How can one be too healthy? Surely, if healthy is good and very healthy is very good then too healthy is …
… not the right thing for your body AT ALL!!!
I came across the term orthorexia in a newspaper article quite recently. Orthorexia is the name of the disease people have when they want to eat only healthy food to the point of depriving themselves and malnourishing themselves.
It’s ironic indeed that by wanting super good nutrition some people end up with malnutrition!
Here’s Why Being Too Healthy Leads To Illness
Orthorexic people are obsessed with eating pure food. It might start because of family habits, social trends, recent illness or reading/hearing something negative about such and such food. It might start slowly by eliminating just one type of food, then another, feeling better, more energised, then eliminating yet more food until the food specifications list gets quite long indeed:
- – organic
- – no added sugar
- – no artificial additives
- – no GM
- – no unhealthy ingredients (hydrogenated fat, caffeine, sweeteners, corn syrup, invert sugar, antioxydants, salt,..)
- – no undesirable ingredients (lactose, gluten, …)
- – low in saturated fats
- – high in essential fatty acids
- – locally produced
- – …
There is some underlying truth in this list and some good advice – some of it you’ll find in this very website – but imagine ONLY buying food that fits ALL these criteria. You’ll be left with very little choice. Taken to its extreme, orthorexic people will lose weight (not because they want to lose weight but because they just don’t eat enough), may suffer malnutrition and even die.
Another issue I have with this list is the ban on food groups like salt, undesirable ingredients, sugar rather than a reduction of consumption. If you are not lactose intolerant, why ban lactose?
Enjoy Good Food
You see, I love the whole ‘You are what you eat’ idea. I want healthy food for me and my family. But, being French, you won’t stop me frying my eggs in butter (shallow frying that is). It tastes sooooo good.
What is desirable is a healthy body, energy, vitality, good skin but you don’t have to go over the top to achieve it. Improve your diet by all means, get healthier ingredients, watch the quantities, exercise but remember moderation, remember to break your rules once in a while and, above all, take the time to enjoy good food.
In all things, I try to remember Voltaire: The Best is the enemy of the Good (le mieux est l’ennemi du bien).
Again, Be Healthy. take advice and put it into action, but don’t go over the top. Good health is often about doing things in moderation. Doing things in the extremes or to excess is often a recipe for disaster. Be healthy, observe good health practices (check out the health section of our site here: Improve Your Health or our 10-Point Health Plan for some great free advice) but remember to be realistic.
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