Too much healthy food a bad thing?

Too much healthy food a bad thing?
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA

Believe it or not, eating too healthy could be bad for your health.

Health officials are concerned a new dieting trend may lead to an eating disorder.

That disorder is called orthorexia - that's when people are so obsessed with eating pure and healthy foods that it starts to interfere with their health and daily lives.

It's not yet an official diagnosis, but it's becoming more prevalent.

People start with good intentions - to eat healthy - but those good habits can go too far.

"But anything to excess can cause some issues," said Dr. Dirk Nelson, Dean of the College of Nursing and Human Sciences at WTAMU. "For example, with regard to relationships with other people. In regard to absolving oneself from responsibilities that they otherwise would have. With regard to a feeling of guilt if they don't meet their internal expectations from eating well."

Some people will even isolate themselves from family members and friends who don't eat the same way as them.

Those suffering from orthorexia are not necessarily focused on being thin, as is the case with anorexia, just on eating clean.

The problem is eating such a strict diet can leave you lacking certain nutrition.

"You could eat very nutrient dense foods, but if it's a narrow scope of nutrient dense foods or a narrow range of healthy foods, you may be missing out on some other nutrients that the body requires," said Nelson.

And eating junk food isn't always a bad thing.

Indulging in comfort food is often the emotional support people need to make it through some stressful situations.

"I think 80% of the time you should eat well, and 20% of the time have the foods that you enjoy that might not be considered healthy," said Nelson.

So why is orthorexia becoming popular now?

A lot of it can be tracked back to social media.

Nowadays it's easy to stumble across pictures of fitness models claiming they look how they do because of strict dieting.

"Images are powerful to people," said Nelson. "One has to be careful regardless of the medium they look at, whether it be electronic or print, because of the misinformation that's out there."

Just because you're vegan or eating paleo does not mean you have this disorder.

It's when restrictive eating starts to rule your life that Nelson said you may need to consult a physician.

"Be honest with them and transparent with them," said Nelson. "Often it takes a team of healthcare providers to address eating disorders. Oftentimes there are many other underlying factors that play a role in an unhealthy obsession of otherwise doing something that's healthy."

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