When it comes to diets and fads, healthy eating is the ultimate goal for all. Reducing the number of calorie-rich foods while simultaneously increasing foods that are rich in nutrition is what we all strive towards. However, counting calories is not the only thing that the latest generation is obsessed with. According to a new study by the York University, Canada, the new generation's irregular eating behaviours consist of eating too clean, juicing or going raw. While eating healthy seems to be the opposite of harmful, it can sometimes begin to take over people's lives and become an 'unhealthy' obsession too in extreme cases.
(Also Read: Clean Eating: Easy Steps For Healthy Lifestyle)
Healthy eating may become an obsession.
Researchers at the York University's Faculty of Health say those who have obsessive-compulsive traits, poor body image, and a drive for being thin are more likely to develop a pathological obsession with consuming only healthy food, also known as Orthorexia Nervosa. "When taken to the extreme, an obsession with clean eating can be a sign that the person is struggling to manage their mental health," says Jennifer Mills, Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology and senior author on the study.
Some of the signs that you may be suffering from Orthorexia are:
- If your health status conditions your eating choices
- If the thought of food concerns you for more than three hours a day
- If you feel guilty when eating unhealthy foods
- If you're spending copious amounts of time on meal prep
Unlike other eating disorders like Anorexia and Bulimia, Orthorexia is not recognized in standard psychiatric manuals for healthcare providers, but it is believed to effect a vast majority of people in the new generation. Developing a consistent definition of Orthorexia Nervosa will make it easier for health researchers to measure and provide reliable diagnosis and treatment of the illness.