With New Year’s resolutions comes renewed interest in eating healthy, and these days everyone is talking about clean eating. Instead of highly processed foods, people are reaching for items that are closer to nature. Think: homemade kale chips versus Fritos. Or how many people do you know who are doing Whole30 this month?!
There isn’t necessarily anything wrong with eating clean. However, for some, the guidelines for what to eat or avoid can become rules that get more intense and restrictive—and can lead to an eating disorder called orthorexia.
Dr. Neeru Bakshi, the medical director at the Eating Recovery Center’s Washington facility, explains that people can have a problem when they “go rogue” from healthy diets to push them further. In an effort to be healthier, they can actually do the opposite.
Orthorexia is a new eating disorder, so there haven’t been enough studies to make it an official diagnosis, as with anorexia
. Bakshi describes it as more about the desire to be clean without having to do with body image. People tend to do things that are counterproductive as opposed to actually improving one’s health.