New Eating Disorder - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

4/25/02

New Eating Disorder

We've heard of Anorexia, when people who are consumed with being thin just quit eating. But there's a new eating disorder that's beginning to get some attention, it's called Orthorexia, which is basically an obsession with eating only healthy foods.

Sure, fruits and vegetables are good for you. The American Cancer Society recommends five servings a day. But for people like Veronica Lekstutis, healthy eating has become an obsession. "For breakfast I would have six or seven apples. I began to believe that it wasn't good to eat meat sources, that it wasn't good to eat any grain," says Veronica Lekstutis, Orthorexia patient.

"I think it is an obsession that feeds any eating disorder, the lack of moderation, the lack of balance the need for control, and so, while Anorexia is more obsessed with the quantity of food, Orthorexia would be more obsessed with the quality of the food," says Dr. Anna Desantis.

The term Orthorexia has not been officially recognized in treatment books, yet therapists say that they're seeing the disorder more and more in patients. Anna says its easy to spot, but it is difficult to treat because of the belief that it's healthy eating. By the way, nutritionists like Cindy Banta at Covenant say it's important to have a well balanced diet because anytime you leave out a food group, you're leaving out nutrients.

In the case of all fruits and vegetables, you're missing protein and fat. Cindy says that we all need some fat in our diet. When our skin gets dry, it keeps the body lubricated. Fat helps protect the organs, it keeps us warm, and it helps in the production of hormones.

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