“Health Food Junkie” 1997 author Dr Steven Bratman
Obsessed with Health, Yoga Journal 2009 by Erika Alexia Tsoukanelis Orthorexia Nervosa: does this disorder deserve recognition?, Nutrition Today 2005 NEDA (National Eating Disorders Association) 2006, Complied by Karin Kratina, PhD, RD, LD/N
Can too much of a good thing be harmful? When it comes to eating healthy the answer could be yes. Orthorexia nervosa refers to a pathological fixation on eating healthy, severe weight loss is often a result. People who suffer from this eating disorder are not concerned with being thin, but are obsessed with food quality, personal purity and avoiding unhealthy foods. The definition of healthy and unhealthy food varies widely depending on which dietary beliefs the patient has adopted. Ortho what? The word orthorexia from the Greek orthos, “correct or right”, and orexis for “appetite”. Literally “correct appetite”, was coined by holistic physician Steven Bratman. In an article published in the October 1997 issue of Yoga Journal titled “Health Food Junkie”, he wrote. “Orthorexia begins, innocently enough, as a desire to overcome chronic illness or to improve general health. But because it requires considerable willpower to adopt a diet that differs radically from the food habits of childhood and the surrounding culture, few accomplish the change gracefully. Most resort to an iron self-discipline bolstered by a hefty dose of superiority over those who eat junk food. Over time, what to eat, how much, and the consequences of dietary indiscretion come to occupy a greater and greater proportion of the orthorexic’s day”. (Tsoukanelis, 2003)
While not yet an officially recognized disorder in the psychiatric literature, the disorder is similar to other serious dietary diagnoses such as anorexia nervosa. According to Dr Bratman, obsession with healthy food can progress to the point where it crowds out other...