Scientists have analyzed the risk factors of orthorexia nervosa, that is the obsession with healthy food. To eat  following a healthy diet is certainly important, but in some cases, for example, for those suffering from depression, obsessive-compulsive behaviors or an eating disorder, it can be harmful to health.

Eating healthy can become a problem when it turns into obsession, and so scientists have published the first research that delves into the causes of orthorexia nervosa. Let's see what is orthorexia nervosa together and when attention to healthy nutrition can hurt your health.

Orthorexia nervosa and healthy food. All of us should follow a diet consisting of healthy foods, because it is also through what we eat that we can live healthily. However, there are cases in which attention to a healthy diet turns into an obsession that can be compared to other eating disorders or obsessive-compulsive behaviors, which are harmful. Indeed, scientists at York University's Faculty of Health argue that those most at risk are those with a history of eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive traits, a negative image of their body and a tendency to thinness.

The research. To better understand orthorexia nervosa, the experts developed the first in-depth study of psychological risk factors linked to this disorder by analyzing all the research published on the topic up to 2018. In general, the research led to the conclusion that the subjects predisposed to orthorexia nervosa are those who have obsessive-compulsive traits, and those who suffer from depression and other eating disorders.

Risky food habits. According to scientists, some choices and eating habits may for psychologically predisposed subjects – such as vegetarians and vegans – may lead to the onset of orthorexia. About gender, there is no real predisposition, males and females can suffer from orthorexia nervosa in equal measure, but young women are those that should be subjected to greater attention.

How to define orthorexia nervosa. Today, there is no single definition of orthorexia nervosa and the experts think that this lack should be resolved in order to understand how to properly intervene on the subjects who suffer from it.

The study, titled "Orthorexia nervosa: A review of psychosocial risk factors" was published in Appetite.