When clean eating goes too far



With all of the attention lately on gluten free, natural, organic and whole grain foods, it’s easy to go a bit overboard and let your concern of eating “clean foods” turn into an obsession.

In recent years, a study has been done on this obsession, and it is now considered an eating disorder.

According to National eating disorders website, there are certain criteria to determine if someone has orthorexia:

Consider the following questions. The more questions you respond “yes” to, the more likely you are dealing with orthorexia.

  • Do you wish that occasionally you could just eat and not worry about food quality?
  • Do you ever wish you could spend less time on food and more time living and loving?
  • Does it seem beyond your ability to eat a meal prepared with love by someone else – one single meal – and not try to control what is served?
  • Are you constantly looking for ways foods are unhealthy for you?
  • Do love, joy, play and creativity take a back seat to following the perfect diet?
  • Do you feel guilt or self-loathing when you stray from your diet?
  • Do you feel in control when you stick to the “correct” diet?
  • Have you put yourself on a nutritional pedestal and wonder how others can possibly eat the foods they eat? 

Now, some of these points occur in gluten free eating.  We have to be a bit obsessed for our own safety and comfort.  But orthorexics carry this obsession over into all food types, not just gluten free foods.  This can prove to be unhealthy, and even dangerous.

As a blogger who focuses on gluten free living, I feel I have an obligation to make sure that anyone who chooses to follow a gluten free lifestyle is doing so for the right reasons.  It seems that with all of the blogs out there, there are some that are truly misleading.  The focus on clean eating by bloggers is causing people, especially young, impressionable people to develop eating disorders.

According to the website The Mirror:

Clean eating diets can be a “catastrophe” for young people at risk of anorexia and bulimia.

Dr Mark Berelowitz, an eating disorder specialist, said 80%-90% of his patients at the Royal Free Hospital in North London followed clean eating diets.

The restrictive diets, which exclude sugar, meat, dairy products, carbohydrates and gluten, are championed by celebrity bloggers and there are hundreds of instagram accounts promoting clean eating.

Berelowitz said that while cutting out carbohydrates and fat was good advice for overweight adults, for teenagers and people who had a troubled relationship with food it could be dangerous.


You cannot eliminate all food groups and live a healthy lifestyle.  The dieter becomes obsessed with “dirty” foods, and before you know it, an eating disorder is born.

I have always said, and I will say again, be very careful when eliminating food groups from your diet.  Consult a nutritionist, or your doctor for advice on how to do so safely.  And for your own sake, don’t believe everything you read on the internet.  Do your research, and be your own advocate.  Your life could depend upon it.



6 Comments Add yours

  1. I know I have taken things with eating too far. It is mental. Today I went shopping and bought loads of sweets and then found a new package that said Gluten free on it. I was had. I thought well this must mean healthier and will not make me fat even though I still bought all the other packages of Gluten and gelatin sweets!


    1. glutenfreelady says:

      It’s an easy trap to fall into. I can vouch that gluten free has not made me lose weight!


  2. I love this! I am a fan of clean eating, but it doesn’t stop me from eating what I want if I want. I eat clean most of the time, but I don’t restrict myself.


    1. glutenfreelady says:

      My son is the same way. That’s a very healthy viewpoint. Thanks for sharing!


  3. Marlene Rahn says:

    Great Information. I’ll be back for more great information.


    1. glutenfreelady says:

      Thanks so much. I’m glad it was helpful.


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