Is being obsessed with healthy eating a disease or an eating disorder? Or is “orthorexia” just another fad, like people who don’t have celiac disease pretending to be gluten intolerant?
There’s a lot of Facebook discussion surrounding this Vice article about orthorexia, written by Claudia McNeilly. According to the piece, “In the age of raw food diets and Instagramming each of your meals as you #eatclean, it’s becoming increasingly common– and dangerous.” She claims that social media, particularly Instagram, puts pressure on people to eat “perfect” foods, and some people have even died from the condition.
The term “orthorexia” was coined in 1997 by Dr. Steven Bartman. Psychologists do not recognize it as an actual eating disorder, or even as a disease, though some are pushing for it to be included in the DSM. Most people who identify as orthorexic are diagnosed with anorexia or OCD.
Dr. Bartman has joined the discussion with a blog post clarifying the difference between orthorexia and just being interested in healthy eating: