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Don't Go Overboard

Out of all of your friends, you eat the healthiest. Forget potato chips or a cupcake for a birthday celebration—it’s so unhealthy. It seems impossible that anything could be wrong with eating the “right” foods, in a country where two thirds of adults over the age of 20 are overweight or obese, according to the Weight-Control Information Network division of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

If your healthy habits become persistently more important and start to control your life, you may have a bigger problem on your hands. Known as “orthorexia,” this extreme obsession of eating is considered a sub-clinical form of an eating disorder. Steven Bratman, M.D., named this disorder and even wrote a book about the way these individuals view their diets as a cleansing experience. The problem in making this officially an eating disorder is that people do not typically view healthy eating as a bad idea.

Just like anorexia and bulimia have their own classifications, orthorexics base their view of themselves on what they eat by pairing the word “bad” with unhealthy and “good” with healthy. There is no middle ground—only good or bad foods.

Missing out on foods considered a bad choice can lead to lack of essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients and even malnutrition. So enjoy a piece of steak or a dump your favorite thick salad dressing on your lettuce once in a while. And yes, even have a slice of that creamy pumpkin pie. Remember, everything in moderation. [SheKnows]

Posted: 4/11/08