Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus.See all posts »
Eating Too Healthy Can Be Disorder
I wrote about this new eating disorder called orthorexia in a previous post over a year ago. Orthorexia is not an official classification as an eating disorder but it is basically known as an obsession with healthy eating.
Some people don't know where to draw the line with eating healthy and being too restrictive in their diet. People with the psychological condition called orthorexia restrict their consumption of sugar, salt, caffeine, alcohol, additives, preservatives, fat, and sometimes even foods that contain wheat, gluten, dairy, corn, yeast, and soy even if they have no allergies or reason to avoid these foods. They try to keep their diet as "pure" as possible. Someone with orthorexia is not necessarily underweight. They could be normal weight, underweight, or overweight. It is not as much quantity as quality of food that they are concerned with.
What's wrong with that?
I am all for people eating healthy and cutting back on foods that we know contain harmful components. However, when planning your meals and avoiding a long list of foods consumes much of your time and energy, that is not healthy from a psychological and emotional side. Also, a restrictive diet could leave someone malnourished because they could be cutting out foods that also contain important nutrients.
As with all things in life, we need to have balance. All work and no play will lead to burnout. Too much exercise can cause injuries and fatigue. Restricting foods that bring pleasure takes much enjoyment out of eating. I love food, and I love food that tastes good. Fill your plate 80% of the time with highly nutritious foods, but don't restrict too much that you don't allow yourself to enjoy the other 20% of life.