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Dave Ross

When eating too healthy becomes a problem

If vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, raw food or paleo diets get too strict, you can get so afraid when you eat that you don't eat enough. (AP Photo/File)

Are you ready for the latest potential eating disorder?


According to Carrie Dennett, a grad student of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Washington and author of the blog, more and more people are paying attention to eating healthy, which is fine, unless it becomes an obsession.

Yes, healthy eating CAN become an unhealthy obsession, (as every fan of “Portlandia” knows.)

She writes that Orthorexia can lead to diets so strict that they interfere with social relationships and may become dangerously low in calories and essential nutrients.

What’s strange is that people with the disorder are not focused on the amount of food, but on the quality.

But Carrie’s blog quotes a psychiatrist at The Moore Center for Eating Disorders in Bellevue as warning that if diets like vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, raw food and paleo diets get too strict, you can get so afraid when you eat that you don’t eat enough.

It’s one thing to generally try to eat organic or eat whole grains instead of refined grains. It’s another to be so fixated on avoiding pesticides, GMOs or white flour that your diet becomes inflexible.

In addition, according to the critics of this approach, Orthorexics often use their diet to achieve a feeling of perfection, purity, or superiority.

And while Orthorexia is not officially recognized as an eating disorder yet, taken too far it can lead to something more serious … like when you insist on visiting the farm where your organic chicken was raised before you eat it, just like they did on “Portlandia.” But I don’t think that would ever actually happen.

Bottom line, you should try not to base your identity on how you eat.

Sometimes you just have to eat. Sometimes you just have to go out and buy a Dick’s Deluxe and embrace it. Then eat it.

Dave Ross on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM

  • Tune in to KIRO Radio weekdays at 5am for Dave Ross on Seattle's Morning News.

About the Author

Dave Ross

Dave Ross hosts the Morning News on KIRO Radio weekdays from 5-9 a.m. Dave has won the national Edward R. Murrow Award for writing five times since he started at KIRO Radio in 1978.


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