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What is orthorexia, the dangerous obsession to eat healthy that can put health at risk

By hollisterclothingoutlet 20/01/2023 510 Views

Una alimentación saludable es esencial para disfrutar plenamente de la vida. Esta sencilla frase tiene en la actualidad más importancia que nunca. El motivo es la extraordinaria disponibilidad de comida ultraprocesada y la ingente publicidad que de ella se hace en los diferentes medios de comunicación.Qué es la ortorexia, la peligrosa obsesión por comer sano que puede poner en riesgo la salud Qué es la ortorexia, la peligrosa obsesión por comer sano que puede poner en riesgo la salud

Not surprisingly, more and more people rebel against the tyranny of Fast Food.They choose to limit their diet to minimally processed or even totally natural products although, for this, they must deal with misleading advertising that tries to “hide” their potential industrial origin.

We could say that we are immersed in a culinary and commercial battle, which question both health values and aesthetics.Among others, the care of the integrity of the body and its harmony and beauty, in opposition to the economic interests of the great multinationals.

Although it is paradoxical, this circumstance has favored the appearance of unforeseen health problems.Especially in more developed countries.We talk about orthorexia or orthorexia nervosa, a phenomenon of increasing prevalence that is generating concern in the scientific community.

What is orthorexia

Etymologically, the term orthorexia comes from the Greek Orthos (correct or adequate) and Orexia (food).It was introduced by Dr. Steven Bratman at the beginning of the present century, although it still does not appear in the official diagnostic manuals such as an eating behavior disorder.

Those who suffer from orthorexia are intensely troubled by eating healthy.Therefore, they spend a lot of time information about the properties and elaboration of food.

Qué es la ortorexia, la peligrosa obsesión por comer sano que puede poner en riesgo la salud

From their investigations they make dramatic changes in their diet in order to adjust it to what they estimate appropriate.The problem lies that your choices do not always coincide with scientific evidence.

As a result, there is an increasing number of food exclusions that are not properly compensated.The consequences are evident as the years take.

Many people with this problem invest more than three hours a day to select and prepare food, because they must be subjected to a relentless analysis before landing on the dish.Therefore, it is not surprising that the spontaneous (and eminently social) pleasure is diluted that is usually associated with the act of eating.

When it is given to temptation and ends up ingesting something of the increasingly extensive list of prohibitions, an intense fault arises automatically.And it is frequent that those who suffer from orthorexia are perfectionists to the extreme.Therefore, every slide will precipitate a painful questioning of one's personal worth.

Finally, orthorexia is usually perceived as adequate by those who suffer from it, so it will rarely seek help.His clinical expression rises as a positive attribute of one's identity, and defends itself to ultranza (and sometimes vehement) the lifestyle that characterizes it, which is attributed to high moral connotations.

Health consequences

Food restrictions that are linked to orthorexia, along with the aforementioned concerns about healthy nutrition, can facilitate the emergence of health problems.Also a substantial deterioration of the quality of life (in a broad sense of the term).

The most obvious consequences result on the physical state.Many studies underline the accentuated risk of malnutrition, anemia and lack of trace elements.

Also of other metabolic conditions (osteoporosis, for example).All of them require specialized treatment and can lead to medical complications.

Something similar occurs between orthorexia and other eating disorders.The little awareness of being suffering from a problem, guilt against transgressions and excessive perfectionism are also fundamental to fully understanding nervous anorexia.

All these common points between disorders allow to identify shared risk factors, but also draw effective intervention strategies.

His presence suggests that certain personality dimensions, as well as dynamics of thought, are important for the etiology and prognosis of multiple mental health problems in different appearance.

Regarding the social sphere, highlights the sensation of isolation, one of the complaints most referred to by people with orthorexia.In essence, it derives, on the one hand, its difficulty sharing moments of recreation during meals.On the other, for conflicts (with relatives) associated with incompatible eating habits.

At the psychopathological level, depressive and anxious symptoms stand out.Without forgetting a high prevalence of obsessive-compulsive disorder related to food.

In fact, the latter partially coincides with its clinical expression with orthorexia (inflexibility, behavioral rituals ...).Explain, thus, its remarkable comorbidity.

Scientific evidence also points out that the female population is more vulnerable to the physical and psychological sequels of orthorexia.Therefore, women with this consumption pattern require special attention from health professionals.

More research is still necessary to know the impact of orthorexia on health.Also to differentiate it from adaptive concerns for eating healthy (what is known as healthy orthorexia).

Future treatments will have to ensure a healthy diet with the mental health of those who live with orthorexia, providing time tools to elaborate healthy diets while the integrity of the rest of the facets of life preserves.

*This article was originally published in The Conversation.You can read the original version and see the links to all the scientific studies mentioned here.

Joaquín Mateu Mollá is an attached professor at the International University of Valencia and Doctor in Clinical Psychology from the International University of Valencia.

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