Not Your Mother’s Eating Disorder

In the era of Instagram-able gym routines and #bestcleaneating recipes, it’s no wonder that the face of eating disorders has changed.

When it comes to a suspect eating disorder, it’s no longer the girl who leaves lunch early to throw it up in the bathroom, or the girl who lives on carrot sticks for weeks to maintain her waif-like presence. Today, disordered eating may be less about hiding and more about disguising it in a socially acceptable way.

The Clean Eating Disorder
Orthorexia was a term coined from the late 90’s. It refers to an obsession with “healthy” eating that may mean allowing oneself to ingest only raw foods, whole foods, or foods with X amount of protein. Being aware of what you put in your body is a good thing, but this awareness takes an entirely new trajectory with orthorexia. Those with orthorexia become so fixated on what they eat that the behavior bleeds into their social behaviors, work life, and ability to enjoy themselves.

Atypical Anorexia Nervosa
With this condition, a person exhibits other anorexic features without low weight, but still has the fear of being fat. They might eliminate certain foods, avoid events, or snack rather than eating regular meals.

The No Gluten Ticket
Celiac disease is a genetic propensity to developing an autoimmune disorder that affects the small intestine. Gut cells are affected and when a person with celiac consumes gluten—a protein found in rye, wheat, or barley—this results in unpleasant side effects and prevents the absorption of nutrients. This disease in itself is not a behavioral eating disorder, but studies are now showing that it can lead to an unhealthy preoccupation with food intake that manifests in an eating disorder. Since the treatment for celiac disease is a rigid diet that involves checking nutrient labels and limiting entire food groups, it can be an entry point to an unhealthy obsession with food.

Researchers found a positive association between celiac disease and anorexia nervosa in those with the diagnosis. Those above the age of 20 had almost twice the risk of developing anorexia after a celiac diagnosis.

The Model of Health