways. I had to really step outside of myself and look at reality and think realistically (even though all the paranoid thoughts were still there, aggressively so), and step outside of my fear and allow myself to have my own intuition and basically FIND my own intuition again.

              A few points that I had to fight to come to the realization of have been the following:

              Other people not only eat things from China and cooked this and cooked that and oiled and salted and fried and drink alcohol, etc., but they also eat meat, eggs and dairy. Some of these people who try to eat healthier VERSIONS of a SAD and exercise, look and are doing well considering all that. So then if that is so, me being a whole foods plant based dieter, even with the so-called “imperfections,” I’m doing awesome and I’m going to keep doing awesome eating this way.

              The stress the anxiety causes is FAR worse to my overall health than not being “perfect.”

              There is no such thing as perfect and there never will be and there doesn’t have to be.

              While %DV’s are helpful, they were also made to expand to a lot of different people, so it was actually admitted that they were generous. Through our evolution, we just ate until we were full. Many of the healthiest communities in the world don’t go by %DV or worry this much like we do, and they’re known for their health and longevity.

              Science is an incredibly useful tool, but there is so much we don’t and can never understand. I’ve come to the point that if something doesn’t seem like it could or should be right to me, then as long as I’m eating a whole foods based plant based diet, then I’m going to listen to my instincts and trust in nature. For me, AGE’s in cooked nuts and other such things is one of them. And when I looked at the American Cancer Association (I believe it was), they point out that these are mostly based on animal studies and it’s not really understood. So I theorize or hypothesize that if ingestion of roasted nuts were put to the test, that they would not cause any damage to our human bodies and I choose to trust that and live this way, therefore, I will eat peanut butter or use avocado in place of oil in baking, etc. I’m not saying others have to, but this is one thing that has eased my mind. Also, when you look at Dr. Greger’s chart about it (in one of his videos), the highest plant food doesn’t even reach the lowest animal product.

              We can never be certain over everything, it comes down to a leap of faith at least for people like us. We have to be willing to not be perfect and see where doing our best gets us. For me, I used to obsess over spacing food for mineral competition and this and that and I did research and listened to people like Dr. Greger in interviews and while I realized that these very intelligent people are not telling us to worry about these things, I also realized with that and other information and my own intuition, that our bodies and nature really aren’t stupid, and as long as we’re putting in the right fuel, our bodies will know what to do. And I’d rather risk this or that and then later be an example of not needing to be obsessive about things to be in optimal health, than to live a miserable life (which WILL damage your health over the stress and negative thoughts) of playing it safe and being an example of how a WFPB diet is good, BUT that according to my example, you have to be obsessive and miserable. The science can help, but you also have to be willing to take a leap of faith because we can never be certain about everything.

              I would say that you’re not going to change this unhealthy obsession by feeling good or ok, that will come in time. You’re going to feel uneasy on any road to recovery. You might even feel like absolute crap. The thing that can keep us in obsessive rituals or paranoid behaviors can really just be the desire to feel ok, but in truth, trying for this doesn’t actually lead to feeling good and unlike going through the misery of going against it and breaking away from it, it never will.

              If anything I said doesn’t make sense, I’ll try to clarify.

              1. Another thing… STAY AWAY FROM BLOGS. Stick to trusted sources only. Dr. Greger and NF.org is my personal favorite source for nutritional science.

              2. I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to reply, Shaylen. I just wanted you to know that I so identified with your response and it really helped me to hear from someone who has felt/feels/thinks how I do. Hearing from you, now in a more balanced place, gives me hope. As you said, it’s a road to recovery and I hope I’m on it. Whether or not it’s clinical anxiety, OCD, orthorexia or being a hypochondriac is by the by. It’s in my head and I just have to learn how to maintain perspective. Thanks so much for writing.

    3. I wonder if looking at the food detail you mention from the point of view of risk analysis would help – or just add another layer of concern? Some details could prove much more important than others.

  24. This discussion about Orthorexia is such a trivial topic – our new house of representatives, dominated by Democrats is working very hard to overcome many issues like this. That way they can be sure people are aware they must abide by and believe whatever laws are promulgated in Washington. So for the common people to have this discussion is beyond their intellectual capacity. Without the Congress telling us what we should know and do, we would be pond slime flaying about and lost.
    Just give them a bit more time and a new bill will be brought up by AOC indicating a clear message that people eating healthy is causing incredible environmental damage to all areas of urban and rural residency. She will offer a solution, eliminating all healthy food to assure that no one will have the desire to accidentally or intentionally acquire the illness of Orthorexia. If that is allowed to happen, how will big business be able to control what we consume? It could possibly be the end of the sugar industry. With all the experience that AOC has with bartending, she knows the importance of sugar in mixes used with alcoholic beverages.
    Once the law is in place, we will finally have life fulfillment with a McDonalds, Jack-in-the-Box, Burger King and Taco Bell on every street corner. This will easily eliminate the need to fill grocery store shelves with food, which in turn will reduce the need for 95% of all big rig trucks that deliver the food. And that in turn will eliminate a big chunk of the need for fossil fuels. And the cost of supplying people with free fast food will come from taxes on all the rich people.
    That should go very well, but what about at schools? Fast food companies will be jumping for joy, making their proposals that go to the lowest bidder, to build and operate fast food service in school cafeterias. The fast food businesses can supplement the entire community and people can start going to the schools to get their meals. The county would distribute meal vouchers for each household, provided all the people of voting age are registered to vote. Once their voting registration for the Democratic Party is verified, then they would get their vouchers. This program would be known as the “We Will Feed All the People” program, an off-shoot of the “Orthorexia Illness Prevention Law.” Having people line up for food at a government building, like a school, could eliminate the need to have fast food joints on nearly corner. That would easily eliminate the need for raw materials to build those new fast food locations.
    Big business fast food companies would be in heaven, falling all over themselves, feeling incredible joy knowing that they will be feeding Americans breakfast, lunch and dinner at their establishments or government controlled facilities. Companies like Jack-in-the-Box, now owned by Purina Dog Food Company, will no longer need to use their cattle waste by-product in their dog food. They can start using it at the new government controlled fast food service locations.
    The “We Will Feed All the People” program would be great because it would create more meaningful jobs, like helping to cook and prepare fast food meals for people. More minimum wage cooks and servers will be needed at all the fast food locations and many more police personnel to control the meal lines. Additionally, a whole new category of professional medically trained and certified staff would be needed to manage people who have Orthorexia and are sent to the mental wards in hospitals and institutional safety housing (prisons set up for holding Orthorexia illness patients). Think of all the jobs this would create. And because most new jobs would be at minimum wage and not those high wages that people make, there would be more money to hire more people at minimum wage. More people would be able to work. This is a good way to get more immigrants coming to America.
    So, it is so easy to see that our Congressional representatives in Washington know they are doing. They know what is good for and better for us, and there is no question that we should be careful to not have even the slightest tendency toward Orthorexia – because there is the possibility of being labeled a loony or being arrested for having a belief or opinion.
    We need to get the Republicans out of the Senate and the Whitehouse so the Democratic Party can do the work necessary to set up the “We Will Feed All the People” program as quickly as possible. I want to get the free food.
    I forgot to add; with the schools getting fast food companies to manage their cafeterias, kids would be happier than any of us because now they could get hamburgers, French fries, soda and pizza for lunch every day and never have to worry about that healthy stuff. And of course, the only way to assure that is to let children at age 16 have the ability to vote. With the voting age at 16 the Democrats will assure everyone that they can get fast food free – with so many children age 16-18, voting Democrat will be a sure thing.
    You can tell that this is really an important issue, because hundreds of thousands of immigrants are rushing over our southern border to come to the USA to get the free stuff and free food.

  25. This had been applied to me by too many people. It’s crazy how people can make you feel like you have a problem just for wanting to be as healthy as you can be. Thank you so much for this! Love all you do!

  26. Well … Dr. Greger, even though you are my nutritional Jesus, I think that some people do exhibit obsessive micro-management behavior (not limited to nutrition) which can interfere with social interaction. Taken to extremes, these behaviors can be considered unhealthy or impractical neuroses. So, caring about what we eat is sane; people who do so should not be labeled. Indeed, people who blatantly eat in an unhealthy fashion, despite knowing better (most of us), perhaps, are more deserving of a label. However, not leaving our homes in order to avoid not being able to control what we eat and how it is prepared, who breathes on it, with what the tables are wiped, and whether the salt came from the sea or the Himalayas can certainly get in the way of a harmonious existence with our selves and others. It’s an example of freedom of choice, however, and should not be considered pathologic.

    1. All good points Terry, but separate from the issue of the coined term “orthorexia” which is very vague and broad in its definition. And as the video highlights, some of the ways of diagnosing it are basically just to say if you’re eating for the sake of your health, you have a mental disorder.

    1. Sydney, your comments brings to mind a “funny tshirt” that actually may have been insensitive, but it read “I beat anorexia” and the person wearing it in the photo was very obese and eating some sort of junk food, if memory serves. After reading your comment I pictured a similar situation with a very unhealthy person from diet-induced illness, wearing a shirt that reads “I beat orthorexia.”

