Mental Health

Orthorexia Nervosa – An Obsession With Healthy Eating

strawberries and measuring tape

Are you overly critical of the quality of your meals? We should have “everything in moderation, even moderation,” as often said. Orthorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder in which people are obsessed with healthy eating habits (for example, finding or eating the perfect quality of food).

You must be wondering that if healthy eating is a good trait, then why is it called an eating disorder? The reason is that the obsessive compulsion of orthorexia nervosa leads to higher anxiety levels. The condition primarily develops in people belonging to certain professions, such as athletes, models, and ballet dancers. However, this disorder is not a profession- or gender-specific.

Negative Impacts of Orthorexia Nervosa

Research is limited on this eating disorder. However, in this article, we will discuss its negative impacts and how to overcome them. The following are harmful impacts typical in a person suffering from orthorexia nervosa:

  • Malnutrition;
  • Anxiety and self-loathing;
  • Less flexibility;
  • Time-wasting;
  • Becoming socially awkward.


Orthorexia Nervosa can cause malnutrition

When people focus too much on consuming a healthy diet, they often start restricting their diet variety by only eating highly pure and organic food. Unfortunately, this restriction may cause a deficiency of certain nutrients and lead to diseases like anemia and low blood pressure.

If the deficiency becomes severe, it may adversely impact cardiovascular function, bone health, and digestion.

We always recommend an 80/20 split of healthy and “unhealthy” foods. Unhealthy is a bit misleading, but allowing yourself to consume foods that you enjoy about 20% of the time will do wonders for your mental health and probably your physique as well!

Anxiety and Self-loathing

The constant need to consume healthy food may turn you into a control freak. This need then turns into an obsessive control disorder. In addition, when a person is unable to achieve their goal, it can have a detrimental effect on the psyche with feelings of guilt and self-loathing. All these negative emotions contribute to anxiety and stress.

Less Flexibility

Generally, people with obsessive control disorders tend to be less flexible and accommodating in their daily lives. They want to control everything and become anxious when something is not in their favor.


People suffering from orthorexia nervosa spend much time researching and organizing pure and organic food sources. Unfortunately, this habit may disrupt their professional and personal life balance. As a result, they might underperform in their official duties or other spheres of life.

Becoming Socially Awkward

As the people suffering from this disorder lack flexibility in their personalities, it becomes challenging to bond with other people and have social gatherings. An extreme case of this disorder may make a person socially awkward and introverted.

How to Recover from Orthorexia Nervosa

It is difficult to diagnose this eating disorder as people are often unwilling to admit they have a problem. However, once identified, people with orthorexia nervosa may take the following measures to recover from this eating disorder:

  • Counseling with a group of specialists consisting of a doctor, a psychologist, and a dietician;
  • Modifying their behavior by addressing the root cause;
  • Incorporating various relaxation techniques to fight guilt and anxiety.

A healthy diet and exercise are beneficial for the functioning of the human body. However, a person must balance mindful eating and paranoia about it. Orthorexia nervosa should be taken seriously as it might have a long-lasting physiological impact. If you want to shed a few pounds or maintain a healthy lifestyle, always consider your mental health. If you have any concerns remember to consult your dietician before deciding on a diet plan.

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