Author Topic: Re: Orthorexia  (Read 896 times)

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Offline tellus

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Re: Orthorexia
« on: December 19, 2016, 01:23:09 PM »
A recent episode of SGU (Episode #597 - December 17th, 2016 minute 5:30) got me thinking about Orthorexia, a term I found while trying to define a set of behaviors I see increasingly manifest in myself and others.  I've seen it described as a "Fixation on Rightous Eating" - but how do we define righteous?  It's not necessarily about what is healthy or unhealthy.  I've seen this disorder defined as "a maniacal obsession for healthy foods" but I think a broader definition is needed to understand all the limiting factors in play which is why I argue for the term "righteous"... some of the moral concerns are completely rational, or rational to a varying degree, and they play off other concerns, irrational or otherwise...

*There are global and economic concerns - Where was it made or grown? Is it benefiting the local economy?  How much does it cost?  Is it worth paying more or less for it?
*There are humanitarian concerns - How is it made, processed, where, by whom, under what conditions?
*There are often animal rights concerns - How are the animals bred, fed, treated while alive, treated when slaughtered?  While harvesting wheat and soy, how many mice, rabbits, cats are scooped up by the combines?
*There are concerns over conspiracy - What is in the food?  Has it been grown "properly" or "naturally".  Has it been modified.  Has it been tested for "safeness".  Can we trust the results of the tests or the people who did the studies?

A certain number of people learn what they're going to learn, progressively, from their in-group, resulting in a feedback loop (echo chamber).  Through social media and advertising we've started editing each other's diets much more quickly and effectively than we used to.  It would take time and/or energy to change your views, or the truth itself would have to change - and even if the truth did change you would have to know about it.

Combined with legitimate reasons to restrict one's food intake, and other factors, such as one's ability to imagine what they could eat, these moral and "truthy" and (other) concerns make it very possible to end up with a very short list of foods that one feels are "okay" to consume at a given time...  The cycle also includes factors such as self-punishment.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orthorexia_nervosa
https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/orthorexia-nervosa


Offline daniel1948

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Re: Re: Orthorexia
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2016, 02:20:00 PM »
I like the term. I had not heard it before. There are indeed legitimate reasons to be selective about food choices, as long as one recognizes that a wide variety of different foods is good (I fall short there, but I try). There are health concerns, and for some of us there are ethical concerns and environmental concerns. But most foods (if they don't violate your ethical concerns) are okay in moderation. (My opinion. :) )
Daniel
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Online lonely moa

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Re: Orthorexia
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2016, 08:39:40 PM »
I'd go with the obsession for eating what one deems to promote health rather than righteous as the definition.  The two certainly can be conflicted.

Orthorexia certainly isn't a new term to me, not unlike autophagy.  The prefix ortho just translates to correct or upright, so it could refer to both patterns of eating.
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Offline lubbarin

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Re: Orthorexia
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2016, 08:53:13 PM »
I'd go with the obsession for eating what one deems to promote health rather than righteous as the definition.  The two certainly can be conflicted.

Orthorexia certainly isn't a new term to me, not unlike autophagy.  The prefix ortho just translates to correct or upright, so it could refer to both patterns of eating.
Ortho is most commonly, in modern usage, meant to indicate something more along the lines of, 'correctly adhering do cultural norms or expectation' as with orthodoxy or orthopraxis.
In neither of those last two is there any sense of a reason to adhere to the standard other than it is a standard.

If you think there should be a cool sounding word for directing ones eating habits towards promotion of health, I'll think that's pretty cool, but orthorexia ain't it.
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Offline tellus

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Re: Orthorexia
« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2016, 10:02:04 AM »
I think the definition of the disorder should change with the times, or perhaps another prefix can be added to the name of the existing "disorder" to  better describe the subjective nature of the "rightness" in play...

But one thing is clear - the definition of what is "right" to eat is changing, at an accelerating rate, and in an individual way, along with everything else.  However, the information that one would use to ascertain what is "right" is now more based on what people "like" - what is popular, rather than scholarly, informed, scientific opinions one might have once tried hard to find in books and libraries.  I imagine there was a time when questionable information with rational bases spread slowly and endured, but now questionable information with possibly no basis in fact spreads like wildfire.  With everyone publicly sharing opinions, there's a certain section of the population that feels embarrassed to change or admit to having changed their views...

Online lonely moa

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Re: Orthorexia
« Reply #5 on: December 22, 2016, 12:30:16 PM »
Imagine a time when one ate what food was about, food that had things your body needed.  Overeating on a longer timescale would be unusual, chronic health issues would be far less abundant than today and one would enjoy one's food.  It's really commercial interests and politics that have pushed our diets to give us poorer health.  Wake up to that and you're golden. 

I certainly risk being labeled orthorexic trying to eat the way I do.
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Offline daniel1948

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Re: Re: Orthorexia
« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2016, 06:56:37 PM »
Imagine a time when one ate what food was about, food that had things your body needed.  Overeating on a longer timescale would be unusual, chronic health issues would be far less abundant than today and one would enjoy one's food.  It's really commercial interests and politics that have pushed our diets to give us poorer health.  Wake up to that and you're golden. 

I certainly risk being labeled orthorexic trying to eat the way I do.

I actually agree with much of that. Food companies and fast-food joints push people to eat huge amounts of sugars, fats, and salt, amounting to way too many calories and not enough vegetables.

