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So I was doing some research the other day, and I came across something about orthorexia. I had heard of it before but didn’t really read into it. Here’s what I found:


“Orthorexia starts out with a true intention of wanting to be healthier, but it’s taken to an extreme,” says Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Spokesperson Marjorie Nolan, MS, RD, CDN, ACSM-HFS, who specializes in working with eating disorder clients. “If someone is orthorexic, they typically avoid anything processed, like white flour or sugar. A food is virtually untouchable unless it’s certified organic or a whole food. Even something like whole-grain bread – which is a very healthy, high-fiber food – is off limits because it’s been processed in some way.”

Orthorexics typically don’t fear being fat in the way that an anorexic would, but the obsessive and progressive nature of the disorder is similar. Orthorexics may eliminate entire groups of food – such as dairy or grains – from their diets, later eliminating another group of food, and another, all in the quest for a “perfect” clean, healthy diet. In severe cases, orthorexia eventually leads to malnourishment when critical nutrients are eliminated from the diet.

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In my opinion, when I first read about orthorexia, I didn’t think of it as a real basis for a disease, unlike anorexia/bulimia/ednos.  I do believe that becoming obsessive about healthy foods and exercise can lead to destructive behavior if you’re not careful, but I’m not sure how I feel about labeling it as orthorexia. I’m sure someone somewhere along the lines might call me an orthorexic to a certain degree, when I disagree. I might plan my days around my exercise and meal planning, but Not to a point where if I get depressed if something doesn’t go exactly as planned.  I wouldn’t call myself obsessed, but dedicated. I have a goal I am working towards and am determined to get there, however long it takes, in a healthy way. I love being healthy and living an active lifestyle and working out 5 days a week, it makes me happy.

Also, to me this article sounded a lot like they were describing the paleo diet. I was wondering what my fellow paleo eaters thought of this?

I don’t know, these were random thoughts going through my mind when I saw this. I understand any type of obsession is unhealthy and anything can be taken to the extreme, but I think sometimes people mistake dedication for obsession. And vice versa.

What are your thoughts on orthorexia?


  1. If you read my post “The Whole Story” I talk about the fact that I was what I interpret as orthorexic when I was a teenager. I think that this persons definition is shallow and not really helpful. I got to a point where I became inconsolable when I accidentally drank a regular soda rather than a diet soda (which is not healthy, obviously, but I was 16 and that’s what I had defined as ok on my diet). I think that orthorexia is a real disorder but is not just being disciplined or even limiting food groups… it’s the mentality. It’s thinking that eating one bite of chocolate is the end of the world. It’s crying because you weren’t perfect that day. And it’s knowing the none of that makes sense and not being able to control it. That time in my life made me afraid to diet, but I’ve gotten over it. Thanks for posting about it, I think it’s a very misunderstood and any awareness helps 🙂 Unfortunately I think it gives the non-fitties a word to throw around about disciplined people to make them seem sick and abnormal, when they are just really dedicated. Oh well.

    • That makes sense. Anything that turns into an obsession isn’t good. I think before the term orthorexia came around people may have been diagnosed with EDNOS if they weren’t anorexic or bulimic since there wasn’t a term for it. But I definitely agree that it also give the non-fitties a word to throw at the dedicated.

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