FADDY ABOUT FOODS; Analysis: FIRST There Was Anorexia and Bulimia. Now a New Form of Eating Disorder Is Emerging
Byline: by Sasha Mansworth
THE overindulgence of the New Year is now a distant memory and after a few weeks of snacking on lettuce leaves and raw carrots, as far as you're concerned, any resolution to eat healthily can begin in 2003.
But as you gorge on yet another plate of pie and chips washed down with a fizzy drink, don't despair - at least you're not suffering from orthorexia nervosa.
The condition was coined by Colorado-based specialist Dr Steven Bratman, who believes increasing numbers of people are becoming fixated with dietary purity.
Whereas anorexics and bulimics focus on the quantity of their food, orthorexics are obsessed with the quality, he claims.
But many health experts are sceptical about orthorexia which comes from the Greek orthos, (which means correct or right), and orexis (appetite).
One doctor noted the fact that if you give something a Latin name, people pay far more attention to it.
Some health professionals think orthorexia may be as prevalent as other eating disorders but is harder to detect because it is often viewed as good eating habits.
Ann Carroll, a counsellor for Eating Disorders Wales (EDW), says fixations with dietary purity are now "more widely talked about".
She says: "In the beginning it was anorexia and then bulimia.
The Eating Disorder Association didn't recognise compulsive eating until two or three years ago.
"Now it's in the media more.
Before eating disorders were a secret, but now it's OK to have one because so many celebrities have one."
Fixations with faddy diets can lead to just as many health problems as their better known cousins anorexia and bulimia.
"Diets do not work - you will lose weight in the short term - but eventually you will put weight back on - plus extra, as the body is like a machine and will claw back what it's lost, " she says.
Ann tells people who attend EDW groups - which meet on alternate Thursday evenings - that if they can't see food as a pleasurable experience then to view it simply as fuel.
Women may be more susceptible to eating disorders than men because they tend to be more concerned about their weight and consequently their food intake.
Allergy sufferers can also slide into orthorexia by refusing to eat a specific food or food group.
Aficionados of wacky diets may also be at risk - and celebrity fans of restrictive eating practices may be unconsciously putting their health under strain. …