      1. S,

        That is the thing.

        By defining the paradigm as Whole Food Plant Based rather than something else, what would the solution be?

        Take drugs so that we would be more willing to eat Round Up and junk food and animal products, which would damage our brains and bodies even more?

        I have been doing this process for over a year and let’s say that my brain problems already make me a little more OCD than I used to be and that I also am OCD about it because I am trying to reverse diseases and save the life of my family members and let’s say I am even more OCD about it because I had so much to learn and didn’t know any of it and let’s say I am a little more OCD because society Diet Wars complicated everything and because sugar, sodium, Round Up and MSG and artificial colorings and flavorings are in everything and I am allergic to so much of it.

        I could go on and on at why I got single-focused for this whole year plus.

        I had all of my friends going Keto and my family members thinking it is stupid to change one’s diet and that I am not fun if I don’t eat pizza and junk food. Rather than helping me learn how to figure this all out, professionals are going to offer me a “solution” of taking drugs so that I will be more willing to allow myself be poisoned?

        I have worked so hard to heal my brain and letting it be poisoned more would be so counter-productive, even if I had it.

        I am laughing because I could have it if it exists because I am working so hard at this process, but when I read about stroke recovery, if they don’t work as hard or harder than I am working, they don’t get plasticity.

        If someone really wanted to get me to be less focused, they would have to convince me that I would get better health results doing less and that isn’t the truth. We already have studies on that.

        So allowing someone to medicate me to make me be willing to be less healthy seems so difficult for my broken brain to process.

        1. Deb, you make a lot of great points and exactly… unneccesssary drugs would be counterintuitive to health and healing.

          But you’re mistaking OCD with real and legitimate concerns and action. Focus and diligence is not OCD; focus and diligence are good and productive things. OCD is an obsessive compulsive disorder. It’s where your brain chemistry is out of whack. You get stuck in something (the obsession) and you HAVE to do something to “fix” it (the compulsion). It doesn’t really fix it though, it makes things so much worse and every time you give into the behavior, you’re rewiring your brain chemistry with all these unreal, unhealthy patterns. OCD can actually be treated with exposure and response therapy which actually untangles all those sort of webs in your brain chemistry. So what you have to do is to not do a compulsion, but that doesn’t make the obsession go away. It’s like if you were in front of a train coming at you and your brain told you that to save yourself, you need to jump out of the way. Well with OCD, your brain gives you those very real signals except the train isn’t real and the only way to sort of cure yourself, is to let yourself get hit by the train over and over and over and eventually, your brain will stop overwhelming you with these false signals. Unfortunately the only way to really get better from OCD, is to suffer. But through that suffering, the perpetual suffering that OCD causes, will eventually end.

  27. Hi, I like telling people that Dr. Gregor is non profit and donates to charity but someone has asked me to prove it and claimed it’s a tax scam. I know that 501c3 is hard to scam for long periods and people frequently get busted, is there any way you could address this? Maybe we could see some financial data like balances in accounts related to NF.org and accounts payable aging report if one exists and lists of credit lines and letters of credit and amounts borrowed and list of all confirmed receivables, such as obligations for payments, donations, and loans and fixed costs per month, broken into “USAIR”: Utilities, Salaries, (and) Insurance, Rent. And

    1. Income Statement
    2. Balance Sheet
    3. Cash Flow Statement

    It would be nice to have some way to disprove those claims. Thank you.

      1. Sweet but I need to pay $125 to be able to view financial records? and it’s hosted on a private organisation so it can be faked or some deal cut be cut with the website owners, rather than an official governmental service. Lol I’m just playing the devils advocate.

        1. You can access their 990s for the past few years without a subscription.
          There is a gray button on the right that says “Show Forms 990” That is their official tax documentation.

          And generally if they are appearing with an EIN on GuideStar – then they are a legal nonprofit. GuideStar is a whole site dedicated to giving people access to nonprofit info.

          Good luck!

        2. VeganBrotein, it’s fully legit. However, you might want to tell your friend, if they’re that concerned, that they can read through all of the scientific literature he references, independently of this website, as it’s all freely linked under every video.

  28. A flexible approach and attaining balance in one’s life is essential for all. Example: You’re a vegan who is going to her fiance’s home for the Thanksgiving holiday to meet your future husband’s parents. Naturally you don’t eat turkey, but because those nasty turkey cooties may have infected the sweet potatoes, salad, green beans and biscuits, you decide to avoid eating all those foods and to bring your own…salad. And you sit there and that’s all you eat, because, FOR ONE LOUSY DAY, you couldn’t make an exception…and you know how much of a difference this makes in your long-term health? ABSOLUTELY NONE WHATSOEVER. Except for the health of your marriage, now that your fiance and his family know that their future daughter-in-law is a kook. And if you DO have kids, you’re likely to deprive them of everything that kids like…with the long-term result that, when they get to be teens, they decide to rebel against everything you tried to force on them…and you catch them at the fast food restaurant with their friends, and hiding cookies under the bed. A family war starts, and you wonder why your kids never want to come and see you after they’ve left home… THAT is the difference between someone who practices being healthy and someone who can’t take one day off (or one MEAL off) for a special occasion or a slice of birthday cake.

    1. Wow, you sound kind of angry with those CAPS. I think those who insist others should eat what they do not want has the disorder.

    2. What if those were cooked human babies, but they were black and less intelligent and so on so our society viewed it as ok? veganism isn’t about health and some of us don’t view animals as food just as we don’t view you as food.

      That anger issue is your problem, not the person who came up with and follows a solution that you have a problem with for whatever reason.

      And I can nearly agree with the long term health thing but that turkey wasn’t grown in fairy tale conditions like you think, bam e coli, bam antibiotic resistant bacteria, bam lysteria.

      1. “What if those were cooked human babies, but they were black and less intelligent and so on so our society viewed it as ok?”
        – – – – –

        Can’t believe you’d actually post a sentence like that. :-(

        1. YR, being in the animal rights movement, I think what they meant was entirely different than they came across and it was just a poorly formed way of putting it. I believe what they meant was to point out that speciesism makes the body lying on the table seem acceptable but if you put a human or any other life remotely valued in western society such as a cat or dog, there would be a different perception. And I think what they meant to say by the race thing, was just to point out that there have been times in society where a particular race was deemed less important. And with the less intelligent thing, often there’s been the metaphor of “what if aliens came to the earth, deemed us less intelligent, and decided to do to us what we do to the animals… if we were less intelligent than them, would that make it ok?” I THINK this is what he really meant and not how it came across.

            1. YR, condescension? I thought mercury was doing well these days?

              I wasn’t “trying” anything, I was stating my honest thoughts on how I interpreted his intention. Could be wrong could be right.

              1. I meant your attempt to explain his intentions was indeed an honorable one — one I just don’t happen to agree with.

                I think he sounded very racist with his “black and less intelligent.” Like, wha-a-a-a-t? If I were black, I think I would have been offended if I had read that statement.

                1. YR, that’s fair. I think you were offended and understandably, I’d be offended along with you if I didn’t so strongly suspect this was just a very poorly put together sentence with an entirely different intended meaning.

    3. Rick, you’re literally creating a fictitious character and fictitious situation and judging people with it. I am a vegan and I wouldn’t go to someone’s house for Thanksgiving without bringing my own food if they weren’t making vegan food because of butter, dairy, etc… Animal products aren’t just the slaughtered victim in the middle of the table, they’re the eggs and butter in the biscuits, they’re the mayonnaise in the coleslaw, they’re the ranch on the salad, the cartilage in the gelatin, etc. Also, a lot of vegans (veganism is about the animals) find it hard to stomach sitting around and eating around a dead animal, not because of “cooties,” but because they find it disheartening and disturbing to feast around the corpse of a tortured innocent non-human person.

      “For one lousy day, you couldn’t make an exception” … To their morals, ethics, and health? Yeah those are pretty powerful factors and certainly they have the RIGHT over them. Meanwhile, maybe for one lousy day of your judgmental existence, you could not worry about whoever in your life, decides to bring a salad for dinner….

      “you’re likely to deprive them of everything that kids like…with the long-term result that, when they get to be teens, they decide to rebel against everything you tried to force on them…and you catch them at the fast food restaurant with their friends, and hiding cookies under the bed.”

      So the moral of your story is to give your kids TWINKIES, HO-HO’s, MARIJUANA, OPIATES, ALCOHOL, CIGARETTES, basically anything they decide they want as you wouldn’t want to deprive them, because if you do deprive them of these things, they’re going to do it later on. Your argument is based on the logic that in order to prevent drug use, for example, we must allow our children drugs… Speaking of kooks.

      You obviously have a lot of anger in you and some personal issues and biases that you should deal with. I feel sorry for the person or persons in your life who have to deal with it instead.

      1. You’re making this personal now…which makes you look foolish. My fiance is a VERY happy person…thank you very much.
        The point I was making had to do with a person not being able to be flexible. Here’s a non-fictitious situation: do you plan to travel? Because if you do outside the U.S. (as I am told missionaries do, for example), you will likely find that in many places, you will have to eat what the natives are eating. Often that means animal products…or nothing at all. Plan on either bringing a suitcase full of rice and macaroni with you…or to lose a lot of weight. Or would you rather just stay home?

