Orthorexia — When eating healthy goes awryBy Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/orthorexia/MY00768
- With Mayo Clinic nutritionists
Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.read biographyclose window
Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.Katherine Zeratsky and Jennifer Nelson
Jennifer K. Nelson, M.S., R.D., L.D., C.N.S.D.
Jennifer Nelson is your link to a better diet. As specialty editor of the nutrition and healthy eating guide, she plays a vital role in bringing you healthy recipes and meal planning.
"Nutrition is one way people have direct control over the quality of their lives," she says. "I hope to translate the science of nutrition into ways that people can select and prepare great-tasting foods that help maintain health and treat disease."
A St. Paul, Minn., native, she has been with Mayo Clinic since 1978, and is director of clinical dietetics and an associate professor of nutrition at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine.
She leads clinical nutrition efforts for a staff of more than 60 clinical dietitians and nine dietetic technicians and oversees nutrition services, staffing, strategic and financial planning, and quality improvement. Nelson was co-editor of the "Mayo Clinic Diet" and the James Beard Foundation Award-winning "The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook." She has been a contributing author to and reviewer of many other Mayo Clinic books, including "Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight for EveryBody," "The Mayo Clinic Family Health Book" and "The Mayo Clinic/Williams Sonoma Cookbook." She contributes to the strategic direction of the Food & Nutrition Center, which includes creating recipes and menus, reviewing nutrition content of various articles, and providing expert answers to nutrition questions.
Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.
As a specialty editor of the nutrition and healthy eating guide, Katherine Zeratsky helps you sort through the facts and figures, the fads and the hype to learn more about nutrition and diet.
A Marinette, Wis., native, she is certified in dietetics by the state of Minnesota and the American Dietetic Association. She has been with Mayo Clinic since 1999.
She's active in nutrition-related curriculum and course development in wellness nutrition at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and nutrition related to weight management and practical applications of nutrition-related lifestyle changes.
Other areas of interest include food and nutrition for all life stages, active lifestyles and the culinary arts.
She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, served a dietetic internship at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, and worked as a registered dietitian and health risk counselor at ThedaCare of Appleton, Wis., before joining the Mayo Clinic staff.
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Aug. 2, 2011
Orthorexia — When eating healthy goes awry
By Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.
Everyone can benefit by paying more attention to choosing healthy foods, right?
For the most part, yes. However, a small number of people seem to become obsessed with the "perfect diet." These individuals fixate on eating foods that make them feel pure and healthy — to the extent that they avoid foods with any:
- Artificial colors, flavors or preservatives
- Pesticides, genetic modification
- Unhealthy fat, sugar or added salt
For some people with orthorexia:
- Preparation techniques must result in "clean food," meaning it's been washed multiple times, cooked to ensure no bacteria and minimally handled.
- Eating out is out of the question because it's important to avoid food that they don't buy and prepare.
The term "orthorexia" has been used to describe this disorder. It comes from the Greek words "orthos," meaning straight or proper, and "orexia," meaning appetite. According to experts including Dr. Steven Bratman, the doctor who first described and named this disorder, what tips the balance from being committed to healthy eating and having orthorexia is the extreme limitation and obsession in food selection. Orthorexics find themselves being unable to take part in everyday activities. They isolate themselves and often become intolerant of other people's views about food and health.
Studies have looked to at whether this disorder is more common in groups more likely to have a keen interest in a healthy diet, such as medical residents, dietitians, students in nutrition, fitness club members and those in the performing arts (ballet, symphony orchestra and opera singers). Each of the professions studied showed some incidence. However, the studies were unable to determine if the incidence was higher than that in the general population.
Health professionals have proposed that orthorexia be officially recognized as a new mental disorder. Currently it remains controversial and grouped with other not yet accepted disorders such as night eating syndrome, muscle dysmorphia (obsession with muscle building) and emetophobia (constant fear of vomiting).
Whether it's recognized as a true medical problem or not is beside the point. It's important to seek professional help when striving for a healthy diet becomes an overwhelming drive that takes over. Orthorexia that features obsessive compulsive behaviors can be effectively treated with medication and cognitive behavioral therapy by a trained therapist.blog index
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