Anorexia, Meet Orthorexia
The other evening I heard the word orthorexia for the first time. It’s a newly coined word meaning
Excessive concern with consuming a diet considered to be correct in some respect, often involving the elimination of foods or food groups supposed to be harmful to health.
On the pattern of anorexia nervosa, one may now speak of orthorexia nervosa, “a pathological concern with consuming a ‘correct’ diet.”
The word anorexia has been around since 1598 with the meaning “lack of appetite.” An extreme form of anorexia is anorexia nervosa:
pathological loss of appetite from psychic causes typically accompanied by deficiency symptoms, emaciation, and wasting and atrophic changes
The new word for worrying too much about eating healthful foods was coined by Colorado MD Steven Bratman. According to Bratman, a woman named Kate Finn died of the effects of orthorexia.
Dieters would do well to recall this advice from the ancients:
Observe due measure, moderation is best in all things. –Hesiod
Moderation, the noblest gift of heaven. –Euripides
We should pursue and practice moderation. –Plato
If you want to know more about orthorexia nervosa, this Wikipedia article is a good place to begin.
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