        1. Lol, Rick, I wouldn’t be so concerned about me looking like the foolish one here if I were you…

          Darling Rick, do look up “fiction.” That indeed was another made up situation. I and many vegans travel and even live on the other side of the world. Often times, it’s even easier to eat vegan in other countries.
          Quite easily doable and in fact, activists AT SEA (Sea Shepherd) eat nothing BUT plant foods the entire duration of their months long journeies. Even in history, warriors traveled with sacks of grain to sustain themselves. So as a vegan who would never murder another to sustain my own life, yes, I would sooner starve and die, but that is not necessary, so I think I’ll have my plants and eat them too, if you will.

          You have some anger issues towards people different than you, it seems. Very judgmental as well as uninformed.

  29. Wow – I can’t believe this video is so dismissive of a condition that is clearly not understood. I am a registered dietitian, board certified in oncology nutrition, and have had to walk so many of my patients back from “the edge” because they are so worried about every thing they put in their mouth they can become malnourished. What if someone is only drinking vegetable broth because they believe meat is “bad”, dairy is “bad”, carbs are “bad” – to the point that they do not even eat fruit, whole grains or beans because they have “sugar” in them…there is no protein left in the diet and they lose weight on treatment. They cannot enjoy eating because they are so worried that anything they eat will cause cancer – no sugar, no GMO, all organic, on and on. None of these by themselves are a problem, but in aggregate they can lose the perspective of a balanced diet, and the ability to simply enjoy eating.

    I’ve followed this website for a long time, and have never been more DISAPPOINTED than I am with this dismissive post. It is a real dis-service to people with a form of eating disorder, whether it has a diagnosis code or not.

    1. The problem as I see it is that the term seems to lump perfectly normal, happy and healthy people on a strict 100% whole-plant food diet in with some very tiny number of people with a real problem. Tighten up the terminology so it does not include me and I would not object to it. But as you can see from some of the comments, deviations from a very unhealthy norm are not well tolerated by some. Why not just call people you treat anorexic with food phobias, or something more accurate?

      1. Because: one of the main diagnostic criteria for anorexia is an intense fear of gaining weight or getting fat, and an extreme focus on body image. But for some people their eating disorder is characterized by an intense fear of eating anything that could be unhealthy, unclean, or impure, in any way. For them it has nothing to do with body image, so the traditional treatment approaches aren’t effective. Proposing a new diagnosis was an attempt to help develop new approaches more specific to their actual symptoms. In no way was this ever intended to criticize or demean people who choose healthy diets and are maintaining a healthy weight and body functions. Orthorexic symptoms only refer to people who have an actual eating disorder and are at risk of medical complications and/or starving themselves. I can see why parents, friends, and others become concerned when obsessive “healthy eating” starts to hurt someone, but online sites, social media, and snarky carnivores have taken the term and used it in ignorant ways. Dr. Greger did a disservice by quoting from sources that don’t fully understand the condition, didn’t explain it well, and generalized it in inappropriate ways.

        1. Thanks for the informative reply. This is the first time I have heard of orthorexia. I am familiar with anorexia, having dated someone with the disorder many years ago. It was heartbreaking, so I can well understand how terrible and insidious a clearly unhealthy fixation on ‘pure food’, or any truly health-damaging fixation, is. What I have no patience with is unhealthy SAD eaters, including relatives, telling me (a vegan who is healthy, medicine free at 72, and very physically active but who is very slim (lowest normal BMI) that I have a food fixation and need to ‘lighten up” and “enjoy life”. We’ll see who enjoys life longer.

        2. You’re right Judy. They can’t currently put people who obsessively focus on healthy eating in the “anorexia” category because that requires certain factors relating to body image. However, the eating disorder research sphere is kind of moving away from these discrete categories (anorexia, bulimia, atypical anorexia, anorexia athletica) because the evidence is just not there that these are different disorders. In the Victorian Era, young women starved themselves claiming religious piety. All these disorders, orthorexia included, share an underlying pathology. And actually, the same refeeding treatment is necessary for all of them.

        3. Agree with Judy Ness and Darienne
          This post is not at all showing the extreme conditions folks with these food fears (mostly self imposed and unfounded in facts and nature) experience. How it impacts their life, their relationships, and often totally takes over a majority of there daily thoughts and activities. It is not anorexia.

    2. Thank you for your informative response. This was the first time I was disappointed in Dr. Greger’s approach to something. He didn’t explain why this was proposed as a condition, and why people may be so concerned about a loved one who can’t/won’t eat, and is starving due to obsessive food worries. I am a therapist working with young women on a college campus, and I’ve worked with students who were actually starving themselves because they were obsessively fearful of eating a bite of ANYTHING that might be unhealthy or unclean in any way. The main focus of anorexia is on body image and weight-loss, but orthorexia is an unhealthy and dangerous focus on trying to be “pure” and avoid any “bad” food. The critical, dismissive, and uninformed comments show a lack of understanding about a very real, life-threatening condition.

    3. Orthorexia had been on the radar for some time, but is not clearly understood. What is understood is it’s about extremes…including devoting the vast majority of waking hours (estimates of upwards of 80-90%) thinking about food/nutrition/eating which interferes with the ability to function with any other area in one’s life (family, friends, work, school, etc). I have worked with adults who have quit their jobs because of the obsession. I have worked with adolescents who have left school because of the obsession. And as Darienne states above, I too have walked many clients back from “the edge” because of their intense food fears. If you have any interest in learning more, check out the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA)-https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/learn/by-eating-disorder/other/orthorexia

  30. I have orthorexia – and proud of it! I never eat unhealthy food, even to be polite and I have been known to throw candy in the trash.

    1. Me too! It’s my body and my life, and victim free, so anti-orthorexians should mind their own business, relatives included.

      1. If you’re not going to shove a snickers bar in your mouth to appease friends and relatives, you need to be medicated… or at least that’s what they’re saying now?

  31. Regarding the condemnation of the video: Everything in moderation. Everything with thoughtful consideration. We live in a society with a different opinion of everything, beyond the definition of what our own beliefs are. Do no harm, observe what the ten commandments portray (but do not cover all things). Understand that the strongest force in the universe is Love. Try to have a bit more of it to reduce your own stress level.
    Even in my own distraction of disapproval of how some people think and act, I recognize their right to life, provided by the Universe.
    The realm of what exists is so diverse that there is great difficulty in discerning what is right all the time. Regardless of what we do in this physical life, our immortal spiritual soul lives on. So whatever occurs until we no longer inhabit our physical body, is a product of our own choices and the choices we allow to be made around us.
    Just like in common law, unless there is an injury, there is no claim. So accept that no matter what you do, there will probably always be opposing consideration. Use what you experience to craft a better physical life for yourself and the ones you love.
    Love those around you from a distance, even if you do not know who they are.
    And accept the love of the universe that has given you the opportunity to experience all of the different aspects of physical life.

  32. This is the first time I’ve been disappointed with Dr. Greger’s approach to something in his videos. I’m a therapist, working with young women on a college campus, and the concern is when we see a young woman who is actually starving herself, weighing only 78 lbs, unable to get to classes, and function at all. We would assess for anorexia, but anorexia is characterized by an obsession with weight loss and body image. Instead, they have developed an obsessive fear of eating anything “unhealthy,” and it’s not about body image. They become so terrified by possibly eating anything that’s not perfectly healthy, that they may restrict calories to the point of starvation. Their heart rates become irregular and their menstrual cycles stop. The diagnosis is anorexia, but it can be very useful to talk about orthorexia, which is an unhealthy fixation on food, fat, and health. This was why the designation was proposed, and people often do not understand how it can be a focus of treatment. I wish Dr. Greger had explored more about why this can be a concern for people who care about someone who isn’t eating enough to sustain healthy functioning.

  33. Having been someone who has been accused of being Orthorexic by my loved ones, I did enjoy the humor of this video, understanding that Dr. Greger is poking fun at the psychiatric/ pharm industry which tries to make anything slightly beyond the great (self-and -Earth destructive, superficial, dysfunctional, anaesthetizing) American lifestyle a disorder. Grief has become a disorder, to supposedly be sedated by drugs, but last time I checked, it is a part of everyone’s life that has historically been soothed by spiritual beliefs and community support. I have always responded that eating an organic WFPB diet is following how our grandparents ate, and if people did give more care about what they put in their mouths, my eating habits would not be classified as all that unusual. One of the side effects of “orthorexia” is abstaining from eating at conventional restaurants, thereby affecting your social life and restricting “normal” activities. First of all, after having called NUMEROUS restaurants, even “healthy”ones, I have discovered that they serve multiple GMO products, most use canola oil and numerous other chemicals in their foods….disguised MSG, unhealthy thickeners, tons of oil, salt and sugar to make things taste good and make customers keep coming back. Who is addicted here?! Eating out is a relatively new phenomenon in human history. Sharing home cooked meals with family and friends has been the norm for thousands of years. And yes, I do suspect that the backlash to healthier eating may indeed be (quietly) fueled by big pharm and big ag and the processed foods industry.

