What is orthorexia?

Anorexia, bulimia, binge eating.... And now orthorexia: we demystify this little-known eating disorder.

With names such as Ashley Graham, Winnie Harlow and Tabria Major in magazines and fashion shows, the fashion world is slowly but surely including more body diversity. Yet, the often unrealistic beauty standards remain rigid—from the runway model figure to the Instagram fitness model physique—and sometimes leads to food obsessions and disorders. While most people are now sensitized to anorexia, closely followed by bulimia and binge eating, a widespread eating disorder remains relatively unknown. Orthorexia is an almost invisible disorder that strikes often without its victims even knowing it. Find out what is orthorexia and how to detect its signs.

1 What Is Orthorexia

healthy food
Brooke Lark | Unsplash

Orthorexia is an obsession with eating well. From an external point of view, it generally takes the form of a healthy diet. The problem lies therefore mainly on a psychological level. This condition involves neurotic behaviors linked to the need to eat only so-called healthy foods. Rather than focusing on the amount of food they ingest, people suffering from orthorexia are concerned about the amount and the nutritional value of what they eat.

2 How to Recognize the Signs of Orthorexia

meal in bed
picjumbo.com | Pexels

People suffering from orthorexia will experience anxiety about consuming products that are either processed, too high in fat, salt, sugar or that they simply consider unhealthy. They will feel extremely guilty about eating foods that they don’t consider nutritious. These extreme and obsessive restrictions can go as far as preventing them from going to restaurants or eating at others’ homes. Food, therefore, plays an extremely important, even debilitating, role in the lives of those suffering from orthorexia.


You think you or one of your loved ones might be struggling with orthorexia? Know that there are several ways to free oneself from this obsession with food. Consider consulting a specialist or contacting non-profit organizations such as the ANEB.

Crédit couverture : Henrique Félix | Unsplash