Orthorexia: Can a healthy diet harm us?

Joaquin Mateo MolaAnd International University of Valencia

Healthy eating is necessary for enjoying life to the fullest. This simple sentence is more relevant today than ever. The reason for this is the exceptional availability of ultra-processed foods and the huge publicity about them in various media.

It’s no surprise that more and more people are rebelling against tyranny fast food. chose Limit your diet to minimally processed or even natural products Despite this, they have to deal with deceptive advertisements that attempt to do so “Camouflage” of its potential industrial source.

We can say that we are immersed in a culinary and commercial battle. A fight that challenges both the values ​​of health and those of beauty. Among others, the concern for integrity, harmony and beauty of the body, facing the economic interests of large multinational companies.

Even if, paradoxically, this circumstance favored the emergence of unexpected health problems. Especially in more developed countries. We talk about orthorexia or nervous orthorexia, which is a phenomenon of increasing prevalence arouses the concern of the scientific community.

What is orthorexia?

The derivation of the term orthorexia comes from the Greek orthotics (true or sufficient) and Orxia (to feed). Proposed by Dr Stephen Bratman at the turn of this century, although to this day it does not appear in official diagnostic manuals as an eating disorder.

Those who suffer from orthorexia appear very troubled for a healthy diet. Therefore, they spend a lot of time learning about the characteristics and preparation of food.

Based on their research, Drastic changes in your diet to modify it as it sees fit. The problem is, your choices don’t always match the scientific evidence.

As a result, there are a growing number of food exclusions that are not adequately compensated for. The consequences become apparent over the years, as the situation evolves from reasonable anxiety to severe, annoying rumination about what or how to eat.

Many people suffer from this problem Spend more than three hours a day choosing and preparing foodThey must undergo incessant analysis before landing on the plate. It is therefore not surprising that the spontaneous (and especially social) pleasure normally associated with the act of eating is reduced.

When you give in to temptation and end up eating something from an ever-growing list of taboos, an intense feeling of guilt automatically arises. and it’s Orthopedists are often extremes in perfectionism. Therefore, any false step will lead to a painful questioning of the personal value of the individual.

Finally, orthorexia is generally considered enough for those who suffer from itSo you rarely ask for help. His clinical expression appears as a positive trait of his own identity, and he defends himself at all costs (and sometimes harshly) from the way of life that characterizes him, to which he is attributed strong moral connotations.

What are the health consequences of orthotics?

Orthopedic dietary restrictions, along with the above concerns about healthy eating, can facilitate the emergence of health problems. Also Significant deterioration in quality of life (in the broad sense of the term).

The most obvious consequences Affects physical condition. Several studies show an increased risk of malnutrition, anemia and mineral deficiencies.

Also other metabolic conditions (eg osteoporosis). All require specialized treatment and can lead to medical complications.

At the psychopathological level, the symptoms stand out my depression s Worry. Without forgetting the high prevalence Obsessive Compulsive Disorder related to food.

Indeed, the latter Clinical expression partially identical to orthorexia (Inflexibility, behavioral rituals…). Thus, it explains the joint disease observed.

Something similar is happening between orthotics and other eating disorders. Lack of awareness of suffering from a problem and feelings of guilt due to excess and excessive perfectionism Also essential for a good understanding of anorexia nervosa.

All these common points between the disorders make it possible to identify common risk factors, but also to identify effective intervention strategies.

Its presence suggests that Certain dimensions of the personality, Beside thought dynamicsimportant for the etiology and prediction of many apparently distinct mental health problems.

With regard to the social sphere, the feel isolatedIt is one of the most common complaints reported by people with orthopedics. In essence, this is due, on the one hand, to the difficulty of sharing moments of relaxation during meals. On the other hand, due to conflicts (with relatives) linked to incompatible eating habits.

Scientific evidence also indicates that Women are more sensitive to the physical and psychological consequences of orthotics. Therefore, women with this mode of consumption require special attention from health professionals.

More research is still needed to understand the impact of orthotics on health. Also to distinguish it from adaptive concerns about healthy eating (so-called healthy orthopedics).

Future treatments should ensure that a healthy diet is compatible with the mental health of people living with orthotics and provide timely tools to develop healthy diets while maintaining the integrity of the rest of life.

Joaquin Mateo Mola, assistant professor at the International University of Valencia, doctor in clinical psychology, International University of Valencia

This article was originally published Conversation. Read it A native.

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