Symptoms and Theory

Symptoms of orthorexia nervosa may include obsession with healthy eating, emaciation, and death by starvation. Orthorexic subjects typically have specific feelings towards different types of food. The obsession for healthy foods could come from a number of sources such as family habits, society trends, economic problems, recent illness, or even just hearing something negavive about a food type or group, which then leads them to ultimately eliminate the food or foods from their diet. Preserved products are described as "dangerous", industrially produced products as "artificial", and biological products as "healthy". Sufferers demonstrate a strong or uncontrollable desire to eat when feeling nervous, excited, happy or guilty. According to the abstract of a 2004 study quoted on PubMed, a service of the National Institutes of Health, "The analysis of the physiological characteristics, the social-cultural and the psychological behaviour that characterises subjects suffering from ON shows a higher prevalence in men and in those with a lower level of education."