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Healthy Food Mania


Healthy food mania isn’t an official diagnosis, but the basic idea is that it includes eating habits in which various foods are rejected for being “healthy” enough. People with a healthy food mania avoid whole meals because they don’t fit their standards or because they don’t make them themselves.

Eating nutritious food is good for human health, but an obsession with healthy food can have the opposite effect, harming health and negatively affecting happiness.

Stephen Bratman, a California physician with a doctorate in medicine, coined the term “healthy food mania” in 1996. It means “focus on healthy eating,” Many doctors have since approved the time.
Some experts believe there is a similarity between healthy food mania and eating disorders. Such as bingeing, anorexia nervosa and everything related to food and its control.

Symptoms of Healthy Food Mania

When you have a healthy food mania, the following occurs:

Anxiety about food quality, as high levels of attention to the quality and source of foods lead to anxiety and panic. Avoid eating out or eating food made by others for fear that foods don’t meet standards. Fear of illness and anxiety about the cleanliness of food or its harm to health.

When limiting the diversity of foods, the body may not get the nutrition it needs, resulting in weight loss. Spending a few minutes scanning a product’s label or surfing the web for more information about food ingredients is normal, but with a healthy food obsession, it can take many hours to think about food and plan meals.

Refusal to eat a wide range of foods: It is normal to avoid certain foods because they do not taste palatable, but with a healthy food obsession, you may prevent whole categories of foods from the diet, such as stopping eating cereals or any foods containing preservatives, gluten, sugar, or any food that does not seem healthy.

Fear of losing self-control. A person feels good when eating healthy, but for someone with this obsession, eating one meal they didn’t prepare on their own, such as dinner at a restaurant, is disastrous.

Excessive criticism about food choices without a logical explanation for this.

Entering a vicious circle, as preoccupation with food makes a person hesitate between self-love and guilt, especially during diet change and restriction.

Causes and Risk Factors

Anyone can develop an eating disorder, and although the causes and risk factors may vary from person to person, they are divided into three main groups:

Biological: A person close to an eating disorder or a history of dieting, or having type I diabetes.
Psychological: the desire to reach perfection, dissatisfaction with body shape or previous suffering from anxiety.
Social/cultural: Being ridiculed or bullied about weight, experiencing a family trauma that has spanned generations, or being preoccupied with the idea of having the “perfect” body.


Your doctor or dietitian can help people with healthy food mania, such as bulimia and loss of appetite. Because emotion is essential, a mental health professional may be asked to see a mental health professional.

There are no approved criteria for diagnosis because a healthy food mania is not included in the guidelines doctors use to diagnose DSM-5 mental health conditions.

In 2016, Bratman and Dr Thomas Dunn, a professor at the University of Northern Colorado, proposed a two-part diagnostic criterion for diagnosing the condition:

Standard A: A person obsessed with healthy eating becomes depressed because of the feeling that food choices are unhealthy and, as a result, loses weight, not because of his desire to reduce weight. In addition to:

  • Follow food rules and adhere to them firmly because of the belief that they promote health.
  • Breaking the rules creates fear of illness, anxiety, and shame about food choices.
  • Over time, the rules become harsher.

Standard B: On mental health and physical problems

  • A strict diet can lead to malnutrition, severe weight loss, or other issues.
  • Strict rules can cause problems in social relationships, the workplace or school.
  • It is believed that a healthy body and self-esteem depend on how well you follow the rules of healthy eating.

Treatment of Healthy Food Mania

The key to treatment is to realize that eating healthy food is good for health. How the mania person deals with it will cause harm. That is, people need to train themselves to think differently about it.

As for believing that there is an unhealthy relationship with eating, your doctor may suggest appropriate eating strategies. Common treatments include

Prevention of exposure and response to discomfort: The less exposure to a situation that causes anxiety, the less misery. Behaviour modification: Understand and change the harmful effects of past actions. Cognitive restructuring or cognitive rebuilding behaviour helps to identify habits and beliefs that cause stress and replace them with less intense thoughts and actions.

Various forms of relaxation: such as breathing exercises, guided imagination, meditation and yoga, and tai chi practice.

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