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Let’s Set the Record Straight

Posted on Aug 23, 2017 by in Food addiction recovery | 2 comments

Let’s Set the Record Straight

(c) by Emily Boller

In recent years, there have been some misconceptions floating around cyberspace, and today I want to set the record straight.

Many Americans have food addictions; dependency on, and entanglements to high-fat/high-salt processed foods, sweets, sodas, and foods/beverages that are unhealthy for the body’s best performance.

Eating disorders, however, are not the same as food addictions, and only a small percentage of the population suffer from eating disorders. (Although, many who suffer from them may be wrestling with food addictions too.)

Eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder) are life-threatening illnesses that require professional help for recovery for most sufferers.

Many naïve people are currently being led astray by a word floating around cyberspace: orthorexia—a label given to those in pursuit of healthy eating.

While it may be true that some could push even healthy eating to an obsessive extreme, the majority of people never go to such extremes unless they have deeply ingrained and unresolved psychological and emotional issues to overcome—which have little to nothing to do with food per se.

Orthorexia has been carelessly tossed around Facebook in recent years, and an unofficial label could do more harm than good if one doesn’t understand the science behind food addiction and what makes up optimal health.

Dr. Fuhrman has said that there is no such thing as orthorexia for someone who is truly pursuing health. This individual would not restrict his or her caloric intake to become too thin and malnourished—that is an oxymoron of what health is all about! Optimal health involves maintaining a favorable muscle and skeletal mass too.

It’s also a false notion that omitting “normal food” (ie: junk food/fast food) from one’s diet is so-called pathologic. It’s untrue that promoting a healthy outlook on food should include eating chicken fingers, macaroni and cheese, hot dogs, chips, donuts, and cake—if one wants to eat them. Such teaching is misguided and irresponsible.

It is a scientifically proven fact that eating highly palatable foods (high-fat, high-salt, low-nutrient and processed foods) will blunt the dopamine reward response in the brain; therefore, triggering the vicious cycle of overeating.

One must pay attention to the dietary quality of food or cravings will be too intense to ignore. Eating these “normal” foods causes a greater desire for them.

Furthermore, eating highly palatable foods and animal products contributes to developing diabetes, heart disease, depression, autoimmune disease, hypertension, osteoarthritis, degenerative disk disease, allergies, obesity, cancer, and a myriad of other illnesses. There is absolutely nothing normal about having one’s chest cut open to bypass clogged arteries–or having a limb amputated due to diabetes complications.

Dr. Fuhrman has also said that encouraging people to eat disease-promoting foods, just because it is socially acceptable, is no better than promoting smoking as a socially acceptable pastime, or giving people a negative diagnostic label who do not smoke or use drugs or alcohol.

Be careful not to confuse “normal eating”—eating the same foods that most Americans eat—with foods that promote health and well being, including optimal mental health too.

All of the misguided information on Facebook and in the news illustrates just how pervasive and ingrained self-destructive food habits are in our culture.

Don’t let social media derail your journey out of food addiction.

Instead, continue to follow the path that will enable you to enjoy a life that is free of chronic diseases.

Here’s to freedom to all!


Disclaimer: A physician should be consulted if you are requiring medical attention.

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  1. Thank you, Emily. If there’s anything that causes me to doubt, it is the idea that to eat “normally”, i.e. to allow myself to eat anything and everything, in moderation, is best, most balanced and all around healthy. I just don’t want to do that. I don’t feel healthy or balanced that way. It does take some effort and attention to eat more carefully, but people who don’t take that care still think about food quite a bit – in anticipation, in preparation, and in remorse. This is an important message. Thank you for it.

    • You are welcome, Lisa.

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