There’s a New Eating Disorder that’s Stemming from an Obsession with Clean Eating

Do you know someone who doesn’t consider it a meal unless kale is involved? Who hasn’t had a Snickers bar since Betty White was young?

We mean, we get it; we have limitless options in our cities when it comes to living and eating “clean,” and we all want to lead healthier lifestyles than we did in university.

From the new pressed juice bars that seem to open monthly, to salad bars on every other corner, healthy meal delivery services, gluten-free restaurant options, and organic everything, it’s not too difficult to be your healthiest self – especially if your pockets are big enough.

The desire to be healthy is further facilitated by our bombardment of diets, many of which advocate eating all organic or dropping the wheat and dairy from your life. 

But some people are taking the whole “clean living” thing a little far – and now there’s a term for it.

It’s called orthorexia nervosa, and it describes a condition where the person becomes obsessed with clean eating.

Dr. Steven Bratman, a physician who practices alternative medicine and author of Health Food Junkies, coined the term 20 years ago, after his obsession with eating healthy began to control his life and health. According to Bratman, there are three types of people who are susceptible to orthorexia nervosa: those who only eat raw foods, clean eaters, and those on the Paleo diet bandwagon. 

According to Bratman, the religious Paleo followers are at risk because their mood drops into a depressive state after they accidentally consume foods that contain gluten.

The condition is not currently recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

But, it could be soon. 

After all, most of us know someone who has taken their health food obsession to dangerous levels.

If you think you may be suffering, take Bratman’s test to find out. 


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