But I also agree with lubbarin about the word "orthorexic."
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Online Mr. Beagle

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Re: Orthorexia
« Reply #7 on: December 22, 2016, 07:23:39 PM »
I don't buy a lot of the "health food" strangeness, but I do believe that there is a simple evolutionary dilemma we have foisted on ourselves. For at least 100,000 years as homo sapiens, and millions of mammalian years before that, our bodies evolved to process sugar and carbs at a relatively slow rate, because that was how we typically ingested them. Now we can "big gulp" 1000 calories of sugar in 10 minutes. It feels great, but I believe our bodies cannot tolerate that over time.

My own recent significant weight loss was mostly done via incrementally more exercise plus paced-out calorie consumption (and in forms that were not pure fructose or sucrose) with no large meals. A couple of months of that stabilized my metabolism amazingly, and the weight fell off, and stayed off.

No evil foods or good foods, although sodas are rare treats in my world.
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Online estockly

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Re: Orthorexia
« Reply #8 on: December 23, 2016, 05:56:45 AM »


It's a perfectly legitimate word

The suffix -exia suggests a pathology, and yes, obsession with anything, even something good for you, can be pathological

And those with orthodexia may not actually be eating healthily.


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Online estockly

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Re: Orthorexia
« Reply #9 on: December 23, 2016, 05:59:12 AM »
I don't buy a lot of the "health food" strangeness, but I do believe that there is a simple evolutionary dilemma we have foisted on ourselves. For at least 100,000 years as homo sapiens, and millions of mammalian years before that, our bodies evolved to process sugar and carbs at a relatively slow rate, because that was how we typically ingested them. Now we can "big gulp" 1000 calories of sugar in 10 minutes. It feels great, but I believe our bodies cannot tolerate that over time.

My own recent significant weight loss was mostly done via incrementally more exercise plus paced-out calorie consumption (and in forms that were not pure fructose or sucrose) with no large meals. A couple of months of that stabilized my metabolism amazingly, and the weight fell off, and stayed off.

No evil foods or good foods, although sodas are rare treats in my world.
Congratulations on your weight loss. You may attribute it mostly to exercise, but science says weight loss is nearly always diet. Exercise helps with health and fitness and body fat proportion but not so much weight loss


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Re: Orthorexia
« Reply #10 on: December 24, 2016, 03:40:45 PM »
Nothing more annoying than someone righteously telling you how to eat.  Is telling someone how to eat without the righteousness still orthorexia?   I see all the usual suspects of orthorexia have already chimed in.  I'm not excluding myself.  I'll tell you how to eat.... Don't eat too much so that you are overweight and ride a bike a lot. 

Offline daniel1948

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Re: Re: Orthorexia
« Reply #11 on: December 24, 2016, 04:18:14 PM »
Nothing more annoying than someone righteously telling you how to eat.  Is telling someone how to eat without the righteousness still orthorexia?   I see all the usual suspects of orthorexia have already chimed in.  I'm not excluding myself.  I'll tell you how to eat.... Don't eat too much so that you are overweight and ride a bike a lot. 

I took the word to refer to a person's eating habits, rather than the act of proselytizing about eating. I could be wrong.

ETA: I like Michael Pollan's advice: "Eat food, mostly plants, not too much." And do cardio exercise and resistance exercise in moderation, though that isn't about eating.
« Last Edit: December 24, 2016, 04:22:03 PM by daniel1948 »
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Re: Orthorexia
« Reply #12 on: December 29, 2016, 12:02:50 PM »
I was reading an article from a couple years ago in "The New Yorker" by Michael Specter titled "What's So Bad About Gluten?"  He wrote an article in the current issue about genetic engineering.  In the article about gluten, a physician who is a major authority of Celiac disease mentioned Orthorexia nervosa.
From the article,  Dr Peter H. R. Green said,   "We are seeing more and more cases of orthorexia nervosa—people who progressively withdraw different foods in what they perceive as an attempt to improve their health. First, they come off gluten. Then corn. Then soy. Then tomatoes. Then milk. After a while, they don’t have anything left to eat—and they proselytize about it."
     Dr Green also said that gluten sensitivity is almost always self diagnosed.  Sound familiar? 

Online Harry Black

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Re: Orthorexia
« Reply #13 on: December 29, 2016, 02:47:41 PM »
Nothing more annoying than someone righteously telling you how to eat.  Is telling someone how to eat without the righteousness still orthorexia?   I see all the usual suspects of orthorexia have already chimed in.  I'm not excluding myself.  I'll tell you how to eat.... Don't eat too much so that you are overweight and ride a bike a lot.
I get this alot. People often look at what I eat and haughtily tell me it will make me fat or whatever.
Welp. My waist size is the same as it was 18 years ago so I guess Im ok?
The people who give me shit are normally in somewhat of an ironic position to be giving out unsolicited advice.

Offline tellus

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Re: Orthorexia
« Reply #14 on: December 31, 2016, 09:20:17 AM »
I think it's just a pattern that can only be broken by analysis in the presence of good information.  In our current situation it can only get worse, because analysis isn't valued and if you want information that supports what you "believe" you can find it.  I predict Orthorexia becoming much more widespread in future, and I think it's more a factor right now than people realize...

Thanks for the comments! Good convo ;-)

 

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