New Extreme Eating Disorder - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

New Extreme Eating Disorder

We've all heard of Anorexia and Bulimia, but now there's an eating disorder that takes it one step further, and it's taking root in everyone from kids to adults.

Nuchamon James fought herself, and simple snacks, for two decades. Her near-fatal fight with anorexia included a bout with "orthorexia," a rising, deadly disorder. 

"They need to know exactly what's going in, what it's doing, how much, what the calorie count is." Maria Henao says orthorexia starts as an obsessive mind game.

Orthorexics want to know where their food came from, how it got to their plate, what it's made of, and what it's doing once it hits their stomach. In short, they want to control all aspects of eating.

Location is also key. Orthorexics keep their food away from yours in the fridge, as any mingling might lead to an imagined contamination. And at the grocery store, orthorexics often stock up on foods with no artificial flavors, no artificial colors, and no preservatives.

Experts say it's too strict, with drastic, dangerous weight loss likely to follow.

"Unfortunately, it's a shameful thing, and people don't understand it."

Neither did Nuchamon until the last time her husband took her to a rehab clinic, when she nearly died. "He had this worried look, for 20 years, and I just looked at him and I couldn't do it anymore."

And with confidence and clinical help, she began embracing the foods she'd blacklisted for so long. "There's hope, and there's help, okay? Don't give up."

Despite the life-altering repercussions, orthorexia is not an "officially" recognized eating disorder. Regardless, dieticians say it's often a companion to other well-known disorders like anorexia and bulimia.

Experts agree the condition's genesis is often linked to early-life trauma, but can be treated with therapy.

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