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Orthorexia. What is it? Are you at risk?


As a nutrition professional, it is quite common to see individuals with eating disorders, mainly Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, and Binge Eating. But, what about Orthorexia?

Orthorexia, too, should be considered for nutritional intervention. Orthorexia is defined as having excessive worry about the quality and purity of food. This type of obsession can lead to the exclusion of essential nutrients important for physical and mental well-being, causing severe nutritional deficiencies and weight loss due to the decrease in nutrition, variety and daily caloric ingestion.

It becomes difficult to diagnose this disorder, but if you identify with any of the following, you may be at risk:

📌Difficult time fitting in with social events that include non-controlled food options.

📌Obsession regarding the list of ingredients within meals.

📌A more significant concern with the nutritional benefit of ingredients.

📌Severe restriction of a large number of foods.

📌Atypical interest in what others eat.

📌Avoiding eating out.

📌Avoiding social events with the fear or guilt of their not being enough healthy food options.

There isn’t a specific treatment for this condition. However, your clinical nutritionist, and the presence of a multidisciplinary team including a psychiatrist and psychologist, are essential to the treatment of these types of disorders.

Clinical nutritionists can help with the following:

📌Prioritizing the exposure and variety of suppressed foods in eating choices.

📌Work towards the goal weight and tackle nutritional deficits.

📌Clinically trained to look for behavioral signals during a consultation to be able to treat accordingly, with no physical or emotional setbacks for the individual.

📌Provide nutritional literacy, with food education.

📌Develop tools for adopting healthy food habits.

In a society obsessed with body image, being overly concerned about health can become dangerous.

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