Orthorexia Nervosa Symptoms

Orthorexia Nervosa Symptoms
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When an eating “disorder” can save your life.

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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 an “unrecognized…eating disorder in which the person becomes obsessed with eating…healthy…foods.” “Whereas…recognized eating disorders,” like anorexia, deal with the quantity of the food, orthorexics care about “the quality of their food. “Many researchers have raised questions about the validity of [orthorexia as an entity],” but I always try to give the benefit of the doubt. A medical case report was published on orthorexia in a critical care journal about eating disorder emergencies. Okay, I’m listening. So, they’re talking about cases of bona fide eating disorders, like this woman with anorexia collapsing from self-induced vomiting and laxatives after years of throat and rectal bleeding. I mean, that is indeed a tragic eating disorder emergency. Okay, so what’s their orthorexic case like?

A 53-year-old man who had a triple bypass two years ago comes in for a check-up. His physician recommends seeing a dietitian, since his BMI is down to like 18.5, which is right on the cut-off for being underweight. He’s evidently been eating so healthy he’s “lost a significant amount of weight. He states that since his diagnosis of coronary heart disease and high cholesterol, he only eats ‘natural and organic foods.'” Therefore… he probably has a psychiatric illness. “He clearly is preoccupied with food and judges others based on their food choices,” when in fact, he very well may be saving his own life. To me, the craziest thing this guy did was get a triple bypass. I mean, imagine lying on a psychiatrist’s couch and being like, “Yeah, I know I could switch to bean burritos, but I’d rather pay someone to slice my chest open with a knife, maybe saw my breastbone in half, put me at risk for stroking out, ya know, instead of dealing with the underlying cause, what do ya think, doc?”

Then, we see some orthorexics becoming “evangelical as they share their feelings of disgust or disappointment towards their family, friends, and even children for their normal food choices.” I mean, it’s bad enough they care about their own health, but caring about their family and friends—their children? Off to the funny farm you go. I mean, it’s not like what we eat is the #1 cause of death in the United States or anything, killing hundreds of thousands more Americans every year than cigarettes. Oh wait, it is. And also the #1 cause of disability, but you may have a mental illness if you’re disappointed that your kids are eating multi-colored marshmallows for breakfast.

If you recognize these warning signs, what should you do? You should confront the person. I know it’s not easy, but if you see someone obsessively trying to avoid unhealthy foods—and worse, trying to get others to do the same, then confront them. “[T]he possibility of helping them save their own life…far outweighs uncomfortable emotions.” The irony, of course, is that they’re trying to save your life. Imagine if you were able to talk Mr. Triple Bypass out of his healthy eating obsession. You’d probably kill him.

To his credit, even Steven Bratman, the guy who “coined the term orthorexia”, has backed off, saying that he never “intended to propose a new eating disorder.” As an “alternative medicine practitioner,” he just wanted his patients to “relax the dietary corset and live a little.” I mean, where did people get this idea that he was trying to coin the name for a novel eating disorder? I mean, if you go back to his original article he just said he was trying to… coin the name for “a novel eating disorder.” An eating disorder he saved himself from: “saved from the doom of [his] eternal health food addiction” with the help of “tacos, pizza, and a milkshake.”

One of the directors of the Yale Center for Eating Disorders is “skeptical.” “We’ve never had anybody come to our clinic with [orthorexia], and I’ve been working in this field for at least 20 years.” “Without research to back his theory, Bratman is simply another guy trying to make a buck off the health-conscious public.” “They invent some new term, a new diet, a solution to a problem that doesn’t even exist. The burden should fall to the authors to prove that what they’re saying is correct, before they start unleashing advice on the public.”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: olindana via Adobe Stock photos. 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 an “unrecognized…eating disorder in which the person becomes obsessed with eating…healthy…foods.” “Whereas…recognized eating disorders,” like anorexia, deal with the quantity of the food, orthorexics care about “the quality of their food. “Many researchers have raised questions about the validity of [orthorexia as an entity],” but I always try to give the benefit of the doubt. A medical case report was published on orthorexia in a critical care journal about eating disorder emergencies. Okay, I’m listening. So, they’re talking about cases of bona fide eating disorders, like this woman with anorexia collapsing from self-induced vomiting and laxatives after years of throat and rectal bleeding. I mean, that is indeed a tragic eating disorder emergency. Okay, so what’s their orthorexic case like?

A 53-year-old man who had a triple bypass two years ago comes in for a check-up. His physician recommends seeing a dietitian, since his BMI is down to like 18.5, which is right on the cut-off for being underweight. He’s evidently been eating so healthy he’s “lost a significant amount of weight. He states that since his diagnosis of coronary heart disease and high cholesterol, he only eats ‘natural and organic foods.'” Therefore… he probably has a psychiatric illness. “He clearly is preoccupied with food and judges others based on their food choices,” when in fact, he very well may be saving his own life. To me, the craziest thing this guy did was get a triple bypass. I mean, imagine lying on a psychiatrist’s couch and being like, “Yeah, I know I could switch to bean burritos, but I’d rather pay someone to slice my chest open with a knife, maybe saw my breastbone in half, put me at risk for stroking out, ya know, instead of dealing with the underlying cause, what do ya think, doc?”

Then, we see some orthorexics becoming “evangelical as they share their feelings of disgust or disappointment towards their family, friends, and even children for their normal food choices.” I mean, it’s bad enough they care about their own health, but caring about their family and friends—their children? Off to the funny farm you go. I mean, it’s not like what we eat is the #1 cause of death in the United States or anything, killing hundreds of thousands more Americans every year than cigarettes. Oh wait, it is. And also the #1 cause of disability, but you may have a mental illness if you’re disappointed that your kids are eating multi-colored marshmallows for breakfast.

If you recognize these warning signs, what should you do? You should confront the person. I know it’s not easy, but if you see someone obsessively trying to avoid unhealthy foods—and worse, trying to get others to do the same, then confront them. “[T]he possibility of helping them save their own life…far outweighs uncomfortable emotions.” The irony, of course, is that they’re trying to save your life. Imagine if you were able to talk Mr. Triple Bypass out of his healthy eating obsession. You’d probably kill him.

To his credit, even Steven Bratman, the guy who “coined the term orthorexia”, has backed off, saying that he never “intended to propose a new eating disorder.” As an “alternative medicine practitioner,” he just wanted his patients to “relax the dietary corset and live a little.” I mean, where did people get this idea that he was trying to coin the name for a novel eating disorder? I mean, if you go back to his original article he just said he was trying to… coin the name for “a novel eating disorder.” An eating disorder he saved himself from: “saved from the doom of [his] eternal health food addiction” with the help of “tacos, pizza, and a milkshake.”

One of the directors of the Yale Center for Eating Disorders is “skeptical.” “We’ve never had anybody come to our clinic with [orthorexia], and I’ve been working in this field for at least 20 years.” “Without research to back his theory, Bratman is simply another guy trying to make a buck off the health-conscious public.” “They invent some new term, a new diet, a solution to a problem that doesn’t even exist. The burden should fall to the authors to prove that what they’re saying is correct, before they start unleashing advice on the public.”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: olindana via Adobe Stock photos. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

Doctor's Note

In case you missed my previous video, check out Is Orthorexia a Real Eating Disorder?. Stay tuned for The Orthorexia Nervosa Test. You simply won’t believe how they “diagnose” this thing.

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.

This video may be triggering for people with a history of eating disorders. For those struggling with an eating disorder, consider checking out https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/.

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

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