Orthorexia – obsession with healthy eating

Pursuing a healthy diet and rethinking your eating habits from time to time makes a lot of sense. On the other hand, if you’re constantly checking the ingredients and nutritional values of every food item and permanently anxious about what you eat, you may be suffering from orthorexia. This health tip explains what this is all about.
Whole food is the only option, and it all must come from organic shops. Any food with artificial additives is to be avoided at all costs. At lunch, the person at the other table hungrily tucking into a pizza gets a disapproving look. Such scenarios are indicative of orthorexia, i.e. an obsession with buying and eating healthy food. But those suffering from this disorder are not any healthier or happier.

What is orthorexia?

The term "orthorexia" is a combination of the Greek words orthos (meaning “correct”) and orexis (meaning “appetite”) and can be translated as “correct appetite”. The way that the term is used, however, indicates an obsessive concern with the nutritional value of food.

Unlike in the case of dieting, those suffering from orthorexia are not concerned with losing weight, but with eating “correctly.” They constantly think of carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, narrowing their focus solely on matters relating to nutrition. Eating isn't fun anymore – it has become an obsession instead. In such a case, the person may have a very healthy diet but is paying a heavy psychological price. For example, the favourite vegetable is shunned because it has more calories than another one. Those affected are always trying to optimise their meal plan – even after all the potential for improvement has been exhausted. The psychological pressure continues to build, and the person will ultimately need to contact a doctor and get help.
But food should also be a source of pleasure, and you should definitely make an offbeat choice once in a while, as long as you don't overdo it. Ellen Weber, a nutritionist at santé24

Balanced meals

Healthy eating has primarily to do with a balanced diet that provides the body with all the energy and nutrients it needs. "But food should also be a source of pleasure, and you should definitely make an offbeat choice once in a while, as long as you don't overdo it" explains Ellen Weber, a nutritionist at santé24. A complete meal consists of one or more unsweetened drinks (e.g. water or tea), one or more vegetables, a carbohydrate-rich food (e.g. potatoes or rice) and a protein-rich food (e.g. fish, poultry or eggs).

SWICA supports healthy nutrition

A balanced diet strengthens wellbeing and health over the long term. As a holistic healthcare organisation, SWICA focuses on the health of its customers and not on their illnesses. That's why SWICA customers enjoy prevention contributions of up to CHF 600 per year plus a wide range of health offers relating to nutrition.


18.03.2020
In the event of further health-related questions, SWICA customers can contact the santé24 telemedicine service free of charge on +41 44 404 86 86. A telemedicine practice licence allows santé24 physicians to provide additional medical services in cases that are suited to a telemedicine approach. SWICA customers can also use the BENECURA medical app to carry out a digital SymptomCheck and receive recommendations about what to do next. During a subsequent phone call with santé24, customers can decide for themselves whether to release their information from SymptomCheck to santé24.