Tuesday, 17 November 2015 00:11

What Is Orthorexia?

The Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) has noticed recent media stories of an
emerging disordered eating pattern, termed “orthorexia”. Orthorexia is increasingly
being used to describe strict and inflexible eating behaviours, where a person has
rules about how much food should be eaten and the timing of meals or avoidant-based
eating practices due to misguided beliefs on what they perceive as healthy.
Orthorexia starts out as a true intention to eat healthy foods but it is taken to the
extreme.

Although adopting a healthy lifestyle is encouraged, this type of restrictive eating
behaviour can be a concern if it prevents a person from enjoying food, leads toorthorexia.jpg
feelings of guilt or anxiety before or after eating, restricts social interactions or cuts
out entire food groups. Orthorexia can have serious physical and psychological
consequences, and professional advice and support is recommended.

DAA encourages Australians to categorise foods into ‘everyday’ and ‘extra’ foods
that can be enjoyed sometimes and in small amounts rather than label foods as
‘good’ and ‘bad’. This can help to eliminate the guilt associated with eating
discretionary or ‘extra’ foods, and also allows for all foods to potentially be included
as part of a healthy, balanced diet.

DAA suggests Australians follow the Australian Dietary Guidelines, which
recommend enjoying a range of foods from each core food group, including plenty of
fruit, vegetables, legumes, and wholegrain breads and cereals, as well as lean meats,
fish, poultry, nuts, seeds, eggs, and low fat dairy, and limiting foods with added
sugars, saturated fat, salt and alcohol (if you choose to drink alcoholic beverages).

People with orthorexia often have misunderstandings about food and nutrition,
which may be based on inaccurate information from less reputable sources. DAA
cautions against relying on nutrition information found online, including on social
media. Be careful to always check the credentials of the author, and weigh up
whether the information is in line with the Australian Dietary Guidelines and the
advice of trusted health professionals.

Australians considering different approaches to improve their diet should seek
tailored nutrition advice and support from an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD).
APDs are university-qualified professionals who have the qualifications and skills to
provide recommendations to improve dietary intake and nourish the body. APDs also
appreciate that eating should be an enjoyable experience.

The Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) has noticed recent media stories of an
emerging disordered eating pattern, termed “orthorexia”. Orthorexia is increasingly
being used to describe strict and inflexible eating behaviours, where a person has
rules about how much food should be eaten and the timing of meals or avoidant-based
eating practices due to misguided beliefs on what they perceive as healthy.
Orthorexia starts out as a true intention to eat healthy foods but it is taken to the
extreme.

Although adopting a healthy lifestyle is encouraged, this type of restrictive eating
behaviour can be a concern if it prevents a person from enjoying food, leads to
feelings of guilt or anxiety before or after eating, restricts social interactions or cuts
out entire food groups. Orthorexia can have serious physical and psychological
consequences, and professional advice and support is recommended.

DAA encourages Australians to categorise foods into ‘everyday’ and ‘extra’ foods
that can be enjoyed sometimes and in small amounts rather than label foods as
‘good’ and ‘bad’. This can help to eliminate the guilt associated with eating
discretionary or ‘extra’ foods, and also allows for all foods to potentially be included
as part of a healthy, balanced diet.

DAA suggests Australians follow the Australian Dietary Guidelines, which
recommend enjoying a range of foods from each core food group, including plenty of
fruit, vegetables, legumes, and wholegrain breads and cereals, as well as lean meats,
fish, poultry, nuts, seeds, eggs, and low fat dairy, and limiting foods with added
sugars, saturated fat, salt and alcohol (if you choose to drink alcoholic beverages).

People with orthorexia often have misunderstandings about food and nutrition,
which may be based on inaccurate information from less reputable sources. DAA
cautions against relying on nutrition information found online, including on social
media. Be careful to always check the credentials of the author, and weigh up
whether the information is in line with the Australian Dietary Guidelines and the
advice of trusted health professionals.

Australians considering different approaches to improve their diet should seek
tailored nutrition advice and support from an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD).
APDs are university-qualified professionals who have the qualifications and skills to
provide recommendations to improve dietary intake and nourish the body. APDs also
appreciate that eating should be an enjoyable experience.