"Clean" Eating Can Turn Into an Unhealthy & Dangerous Obsession, Study Finds

June 17, 2019

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In today's too-much-of-a-good-thing news, a new study finds that an obsession with healthy or "clean" eating can lead to serious emotional and physical consequences. "Orthorexia is really more than just healthy eating," says study co-author Jennifer Mills, an associate professor of health at York University in Toronto. "It's healthy eating taken to the extreme, where it's starting to cause problems for people in their lives and starting to feel quite out of control." While no clear line divides healthy eating from orthorexia's extreme eating, Mills and her team found a major sign of orthorexia is when avoiding certain foods leads to "excessive time and energy thinking and fretting about what to eat." In addition, some people suffering from orthorexia may eat only a very small number of things after eliminating numerous categories of food; they may also be less concerned about cutting calories than with the perceived quality of their food.