Orthorexia is not an officially recognized eating disorder, but those in the field who treat eating disorders are seeing a small number of people who report an obsession of sorts around eating healthfully. For these people, somewhere along the way, a desire to eat a healthy diet turned into an all consuming focus that is now greatly impacting their lives, and in rare cases, their health.
People with Orthorexia may avoid certain foods, like those containing fats, or animal products, or genetically modification foods, foods grown with pesticides and/or foods made with artificial color or flavoring.
For those who struggle with this obsessive thinking, food rules and belief about food impact their day to day life to varying degrees. If dietary restrictions are too severe or improperly managed, malnutrition can result. According to Dr. Bratman, Orthorexia is different from Anorexia. He has been quoted as saying, “the underlying motivation is quite different. While an anorexic wants to lose weight, an orthorexic does not desire to become thin, but wants to feel pure, healthy and natural. Eating disorder specialists may fail to understand this distinction, leading to a disconnect between orthorexic and physician.”
Dr. Bratman coined the term “orthorexia” in 1997 from the Greek orthos, “correct or right”, and orexis for “appetite”. Literally “correct appetite”.
Orthorexia can be treated with counseling and medication.
(Sources: Mayo Clinic and Wikipedia)