Have you heard of the eating disorders called orthorexia nervosa? It’s fairly new term and it is not yet an official disorder. It is, however, a real condition that disrupts lives and leads to negative health consequences. Orthorexia is an obsession with healthy eating that is so extreme it makes people who experience it afraid to eat almost anything.

Wanting to eat well for mental and physical health is a good thing. For some people, though, the desire to be healthy is ironically leading to malnutrition because they experience anxiety about food and its real or imagined health risks. How do you know if you’ve crossed the line between health-conscious and health-obsessed? These orthorexia signs point to a potential problem:

  • Spending large amounts of time analyzing nutrition labels, researching trends, and engaging in online forums  
  • Feeling physically unwell despite what you think is healthy eating, including digestive problems, low energy, skin and hair problems, and weight loss
  • Restricting your social life because of food concerns
  • Limiting your food intake to a small range of things you trust

If this describes you, you may want to talk to your doctor or therapist about orthorexia nervosa.