Orthorexia: An Unhealthy Obsession with Healthy

By Kelli Swensen, Dietetics Student, Sargent College

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In a society obsessed with food and weight, it’s no surprise that eating disorders are on the rise. The term “eating disorder” usually triggers images of anorexia or bulimia, but a new, less obvious eating disorder is quickly growing: orthorexia. As Sargent Choice Nutrition Center RD Jennifer Culbert explains in a CBS article, orthorexia is when “someone is obsessed with eating only healthy food that they consider to be pure.”

Eating more nutritious foods and cutting back on junk food are both part of a healthy lifestyle, which is great! Orthorexia differs in that what is considered “healthy” is a restrictive list and individuals will begin cutting out entire food groups. In the article, Culbert says that an indicator that you or someone you know may have orthorexia is “When you are no longer able to enjoy any of the foods that you once did, and you are no longer able to participate in a family meal, or going out with a friend.”

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For more on orthorexia make sure to read the full article! With so much conflicting information on what we should and shouldn’t eat, it can get confusing what a healthy lifestyle actually is. The truth is it differs for every individual, which is where registered dietitians come in. An RD is a wonderful resource for helping you find a healthy balance to meet your individual nutrition needs. For BU students, the Sargent Choice Nutrition Center offers FREE counseling to all current students. Not from BU? Head over to EatRight.org to find a dietitian near you.


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