How fine a line is it?!

According to this article from british paper The Guardian, a Californian doctor has “discovered” a new disease.  That disease?  Healthy eating.  They’ve cleverly named it “orthorexia nervosa.”  It’s defined as having a “fixation on righteous eating.”

Key quote:

“There is a fine line between people who think they are taking care of themselves by manipulating their diet and those who have orthorexia.”

Mike Adams, aka The Health Ranger, has a lovely rant on the website Natural News about the ludicrous nature of such a claim.

Key quote:

Getting back to this fabricated “orthorexia” disease, the Guardian goes on to report, “Orthorexics commonly have rigid rules around eating. Refusing to touch sugar, salt, caffeine, alcohol, wheat, gluten, yeast, soya, corn and dairy foods is just the start of their diet restrictions. Any foods that have come into contact with pesticides, herbicides or contain artificial additives are also out.”

Wait a second. So attempting to avoid chemicals, dairy, soy and sugar now makes you a mental health patient? Yep. According to these experts. If you actually take special care to avoid pesticides, herbicides and genetically modified ingredients like soy and sugar, there’s something wrong with you.

But did you notice that eating junk food is assumed to be “normal?” If you eat processed junk foods laced with synthetic chemicals, that’s okay with them. The mental patients are the ones who choose organic, natural foods, apparently.

Ah well…  If this is crazy, I don’t wanna be sane.


2 Responses to How fine a line is it?!

  1. G says:

    Hmm, I would say there is a case for this even if it seems poorly-made in this example. When you see all the very different food belief-systems that people stick to dogmatically, it all looks rather cultish and obssessive. I saw on Mark’s Daily Apple someone freaking out about chemicals in plants that are evolved to be hostile to animals; she was saying ‘oh my god, I’m going to have to go full carnivore’.

    But while the plants evolved measures to put off grazing animals, the animals also evolved countermeasures.

    Nutrition is simply a field that is not well mapped out, yet people select fragments of this incomplete knowledge-jigsaw (or take someone else’s word on faith) and just run with it.

    I was learning about and sort-of following a paleo diet along with a HIT weight-training regime. Then I read about a couple of different bodybuilding legends who were really strict vegetarians. Like the paleo people, they talked about their dietary habits like they were obviously true for everyone, scientifically proven. The HIT people say work out infrequently; these guys were working out every day and saying that this is the best way.

    I think people should practice ‘epistemic humility’ and admit the limits of science and knowledge, choosing to do only what is obviously, broadly beneficial and avoid what is obviously, broadly bad. For exqample: don’t eat the same pesticide-ridden type of food frequently over weeks/months/years; don’t drink alcohol frequently over weeks/months/years; regularly eat foods with all the basic vitamins, minerals and amino acids humans need. And I would say don’t fuss about what exercise is ‘optimal’ – just do something sufficient for good long-term health and functionality that is not injurious. I think that Mark has a healthy approach to this subject, showing people how to do basic bodyweight exercise etc.

  2. G says:

    I guess I wandered into my own pet subject there; what I want to say, on-topic, in a nutshell is that it’s not so much about a ‘fine line’ as a qualitative difference between being sensibly and rationally self-interested (viewing different belief-systems with equinamity, without subscribing) and micromanaging in the dark with an illusory sense of understanding and control.

    I think that a lot of people secretly hope to live forever.

    I wonder whether there really were people in ancient China and India who were able to live for centuries?

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