Modern man is more afraid of obesity than any other disease. The epidemic spread of obesity is threatening everyone, especially the Americans. “Count the calories” is the slogan of modern diet. But this kind of obsessive fear itself is making many people today experience orthorexia.
It is true that growing generations are developing more obesity. Technological advances modern lifestyle have created a lazy and fat population. Modern generations are getting thrown into the culture causing obesity and are turning up with a higher incidence of diseases. But there are also many people who are becoming more conscious about their health. Fear of obesity, warnings from all sides about food products and over health consciousness have made many of the modern people experience a new problem called ORTHOREXIA. The fact is that being too health-conscious is also dangerous.
“Count your calories” is the modern diet mantra
“Count your calories” is the mantra of modern diet. Obesity is the threatening disease growing at an epidemic speed. Busy schedule of modern lifestyle push people towards stopping off at McDonalds instead of cooking a meal at home. Sweet-coated advertisements about processed junk-foods and modern food habits hook everyone easily. Eating organic, going vegan or simply counting the calories in order to avoid obesity has become the trend of the day.
But people who are over-conscious about their food try to avoid every food, stating some reason or other. Yes, being too healthy sometimes can also be unhealthy!
What is orthorexia?
Too much of anything is good for nothing. You cannot eat a lot of food for its good contents. It is good that you avoid junk food and processed foods. But there are people who avoid every food saying it is defective in some way or other. Orthorexia is such an obsession with healthy eating. It is a habitual avoiding each and every food, saying that it is not pure or not good for health. These strict-food-rule people usually avoid foods with artificial colors or flavors. They can be described as health-food addicts and can be included into the groups of picky eaters.
Although orthorexia is not yet clinically defined, it is drawing the attention of many. The word orthorexia, coined by Steven Bratman, M.D. in 1997, is gaining popularity today and is treated as a mental disorder.
Adverse results of orthorexia
Orthorexia, though it may sound to be a good habit, definitely has many adverse consequences.
1) The main idea of these picky-eaters is not to avoid obesity or weight loss. Instead they insist more on “perfect food” for perfect physical health.
2) In the modern lifestyle it is too difficult to find the perfect food they intend.
3) These people care more about their physical health and they do not understand how they are affected psychologically. Their mind is obsessed with anxiety to such a level that their orthorexia becomes a psychological disorder.
4) This obsession affects them physically also since they refuse “impure food” even though they are in hunger pangs.
5) They spend more time in shopping and cooking, finding specifically “pure” vegetables and grocery and preparing “pure” food.
Social consequences of orthorexia
1) Orthorexia has great impact on social life, since these people do not attend parties saying they they may have to eat “unclean” food. People obsessed with orthorexia often turn down social invitations.
2) Orthorexia makes them hide their habits from their friends and relatives, fearing their criticism.
How to treat people with orthorexia?
1) People affected with orthorexia should try to understand the realities of food habits. Others around them also should help them in understanding. They should point them out how they lose their mental happiness.
2) If necessary a counseling may be helpful. That may help them find realize the margin line between health-consciousness and health-obsession.
3) In some cases, undergoing cognitive behavioral therapy may be helpful.