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Eating Health Does Extremely Healthy Eating Lead to Eating Disorders?

Irina Webster

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According to new research the promotion of healthy eating to fight obesity can drive some teenagers into eating disorders.

Also many adult women and men admit that the extremes of trying to eat healthy lead them into abnormal eating behaviors and later to a fully developed eating disorder.

So the question is how healthy for you is a “healthy eating plan" and diet?

From one point of view, it is good to make a healthy choice when you eat and it does help to fight obesity. But on the other hand there are people who get so obsessed with their eating habits that it becomes abnormal and absolutely out of control.

Most eating disorder sufferers say that their disorder started from a simple diet and trying to eat healthy. They also say that they became very emotional about their diet, weight and food.

For example here is a testimonial from a 24 year old woman who has been suffering from bulimia for the last 10 years: “It was very painful for me to hear people called me fatty and I began dieting. When I lost some weight people started complimenting me for the way I looked and it felt so rewarding that I only wanted to continue dieting and loosing more and more weight . . . I really associated loosing weight with a reward and big personal achievements, so I thought the more I do it the better I will become. And I pushed myself into an extremely restrictive regiment of diet and exercise.

Every week I reduced my calorie intake and increased the exercise time. Sometimes I was very hungry and felt jealous towards people who could eat whatever they wanted. I started dreaming about food - of what I would eat if I could.

Once I cheated and ate much more food then I planned to do. I felt disgusted with myself. Then I went to the toilet and made myself sick. This gave me an instant relief to my strained feelings.

On the next day I repeated it again, and again it made me feel better. I thought I discovered a new way to eat whatever I want and at the same time stay slim. I thought it was my own invention but it wasn't and that was how my bulimia was born. . . "

This is a typical story of the beginnings of anorexia-bulimia. So the question is would these people have developed an eating disorder without initially going on a “healthy" diet and an extreme exercise regiment? Probably not!

In conclusion it is fair to say that eating healthy still should be a major part of overall health education in schools and in public education.

But teaching about balance regarding peoples eating habits is probably much more important than just healthy eating at all costs. Teaching balance is crucial for any health program if it wants to stop the spread of eating disorders.

Dr Irina Webster MD is the Director of Women Health Issues Program. She is a recognized authority in the eating disorders area. She is an author of many books and a public speaker. To learn more about eating health eating disorders at


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