Orthorexia: A Modern Illness

With the back-and-forth pull between the attraction to junk food some people have and the opposite movement to be healthy and free of toxins, a new name has been given to the more common than ever obsession with healthy eating. Dr Steven Bratman has named it orthorexia nervosa: literally, “fixation on righteous eating.”

I mean who else can identify the nutritional value of a product at 20 paces? Who else keeps a log book of the calorific breakdown of all their meals?

Who else painstakingly coasts the shelves for produce that is organic, no added sugar, low in saturated fats, high in essential fatty acids, locally produced, packaged in biodegradable cellulose, with a big fat fair-trade cherry on top?

Although I wouldn’t say it’s a very common obsession over here in Britain as there isn’t quite as much junk food temptation at all times, therefore less of a backlash into healthy eating. People just seem to eat averagely healthy, with some but less people reaching into the extremes of junky eating or obsessively healthy eating.

On the other hand, I can certainly say some friends in their early 20s over in Canada exhibited these exact symptoms. Of course, it’s fantastic to hold an interest in eating healthy and knowing what’s in our food, but it shouldn’t take over one’s life.

Without going into depths of the why and how of eating disorders, this certainly strikes me as another symptom of the ideals of perfection we all seem to try to reach in today’s world.

Via BBC Magazine.

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