Health care professionals are beginning to see a dangerous trend: when well meaning people begin to eat too healthy. Or, rather, they begin to eat too many healthy foods. There is a reason that dieticians recommend the foods that they recommend. It’s because they promote proper health, so when people cut too much out of their diets, it can have dangerous consequences that are both harmful for the body, and mind.
More and more people are becoming obsessed with their diets, and it’s not surprising. With all the information about foods that can be harmful, have toxins, or potentially cause illnesses and reactions, it can be difficult to know what should and should not be eaten.
When cutting foods from the diet becomes an obsession, it also becomes an eating disorder. In some circles, it is called orthoexia nervosa, and it is essentially a condition that causes people to eliminate all the “bad” foods from the diet.
Take meat, for example, many people become iron deficient when they cut it from their diets. Lean, grass-fed beef is an excellent source of muscle regenerating protein. It’s also a top source of iron for people that aren’t thrilled about adding spinach to everything. Cutting it out of the diet altogether can cause people to develop iron deficient anemia.
When natural sugars from fruit are eliminated from the diet, it can actually cause the metabolism to slow down, and that can even cause weight gain in some. On the flip side, eating too many raw fruits can cause people to have health problems such as bloating, cramping, diarrhea and other digestive problems.
Cutting complex carbohydrates out of the diet can rob the body of essential energy and even vitamins and minerals. Not all carbohydrates come from bread, and when people realize that there are other “healthy” sources of the carbohydrates, they tend to eliminate these, as well.
The point is that trying to eat clean often causes the stomach to feel empty, and can cause people to become malnourished. Many people think that there simply is no way that this can happen, but often it starts out with a simple diet, a “helpful” book and some well-meaning articles. The next thing you know, you’re enduring juice cleanses more often than not in an effort to “purify” your system and stay healthy.
If you worry that you might be suffering from this condition, it’s essential to get therapy before you begin to notice the physical effects of being malnourished. Find a therapist that specializes in eating disorders, or have your health care provider refer you to one.
A well balanced diet is essential for optimal health, but when the quest for “healthy” foods becomes more an exercise of what foods to cut out, it’s time to consider the possibility that you have an eating disorder that needs to be treated.