    The folks who have criticized me for this way of eating are ill, and/or have died of cancer and other illnesses, partly due to poor eating habits or a return to “pleasure and comfort” eating and over toxicity partly caused SAD. How heart breaking it was to watch my loved ones die as they were still choosing to eat conventional biscuits and gravy, meat and potatoes and everything fried. I am not perfect by any means, but I am seeing my health as an enormous blessing and wanting to do as much as I can to cultivate that.

  34. Low Serotonin levels can cause many types of obsessive behaviors, such as bulimia, OCD, and hyper-focus on many things that can become “obsessive” including over-exercise, over-analyzing things, or obsession with nutrition. These obsessions can be lessened with a good quality Vitamin B complex (avoid artificial B9: Folic acid and get 5MTHF biologically active form of B-9), reducing flour/sugar intake (which lowers serotonin production) and supplementing with 5-HTP and/or the amino acid Tryptophan (Serotonin precursors). Also get your Zinc, Iron, Magnesium and other mineral levels checked as these co-factors are also needed for serotonin production. Raise your serotonin levels and you will lower you obsessive thinking and behavior. Check out articles and books on orthomolecular medicine and nutrient therapy like: Mood Cure, Craving Cure by Julia Ross

  35. I could tell you had fun with this. So did I.
    But I began to worry that your use of sarcasm/irony is too sophisticated for the average SAD aficionado.

    1. I respectfully disagree.
      For someone who always have problems “understanding & enjoying” mainstream US (social media) humor.
      I think this video clip is one of the best of Dr, Greger.

      The Argentinean doc

  36. Brilliant video, thank you for making this.

    It is SHAMELESS… this is like the tobacco industry trying to turn the tables on, well, all of reality. It really just goes to show how corrupt and powerful these industries are and how corrupt our world really is… Once the public starts educating themselves and taking care of themselves, better nip that in the bud! Let’s just say they’re all crazy… Stupid public, stop trying to think and learn for yourselves!

    Can you imagine? “I’m going to prescribe you *insert name of drug, along with a little Debbie and a Big Mac, take twice a day.”

    In all seriousness, anyone can have an eating disorder or obsessive behavior manifest in any way. In regards to actual eating disorders, it’s not a matter of what you’re eating but rather your mental state and markers of an eating disorder would show up as actually physically harming a person.

    THIS is just absurd and to my mind, it’s nothing more than propaganda to sustain a long going agenda.

    1. S,

      I think you are right. There might be differences between one eating disorder and another, but, in general, it is bigger than food. It can be things like shame over body image or distorted body image, needing to control things or fear of health problems.

      I will bring up the concept that we live in a society which argues with misinformation on every single health topic and that most of the doctors intentionally are causing fear and drama as part of their teaching presentation style.

      People get afraid of soy and bananas, etc.

      Dramatic, fear-based manipulative teachings start off with the doctors and chiropractors and end up echoed by celebrities and the press and that gets combined with relatives getting cancer and diabetes and heart disease and suddenly, people begin operating out of fear.

      Are the people here doing WFPB out of fear of disease or are they excited about the healthy way of living?

      I say that because I had soooooo many disease symptoms when I came and I didn’t understand ANY of the concepts. Not even from a SAD end. I couldn’t have told you the old food pyramid and I didn’t understand the macros or science and just didn’t like science or nutrition. My 8-year-old pal had to make a menu for school before she dropped out and she said that they had to pair up and switch menus with someone else to learn the other person’s culture and that little boy had vegetables and fruits on his menu and she had chocolate chip cookies and cake. She said that it was pretty to look at, but none of it was food that she would eat. That is how I felt about nutrition. They were talking about foods I would never eat, and I just wasn’t interested and didn’t commit it to memory even back then.

      1. Deb, good point about the use of fear. I actually don’t think doctors and chiropractors are the main culprits, I see internet bloggers as the absolute WORST offenders, but the “professionals” doing so aren’t far behind. And everyone puts out so many of these blogs, even skin care companies will have them on their websites… It’s crazy. Absolutely, the amount of misinformation, confusion over the contradicting misinformation, and terrifying claims within this misinformation creates panic and SO effectively triggers those with anxiety. It’s just a whole storm of reasons and culprits.

        But the reasons for whole food plant based diets and those who go to them, is evidence-based and simple common sense as well. It’s not a blog or a claim or a fad, the evidence is there SHOWING us the reality of our physiology and a plant based diet. But someone with any kind of mental illness or anxiety disorder can turn that or anything into an obsessive behavior. It doesn’t make healthy eating a disorder. I’ve actually found that a WFPB diet has significantly helped me with my OCD and I don’t think I could have done it without my healthy diet because of the impact it has on brain function. To battle OCD, it takes an incredible amount of mindfulness and I don’t think that would have been possible without my brain optimally functioning which a WFPB diet has allowed it to do.

  37. I am so surprised at how short sighted and uninformed you are about Orthorexia. It did not begin in a magazine called Yoga Journal. You have taken a few sentences from a few articles and studies and commented without discussing the whole story. Look up Steven Bratman, MD, MPH to begin to truly understand the term Orthorexia. Of course what we choose to eat is essential to health and well-being, BUT how and why we make these decisions is also important to understand. Although Orthorexia is not a clinical diagnosis, many in the field of Eating Disorders recognize the harm in this attitiude to food and eating.
    Please stick with what you know and do well.

    1. Dr. Greger already did go back in one of his videos and mentioned orthorexia and how it is pathetically diagnosed and who created it. Can anyone remember what video that was in?
      Also, he has more to come on this topic, so you may want to wait on that before jumping the gun.

      I believe Dr. Greger is sticking to what he knows and does well, such as researching and reporting actual evidence.

  38. Orthorexia had been on the radar for some time, but is not clearly understood. What is understood is it’s about extremes…including devoting the vast majority of waking hours (estimates of upwards of 80-90%) thinking about food/nutrition/eating which interferes with the ability to function with any other area in one’s life (family, friends, work, school, etc). I have worked with adults who have quit their jobs because of the obsession. I have worked with adolescents who have left school because of the obsession. And as Darienne states above, I too have walked many clients back from “the edge” because of their intense food fears. If you have any interest in learning more, check out the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA)-https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/learn/by-eating-disorder/other/orthorexia

  39. I have a daughter who struggles with eating disorders and mental health issues and also struggles with eating only healthy food to the detriment of no money and inability to sit in a family function. so unless you are a psychiatrist, psychologist, nutritionist or a person who deals in this field please have an open mind. This video makes me very sad.

    1. Sherrio, what would a nutritionist have to offer? So often they’re dangerously misinformed and misinform. Dr. Greger is arguable the most well-researched M.D and person on nutritional science. I think he has a lot to offer here… And a psychiatrist or psychologist couldn’t really diagnose it because it isn’t even a real term.

      Your daughter obviously has a disorder and it is surrounding eating and her obsession is the idea of “health,” that does not make healthy eating a disorder. I would be much more concerned about the paranoid internet blogs and evidence-less based advice from so-called doctors online, than I would be about this video. I’m not trying to sound harsh, I have a lot of sympathy, I’ve gone through similar things and might even know how to offer advice to your daughter on how to change her outlook on what being healthy really is. For me, my issues have stemmed from my severe OCD.

      1. Nutritional science and preventative medicine has very little to do with psychology. Dr. Greger really shouldn’t talk about eating disorders unless he is going to become an expert on ALL the research on them. If he recognized that some people actually can have a disordered obsession with food purity that makes their health WORSE, he wouldn’t talk about it like it’s a giant joke, even if it gets overused.

        1. “Nutritional science and preventative medicine has very little to do with psychology.”

          This is simply not true. Nutrition impacts our brain function, profoundly so and in fact our good bacteria could actually play a role in our brain function as well, this is an unjustifiably unexplored theory of autism. Check out this video to see in detail, the incredible impact plant foods can have on our brain chemistry: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/fighting-the-blues-with-greens-mao-inhibitors-in-plants/

          Moreover, Dr. Greger is in NO WAY trying to address psychological disorders, he is simply addressing the fact that “they” are now trying to make a claim that eating for health, is a disorder in itself which calls for treatment and medication. It’s madness, he’s simply calling that out. Orthorexia isn’t a real diagnosis and its assessment and definition are insanely vague. That is independent of the fact that there are many forms of eating disorders including ones that might revolve around an idea of perfect health and approaching that in a harmful or unhealthy way.

          In short, Dr. Greger ISN’T talking about eating disorders.

          1. I would also add that psychologists have no required understanding of nutritional science, so a psychologist could easily mislead someone into eating foods that harmed them or maybe even be susceptible to misdiagnosing someone of an eating disorder based on their uneducated beliefs about proper nutrition.

  40. Orthorexia is not about healthy eating. When I wrestled with it it’s about finding the healthiest food to the point of becoming anorexic. Because no food is good enough who knows what might be lurking in the corners of your broccoli. My food choices were getting more and more limited because of my fears which go along with this. It’s because it’s obsessive compulsive and you wind up pole vaulting over ant hills. In your mind you’re being healthiest bye not eating at all. A wonderful book turned me around and I can’t believe it wasn’t mentioned . But … I don’t even remember the title of it anymore. That was 40 years ago was 40 years ago. Today I’m Whole Food plant-based thank you dr. McDougall and I love it Really glad I’m where I’m at really really glad.

  41. Orthorexia, in my opinion, is not a diagnosis of a mentally heathy individual deciding not to eat unhealthy foods. Rather it refers to individuals who experience extreme anxiety around food choices and eating. The obsessive nature of the thoughts, emotions and behaviors around food have mental health implications and are associated with anxiety and depression. These conditions also have physical ramifications associated with stress such as high blood pressure and cortisol levels. Make healthy food choices, but maintain a relaxed and joyous attitude in the process. That way we protect both our physical and mental health.

    1. Good points, Laurie. But that isn’t how they’re defining orthorexia or it doesn’t appear to be. In another video he actually points out the means of diagnosing “orthorexia” and they’re surprisingly ridiculous. I can’t for the life of me find the video, so if anyone remembers what one it’s in, please share!

  42. You are missing the point. There are people who obsess over their diet. Disappointing to see a physician not ‘get’ this concept. Try looking up raw foodies, frutarians, vegans who shame…obsessive health-food fanatics are out there.
    Will be unsubscribing to your site.

    1. Angie, you probably should unsubscribe because if you’re that unreasonably sensitive, you’re bound to anyway at some point. It’s you who is missing the point, he is not talking about LEGIT eating disorders, he is talking about an undefined term “orthorexia.” That does not mean that people cannot have eating disorders that revolve around “purity” or “perfection” and so on. I was one of them, for me, it was because of my OCD.

      I also need to call you out on your statement: “vegans who shame”

      Veganism is not a diet, so I don’t even know why you would bring that up. If you’re referring to animal rights activists who point out the cruelty, lack of justice, lack of compassion, and the hypocrisy of eating other animals, and you call that “shaming,” then again, that has nothing to do with an eating disorder or diet and it isn’t “shaming” to speak up for injustice and the victims just because some people do not like to hear it.

  43. Shame on you Dr. Gregor. You are not a mental health professional nor an expert in eating disorders, you should not present yourself as one, and having no expertise in that realm you undermine your own credibility with this video. Not only that but you are falling into a shameful, timeworn pattern of mocking and doubting people with mental illness. And finally, you are adding fuel to the fire of anti-science conspiracy theorists, as can be seen from several comments above.

    There may or may not be a disorder that can be described as orthorexia, but the proper scientific method would be to question and explore, not snarkily mock. I can easy see how some people could have an unhealthy obsession with eating healthy food (or an unhealthy obsession with many otherwise healthy things). A member of my family as a teen because thus obsessed…his doctor said it was a form of anorexia, but it included not touching anything he felt was not “healthy”. Yes, it’s healthy to avoid meat and sugar, but to have a non-proportional response to eating them, as if they were poison, would be disordered thinking and could lead to distress and disability.

    A quick pubmed search shows many articles discussing the subject dating back 15 years, including many reputable peer-reviewed journals. In fact, medical journals describe orthorexia nervosa and differentiate it from “healthy orthorexia” (such as you and I have) as “a condition that is characterized by a pathological obsession with eating foods one considers healthy and has recently been suggested as a new possible diagnosis. However, there is limited published research on health professionals’ recognition, ideas and opinions regarding the diagnosis and classification of ON.” This is not the language of “big junk food conspiracy”, but the language of scientific exploration.

      1. After reading some helpful posts (thanks Deb), I went back and watched the video closely, and laughed. Leaving aside all my thoughts on what a definition of orthorexia could be, I could see what that yes, a healthy, wfpb diet was being criticized. So, if we water fast for maybe a few days or more every month rather than eat ‘bad food’, that’s reasonable, right?

      2. Rather than simply dismissing BrettNJ as “offended”, you – and Dr. G. would do well to read his well-reasoned critique and take heed. If he is correct, the research for this video was woefully inadequate. “Lighthearted” comments on some of the more absurd literature on the subject is fine, IF it is made clear that is what is intended.

        The title “Is Orthorexia a real Eating Disorder” suggests a serious examination of the subject and an evenhanded treatment. I have come to expect both of these from Dr. G, and in this case he most definitely fell short.

        I would suggest that a more appropriate title for a comedic video might be “Does Following WFPB make you Orthorexic?” That is pretty much what he was addressing, not the reality (or lack of it) of orthorexia – and with the misleading title that does indeed undermine his credibility.

        1. M Lauriston,

          THANK YOU for your comment “that a more appropriate title for a comedic video might be “Does Following WFPB make you Orthorexic?”” because I think it is spot on.

          First, as a WFPB eater, I’ve been accused of being orthorexic. As have other commenters, apparently. The accusation is, obviously, an attack to defend the accuser’s own eating habits.

          But second, there does seem to be a real eating disorder which could be called orthorexia, as evidenced by other thoughtful informative comments.
          Actually, I think that there is a LOT of disordered eating in this country; the types of disordered eating can be subdivided into categories. Some people eat too much, eat the wrong kinds of food, eat too little, eat only certain foods, and more. But it seems to me, as a layperson, that disordered thought precedes the disordered eating, which is a symptom of the disordered thought. I have seen OCD mentioned; there may be other underlying reasons. (e.g., I have read the some people eat in response to stress, or anxiety, or unhappiness. And there is even a video on this site, which debunks the theory that veganism causes anorexia; instead, it attracts anorexics, who use veganism as a screen to hide how little they are actually eating. The anorexia precedes the veganism.) And these underlying conditions need treatment.

          But WFPB eating is not one of them, and it is not orthorexia.

          So thank you again for your suggestion. I hope Dr. Greger takes it.

          1. Great comment, Dr J.

            I disagree about this being an inappropriate title, but let’s hope that Dr. Greger explores the difference in real disorders vs. the blanket statement of “orthorexia” just so the people reacting to this in an offended way realize that he’s not talking about legit disorders.

            “Is Orthorexia a Real Eating Disorder?” …. That is to say is the term as it’s been created and defined “orthorexia” real, not “are eating disorders real.” I personally think that is very clear in the title and throughout the video.

        2. M Lauriston, I wholeheartedly disagree. He is calling out the fact that eating for health, is now being categorized as “orthorexia” which is not even a legitimate term. That is very laughable and it is madness and I think this video was perfectly appropriate, important, and very needed (maybe redundant following important, but nonetheless). Especially considering people who are saving their lives by eating the way we were meant to in the first place, are now being accused of mental disorders and imagine the kids and teens wanting to go vegetarian or vegan or just plant based because they learn… parents now will be scared in thinking their kids need psychological help which could result in serious harm due to medication and also brain washing or just simply being alienated and told there’s something wrong with them for thinking for themselves.

          And this is the first of a series, so stay tuned.

    1. You’re right Brett. Even if orthorexia is an inaccurate term and the criteria are dumb – some people have serious eating disorders (which have the highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses) that cause them to obsess about food purity and healthfulness, sometimes resulting in them barely eating because they are so afraid of food. They may have come across the term and realize it describes their situation. Honestly, they are exactly the type of people to spend a lot of time reading things like this site. And to have such a mocking tone, and brush off the possibility that it’s possible to be too concerned with health, is shameful and dangerous.

      A litmus test for everyone reading and saying “You can’t be too healthy” – if your best friend, or your parent or child, baked you specially a homemade, unhealthy dessert on a landmark occasion in your life, would you have any fear at the thought of putting it in your mouth? Would the idea of having to eat this treat make you anxious? Because that’s not rational. A single serving of any unhealthy food is not going to do any damage to you. That’s the scientific evidence- Dr. Greger says it all the time. There’s making healthy decisions and then there’s being controlled by having to make healthy decisions 100% of the time.

  44. When I watched the video I didn’t see any mention that it was Part One of Three on this subject. I saw that in other comments.

    I wonder if it would be wise in such cases to defer the comments on the video until *after* all parts had been presented? In reading the Part One comments I saw a lot of concerns raised which hopefully will be answered in Part Two or Part Three.

    Another alternative might be comment monitoring by a volunteer who has seen the whole series and could interject “This will be addressed in Part (Two/Three)”

  45. Reading through some of these comments, it’s scary to me how ridiculous people can be.

    Dr. Greger is NOT COMMENTING ON EATING DISORDERS, he is addressing the undefined term “orthorexic.” I mean if you have something to add to the discussion can you do so without ridiculous shaming and taking offense and being sad and angry and so on… It’s childish.

  46. In some cases, diseases are manufactured/ fabricated to fit the treatment. I’m going from memory here, so apologies for any misstatement.
    While developing, testing and look for a treatment for MPB, male pattern baldness, research found that the experimental drugs would reduce a patient’s “jimmy legs,” or restless legs at night. So, they invented the disease, “Restless Leg Syndrome,” or RLS, for which they had a proven treatment. Then came the commercials, and on to selling the drug. Pretty funny how that one worked out for big pharma.

  47. Surely this must be an April Fools joke. Hilarious! We humans love labels, so maybe I’ll adopt this one though it seems incomplete-maybr I’ll wait for a term that includes the unhealthy“ proclivity to exercise regularly as well.

  48. I have been a huge fan of Dr. Greger’s videos and his HNTD book, and I follow a WFPB diet, but I found the sarcastic nature of this video to be in poor taste. While it may seem silly to think of healthy eating as a problem and fun to joke about the notion, I think you may be missing the point of this disorder. The healthy eating is certainly not the problem. The obsession is the problem.

    Believe it or not, I was actually diagnosed with orthorexia a few months ago by my psychologist. In my quest to be as healthy as possible, I became obsessed with food and nutrients. It got to the point where I was checking the ‘Nutrients’ section of my myfitnesspal app multiple times an hour to make sure that I was hitting all of the nutrient goals each day. If there were days when I did not hit the nutrient goals, I would begin to feel physically ill. I became obsessed with vitamins, but I got nervous that perhaps not all vitamin supplements actually contain what they claim on the label. Therefore, I purchased a few different types of multivitamins (that I had thoroughly researched) and alternated taking them so that I would be covered ‘just in case’ some of them did not actually contain the vitamins they claimed to. I became terrified that I would get a B12 or iodine deficiency despite supplementing. This disorder is not just an obsession about eating healthy. It is also a FEAR of being unhealthy. It is the feeling of eating something that you deem to be unhealthy and being terrified that you had just doomed your body’s health. It is fighting a battle in your mind between eating something that is available to you but that you deem to be unhealthy or not eating at all. It is a fear that you might pass out because you think you could possibly be deficient in some sort of vital vitamin or mineral. It consumes your every thought and interferes with your quality of life.

    A quick note: I am not writing this because “there always has to be someone who is offended by everything.” I am not offended. I am just trying to offer some alternate considerations and viewpoints. Please consider having some compassion towards those who may be struggling with something unseen to you.

    1. MM, Dr Greger mentions that there are two more videos to come in the series. Your remarks hit home with me. I hope you are doing well now, and that the next videos will offer some encouragement.

  49. The point should be, rather than make fun of the diagnosis, that disordered eating can be a very serious physical and mental health issue, regardless of whether one is eating too much or too little, healthfully or unhealthfully. I’ve lost a serious amount of respect for you with the tone of this post, Dr. Gregor. Your dismissiveness was hurtful toward many who struggle with the very real health issue that is disordered eating. Even people obsessed with eating healthfully can have eating disorders that ultimately undermine healthful living.

  50. I might admit to being a bit fixated on healthy eating after a family member died years ago. Maybe I used this behavior as a crutch to counteract what I was going through; maybe some type of survival behavior in a world gone terribly wrong, nutritionally, socially, politically, environmentally—just about any marker you can think of.
    But I rolled with the punches and landed on my feet. Was I mentally stressed to be so concerned about what public health has come to. Maybe justifiably so, since it is my impression now that things are still getting worse, and we’ve just seen the tip of the ice berg. A silver lining may be that we can be our own health care consumers with the mountains of open source information available. Should we be concerned? Do you like living?

    1. OMG. Bravo!!…Bravo!!

      2. An immigrant in his 60s still struggling to “land” that when it comes to “health” everything in a “highly militarized society” now also by “social media”. THANK YOU, THANK YOU Dr. Greger. …you keep making possible change in the US believable. Although you are becoming dangerous ….a “health promoter terrorist”.

      3. I hear a few times the video, and I “laugh at loud”…it is excellent but hilarious. The best sense of humor….it’s so “funny” that is crazy. Exploring the contradictions of main social paradigms, in a “system in decadence” scared to recognize its limitations and criminal contradictions.

      4. For a lot of people, it will be unreasonable not to stop the “self inflicting suicidal behavior” that Americans have with their diets, and how it keeps spreading all over the world.

      I admire you and applaud you again.
      Best.

    1. TC: I like your take on…Orthorexia

      If you really want to hear more (from Michael Greger) what was he thinking when he script the 3 clips on Orthorexia on June 28th 2018. He explains in the first question he received why and how he research “Orthorexia”. Is really enlightening and educational.
      A. Go to Home page of NutritionFacts.org
      B. Open Menu: Video Library.
      C. At the bottom of Video Library. Go to LiveQ&A. Each month had to 2. FB and YouTube.
      D. Go to June 28th on YouTube Q&A. After a minute at 1:10 exactly he respond to the question what is your take on orthorexia? He went to learn the issue, open-minded, but after reading almost everything about it. Realized *****
      E. Check it out. It IS WORTHY! and illuminating particularly for young Americans married to this new version of “social media liberalism” where is more important to try to “pseudo- empathy-size” with your interlocutor than demanding evidence based reasoning.
      I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
      Best
      Doctorcito de Argentina

  51. I hope the third time is a charm. I have tried to post three times here and it keeps erasing it sending me back to Google search. For me orthorexia had nothing to do with healthy eating. It was an obsessive compulsive form of anorexia. Because after a while you start seeing unhealthy stuff everywhere to the point where your food choices become very limited and eventually leads to anorexia. You start wondering what’s hiding in the crevices of your cauliflower and so you’re stop eating it and basically in the end you stop eating everything and you have a superior attitude because you’re not eating and everyone else is and they just don’t know what they’re eating like you do. The danger of it of course is the anorexia part. The book that helped me was written in 2001 it is called Health Food Junkies and it was written by dr. Steven Bratman. Obsessive compulsive Behavior with food can take many roads and many paths. Sadly for me it took me 14 years to find Whole Food plant-based eating thank you dr. McDougall. But I’m so glad I did. I’m having a blast with it. But really orthorexia doesn’t have anything to do with healthy eating , healthy the way we do with Whole Food plant-based eating. At least not when I wrestled with it . maybe it has morphed into something in these days that it wasn’t back in 2001. I have no idea. Anyway have a blessed day everybody

      1. I suggest you listen to the video clip again…This exchange has become literally “ezchigzofrenic”. Sorry, to all dietitians that your profession have become so misinformed, so that it doesn’t feel a dangerous challenge to main (but wrong) popular mythical US cultural paradigms.

        Immigrant (still) trying to land ….

      2. Barb:

        If you really want to hear more (from Michael Greger) what was he thinking when he script the 3 clips on Orthorexia on June 28th 2018. Please, check LiveQ&A June 28th 2018.
        He explains in the first question he received why and how he research “Orthorexia”. Is really enlightening and educational.
        A. Go to Home page of NutritionFacts.org
        B. Open Menu: Video Library.
        C. At the bottom of Video Library. Go to LiveQ&A. Each month had to 2. FB and YouTube.
        D. Go to June 28th on YouTube Q&A. After a minute at 1:10 exactly he respond to the question what is your take on orthorexia? He went to learn the issue, open-minded, but after reading almost everything about it. Realized *****
        E. Check it out. It IS WORTHY! and illuminating particularly for young Americans married to this new version of “social media liberalism” where is more important to try to “pseudo- empathy-size” with your interlocutor than demanding evidence based reasoning.
        I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
        Best
        Doctorcito de Argentina

        1. ArgentineanDoc, thank you so much for your comment and directions for listening to the Q&A. I will listen to it shortly!
          We are sooo fortunate to have Dr Greger helping us to cut through all the mess, and in such an entertaining way!

          1. Agree!. He’s a nut(r) nerdy genius adorable entertainer. My English communication skills have improved so much since start listening/watching his clips. More applauds to Nutrition Facts and audience.

    1. Red, thanks for sharing and great comment. I think the problem is that “orthorexia” isn’t really defined by markers of the real kinds of eating disorders you were describing, but rather a very poorly thrown together concept where the simple act of eating for the purpose of health, would fall under its diagnosis.

  52. Unfortunately, it seems some are missing the point that orthorexia is when a good diet slides down the slippery slope into an obsession. No one is saying it is unhealthy to focus on healthful eating. The issue is the obsession part of it – where food thoughts take on a disproportionate amount of brain space/ thinking/ time at the expense of other parts of one’s life. It’s not unlike someone obsessed with cleaning – being clean is great; obsessing about it, not so much. Folks with orthorexia may have OCD-like thinking, which is a mental health diagnosis. Let’s focus on the real issue here and not minimize it – or the result could be that some people will not get/ be ashamed to get the help they need to deal with why they have obsessive thinking.

    1. I am clearly “orthorexic”! I am already feeling anxious and hyperventilating for for the thought of “waiting” for the two other clips/parts of the series.
      Mhm another neurotic “obsessive compulsive” (ha, ha…with health/good healthy info”) LOL Argentinean.

      1. I am clearly “orthorexic”! I am already feeling anxious and hyperventilating just for for the thought of “waiting” for the two other clips/parts of the series.
        mhm another neurotic “obsessive compulsive” (ha, ha…with health/good healthy info”) LOL Argentinean.

        Respectfully yours. …another neurotic Argentinean.
        PS: Trivia. Only people from Bs.As. -“porteños”- compete w NYC “inhabitants” to see who’s the most “obsessive compulsive” urban pedestrians “neurotics” of the West. …(I always enjoy Dr. Greger’s clips….but this by far one of his bests…)

  53. 1. OMG. Bravo!!…Bravo!!

    2. An immigrant in his 60s still struggling to “land” that when it comes to “health” everything in a “highly militarized society now also by “social media”. THANK YOU, THANK YOU Dr. Greger. …you keep making possible change in the US believable. Although you are becoming dangerous ….a “health promoter terrorist”.

    3. I hear a few times the video, and I “laugh at loud”…it is excellent but hilarious. The best sense of humor….it’s so “funny” that is crazy. Exploring the contradictions of main social paradigms, in a “system in decadence” scared to recognize its limitations and criminal contradictions.

    4. For a lot of people, it will be unreasonable not to stop the “self inflicting suicidal behavior” that Americans have with their diets, and how it keeps spreading all over the world.

    I admire you and applaud you again.
    Best.
    M.D. from Argentina living & working in CA.

  54. I am clearly “orthorexic”! I am already feeling anxious and hyperventilating for for the thought of “waiting” for the two other clips/parts of the series.
    mhm another neurotic “obsessive compulsive” (ha, ha…with health/good healthy info”) LOL Argentinean.

  55. While ‘orthorexia nervosa’ is a healthy condition to have, the danger to society is the vast majority suffering from the debilitating conditions of chronic ignoropathic and stupiopathic conditions, the leading causes of disease and death world wide. The root causes of these conditions is said to be a combination of long term habit and social /peer group pressure, as well as lack of the ability to learn anything new due to mental ossification. In other words, too ignorant and stupid to know what’s good for them.

    1. Agree with you Greg Esteep. totally….

      1. …but wait. Of course, be careful the words you use….LOL (social media communication) Most of my students millennials, get extremely offended, not but what you told them…or insinuate…but by the *(irrelevant) adjetives you use to describe what you’re telling them. Anyway…

      2. On a more serious note. If you really want to hear more (from Michael Greger) what was he thinking when he script the 3 clips on Orthorexia on September 27th 2018. He explains in the first question he received why and how he research “Orthorexia”. Is really enlightening and educational.
      A. Go to Home page of NutritionFacts.org
      B. Open Menu: Video Library.
      C. At the bottom of Video Library. Go to LiveQ&A. Each month had to 2. FB and YouTube.
      D. Go to Sept 27th on YouTube Q&A. After a minute at 1:10 exactly he respond to the question what is your take on orthorexia? He went to learn the issue, open-minded, but after reading almost everything about it. Realized *****
      E. Check it out. It IS WORTHY! and illuminating particularly for young Americans married to this new version of “social media liberalism” where is more important to try to “pseudo-empathysize” with your interlocutor than demanding evidence based reasoning.
      F. Here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_CnduccKn_A

      Best.
      A southAmerican immigrant entangled & trapped in the American Nightmare.

      1. Sorry…sorry …wrong date Live YouTube video.
        Orthorexia question at 1:10 on June 28 2018 (YouTube video) check clip preferably with subtitles)
        I was so excited r’listening to the video I jump a few months.

      2. I didn’t mean for my comment to be taken too seriously. I just meant that it would seem more meaningful to invent a label for those who put their health at hazard with their diet, despite all evidence, than a label for those trying to protect their health.

  56. Hi – more of a general qs: I’ve transitioned in the last 2 years to a predominantly WFPB diet – on average, 95% compliant when home (UK). However, I travel a lot for work (mainly East and West Africa; 4-12wk trips) and there are periods when I have to make compromises (e.g. limited hotel options/ long flights). As a 40year old woman with a history of depression, tendency to become anemic, slim build and no other medical issues – it would be great to get a progressive ‘lesser evil’ or ‘least worst’ list of compromises to consider (- for me selfishly – but generally too!). Based on videos re: arachidonic acid in chicken/eggs and association with depression – I avoid these as much as I can… Currently, I tend to go for vegetarian options that aren’t WF (white pasta/rice), or a veggie option that features cheese- and if veggie options are absent/exhausted, then it’s typically shellfish/fish – mainly because I’ve absorbed lots of advice in the past that fish is healthier/less risky than red meat. Given most people will struggle to be 100% WFPB at some point, what ‘compromise list/guidelines’ would you advise please?

    1. Sineet:
      I have a similar situation because I have to travel a lot. So….

      I will suggest to follow Dr. Greger own suggestions when he cannot be strictly WF.
      Listen to 2 video clips about the Daily Dozen.

      Regarding Orthorexia

      If you really want to hear more (from Michael Greger) what was he thinking when he script the 3 clips on Orthorexia on June 28th 2018. He explains in the first question he received why and how he research “Orthorexia”. Is really enlightening and educational.
      A. Go to Home page of NutritionFacts.org
      B. Open Menu: Video Library.
      C. At the bottom of Video Library. Go to LiveQ&A. Each month had to 2. FB and YouTube.
      D. Go to June 28th on YouTube Q&A. After a minute at 1:10 exactly he respond to the question what is your take on orthorexia? He went to learn the issue, open-minded, but after reading almost everything about it. Realized *****
      E. Check it out. It IS WORTHY! and illuminating particularly for young Americans married to this new version of “social media liberalism” where is more important to try to “pseudo- empathy-size” with your interlocutor than demanding evidence based reasoning.
      I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
      Best
      Doctorcito de Argentina

    2. “…because I’ve absorbed lots of advice in the past that fish is healthier/less risky than red meat.
      – – – –

      That’d be my advice, for what it’s worth. :-) Go with the fish. Or, yes, dairy. Y’do what y’gotta do.

  57. I think a lot of the problem in regards to some of the confusion here is that people are saying they have experienced or are experiencing or know someone who has experienced an eating disorder around what I guess I would call nutritional perfection or something along those lines. And people are saying “oh, I know someone who has suffered from this!” “this” being “orthorexia.” But what they’re really doing is taking a made up term with no serious definition but rather a very vague and broad generalization, and because it can fit (as vague and broad generalizations go), they’re giving credence to the particular diagnosis of “orthorexia.” So yes, someone with a legit eating disorder could EASILY fall under the category but someone without an eating disorder just as easily could. Think horoscopes in magazines, same thing… so broad that almost anyone could fit. So remember, the question here is not “are eating disorders real?” but rather “is orthorexia real?” and are the DIAGNOSES real.

    Thanks to ArgentineanDoc for pointing out that Dr. Greger talks about this in a Live Q&A which I had actually seen and was mistaking it for a video here on NF.org. It’s the first question in this live Q&A: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_CnduccKn_A Looking forward to the next two videos in the series!

  58. I am so disappointed by this video. I appreciate your work and regularly refer to your data base. But mental healthcare is largely disregarded and unsupported in this country and your mocking tone betrays a defensive attitude on the subject. Restrictive diets ARE what cause Eating Disorders in genetically vulnerable individuals; this is why licensed professionals specializing in the treatment and prevention of Eating Disorders take care to steer people away from resources that disregard the benefits of enjoying a wide variety of food with loved ones. “Orthorexia” is considered when a restrictive eating style significantly interferes with one’s potential for social and occupational functioning. It is preposterous to compare moderate healthy eating- what we used to call the Prudent Diet- to smoking and refusing seatbelts.

    1. I agree. You only need to talk to close family members of people bound up in these obsessions to see that this behaviour belongs in the same box as other CODs which are considered disorders when they interfere with the ability of the person to manage their life. That said, this particular OCD, is often self limiting as the person afflicted sickens of the whole nonsense, reaches their own rock bottom and then (sadly) tends to throw the baby out of the bath water. There is even a pattern of yo yo’ing between rigid adherence to the programme and binge outs. Not at all heathy. I wonder just how honest any one on the board has the courage to be? Publicly, I mean?

      I know that following this programme is a species of taking CONTROL, and that psychologically, this is very rewarding indeed.

  59. The key words are ‘unhealthy obsession’. Seriously folks, there are those amongst you who are forever taking readings of their bloods, BP, heart rate….. blah blah. Studying their stools, fretting about their food intake to the extent of reducing it to percentages of this and that, pouring over internet articles ,extracting pieces, collecting data……. It is the level of angst that is the giveaway.You can get unhealthily obsessed with perfectly reasonable things- eg exercise.

    Face it. Some of you are well….. orthorexic. For Greger it’s different. It’s his job.

    1. Gillian, indeed you can get unhealthy obsessions with pretty much everything, but how does that fall under the category of the VAGUE generalization that so far appears to be illegitimate based on its diagnosis? If the person who invented the term did not create it for those with a LEGITIMATE eating disorder focused around “perfection” in eating, then why give credence to it?

      Also, even your description is a fine line between someone actively being responsible for their own health and having a disorder. It too is way too vague and broad a generalization to turn into a definition of an obsession or other disorder.

      No, it is not Dr. Greger’s job. Medical doctors require no nutritional training and he is not paid to spend his time constantly researching, it is his passion and mission to teach people so they can maintain and reclaim their own health through evidence based means. But it IS all of our jobs to take responsibility for our own individual health for our own sake and for the sake of our loved ones. By the way you’re describing it, we’d all be better off “orthorexics” than SADieters addicted to pain killers, popping a slew of pills daily, addicted to fast food, feeding HORRIBLE industries, feeling like crap, losing our loved ones too soon, slowly killing ourselves, and going to the doctors for advice and medicine because we WANT to live and be healthy. Now if someone took this to an unhealthy extreme, which like you said, anyone can do with anything, that is a different story altogether but then so it must be properly DEFINED as a different story altogether.

      From what I see so far (awaiting the rest of the series), orthorexia is a joke by the way it was created and who it is applied to as well as the pathetic means of “treatment.” But other eating disorders surrounding diet exist. Some of these have proper names, like anorexia for an obvious example. But some of them don’t. There is no qualified term for someone who has an eating disorder surrounding “healthy” eating whatever they may perceive as being healthiest or purest. And treating someone with something like this should include actually diagnosing them with the problem–it could stem from a NUMBER of anxiety disorders and it would be the cause that would need to be addressed along with therapy or council on how to approach things in a healthier way.

      I also think it is ill-informed to just assume the person is the problem. I think a large part of the problem is society… Some examples…

      It’s perfectly fine for people to pose as doctors and give out advice.

      Anyone can have a blog and give out medical advice and misinformation.

      There is more misinformation than there is evidence-based information out there which is largely industry driven but also driven by misinformed or uninformed people (and even companies like skin care companies) who continue to put out articles and blogs.

      We have been purposefully mislead to appease the agenda of big industry, now real evidence is becoming more and more available to us and in general. We’re both relearning how to care for our human bodies while simultaneously being bombarded with blatant lies of false studies and blog posts and everything else to try to keep us stuck in the old mindset that so many industries rely on.

      We begin to learn that, despite what we all just sort of assumed, not all labels mean anything, the government really doesn’t make sure everything is safe for us, supplement industries don’t even have to tell the truth, etc…

      …This could make anyone’s head spin, but with someone with an anxiety disorder, it can trigger it which can easily manifest in paranoia and an eating disorder.

      We’re living in a turn in history, where things are actually becoming EVIDENCE-BASED. It’s a war in a sense, because industries fight back. So new types of eating disorders are bound to arise, but eating disorders have always been around. There’s bound to be some confusion and some struggling. It’s all kind of normal and if you think about it, predictable. But we don’t need illegitimate terms with vague descriptions like a psychic reading, adding MORE confusion. Real terms created thoughtfully would be welcome.

      1. And look at how even you are already using this ambiguous, undefined term passive aggressively: “Face it. Some of you are well….. orthorexic.” That is just the way it’s gonna go. Putting aside the fact that orthorexia is NOT A REAL DIAGNOSIS, you are in NO POSITION to diagnose people and those with legit eating disorders might justifiably take offense to that sentence. And those with no eating disorders might justifiably take offense to that sentence.

      2. “But other eating disorders surrounding diet exist”

        That obviously looks redundant, I meant to say that other eating disorders surrounding a HEALTHY diet exist.

  60. Putting aside the terminology debate, I’m disappointed that this video does not take seriously the mental issues going on with people obsessed with healthy eating. I know because I suffered with disordered eating and used the mask of “healthy” all the time to justify my behaviors. For example, I called days when I wouldn’t eat “fasting” days. Other times I wouldn’t eat even when I was hungry if there wasn’t any food that fit my rigid criteria. I wasn’t an unhealthy weight but this way of eating and thinking was really unhealthy, even if you could say what I ate was relatively fine. The thinking was not, and it played out in other parts of my life. Diet should not be a source of self-esteem or self-image because it can lead to really destructive thought and behavior patterns. Also, if you look at instagram and youtube, there are many “influencers” promoting these strict diets that demonize some foods that are actually fine. They play into and reinforce the black-and-white thinking. Some even don’t follow their own advice (see the recent NYTimes story about the vegan youtuber). I’m disappointed because I think the real issue flew over the doctor’s head, and I wish he would talk to some experts on eating disorders that could tell him about how it can manifest as an obsession with food and healthy eating. I’m glad that I got help from therapy and working with a nutritionist, who specifically targeted my need to address hunger and stop thinking in such black and white terms.

    1. K, Dr. Greger didn’t address mental illness in this video, he addressed the “diagnosis” orthorexia. It’s right in the title. Nothing to do with dismissing mental illness. Mental illness isn’t even brought up. Again, it’s just a look at the term orthrexia. So you probably shouldn’t put the terminology aside, because the whole point of the video was ABOUT the term orthexia.

  61. I will say this… whoever made up the term and diagnosis of “orthorexia” was clever. They made such a broad generalization that they had to have known could be applied to almost anyone, cause confusion, and that people could “diagnose” a broad scale of people with based on the very vague and allusive descriptions.

    Our world is mad. Some of the comments from the offended, I find offensive and unjustifiable attacks. Shaming Dr. Greger and team for all this hard and brilliant work? And the backlash is mostly based on just not understanding the point. Who knew something so ridiculous could be so controversial… But I guess I forgot what world I lived in.

  62. First, off, I want to start by saying that I am an RDN, and that I have dealt with what Dr. Greger deems as a real eating disorder, anorexia nervosa. I have also been subscribed to this website for 4 years.

    It is fact that the term “orthorexia” has not been termed by the DSM yet, but that does not make the disease any less real, after all, we would not look at the DSM 2 and discount any psychological illness not included there. Orthorexia, though, may be a very REAL eating disorder and it was utterly rude that he joked about it as if it could not even possibly be real. So, Dr. Greger, are you telling me that someone who cannot eat a piece of pizza without having an anxiety attack about the fact that it contains gluten, or cries over the fact that they cannot eat a banana because it has too many grams of sugar does not have a psychological disease?

    My point is that individuals with “Orthorexia” experience the same obsessive behaviors that result in intense fear and compulsions around food as anorexic patients do. Although the focus persistent restriction may not be energy intake, but rather sugar intake, fat intake, gluten intake, etc the same principles apply. So, if you replace the work energy intake with “unhealthy food intake” and reduce the need for a significantly low body weight which should be removed from the diagnostic criteria for anorexia anyways, then orthorexia would fit the same criteria as those eating disorders you classify as “real”.

  63. Only people who feel threatened apply labels like Orthorexia nervosa to the differing lifestyle choices of others. In the heads of every man, woman and now child, sits the final judge and jury of what is right and true. So we will never ‘win’ with people like that. Hoorah for Dr Greger!!

  64. Hearing you speak in this way was so disturbing. This is about obsessiveness and self-worth, not about pathologizing healthy eating. If being so attached to a diet you adhere to, even in the pursuit of “health”, creates severe distress, anxiety, guilt, shame, social isolation, and depression…. is it still healthy? What about mental, emotional, spiritual health? I’m not necessarily saying this should be in the DSM, but orthorexia is a phenomenon we should all be aware of when working in the nutrition field.

  65. Hi,

    After watching this video, I’m very disappointed with the content provided here. As someone who has struggled and is in recovery from Anorexia, I know first hand how an obsession with “Healthy Eating” can play a big part in maintaining a clinical eating disorder. There is no discussion here, or any consultation with, an eating disorder trained professional or therapist. As anyone with experience with eating disorders of any kind would note, an eating disorders symptoms (be it restriction, overeating, obsessive behaviors around food) are driven by underlying issues that need addressing just as much as the symptoms. Eating disorders are mental illnesses. And each of the eating disorders in the DSMV- Anorexia, Bulimia, Binge Eating Disorder, and EDNOS- all can effect people regardless of their size, shape, or health history.
    A person with a healthy relationship with healthy eating uses their focus on eating healthful foods to nourish their body and their life. In this way, they can live a more full, vibrant life.
    A person with an eating disorder uses food (whether it be restriction, binge eating, purging, over-exercising, or yes, an obsessive focus on “clean eating”) as a fear-based method of controlling other aspects of their life. These behaviors are not based on a healthy, nourishing, kind relationship with their body.
    I hope the creator of this video thinks again about these factors and consults with multiple behavior health professionals before making claims about whether or not something is a “real disorder,” so at the very least all sides of the story can be told. We all know that mental health affects physical health, and visa versa. It’s essentially important that this is taken into consideration when discussing eating disorders or we risk mis-educating people about these diseases which can steal the enjoyment of life from people.

  66. While it is hard to argue with the fact that most people could take a lot more interest in getting great nutrition, as someone who spends a fair bit of time interacting with people who have eating disorders, I do think there is a point where “caring” about one’s nutrition crossed over into becoming obsessed in an unhealthy way.
    The behavior descriptions from the study were not representative of what I’ve seen. It is not a matter of people bringing vegan dishes to potlucks but rather becoming paralyzed in a grocery store, convinced every food has something “bad” in it, to the point where they simply stop eating. Call that plain anorexia, orthorexia or just OCD, but it can cross over into mentally unhealthy behavior.

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