Experts Concerned That Restrictive Food Trends Are Making It Harder To Diagnose Eating Disorders

Veganism, clean eating.

Experts Concerned That Restrictive Food Trends Are Making It Harder To Diagnose Eating Disorders Stock image

Experts have warned that restrictive diets and lifestyle choices may be making it more difficult for dietitians and doctors to treat eating disorders.

This comes amid fears that diets that while as vegan or 'clean eating' trends have boomed, the restrictive diet practice can mask eating disorders.

Furthermore, with the purpose of these eating plans being to cut out certain foods or groups completely, this could legitimise obsessive eating tendencies and validate dangerous attitudes towards food.

“Eating disorders thrive on rules and restriction, and they find vegan diets very attractive because­ they offer simple hard-line rules, cutting out anything derived­ from an animal source, and provide­ a ‘valid’ reason­ for the restriction,” Centre for Integrative Health dietitian Kate Lane told the Daily Telegraph.

“However, it is very important to remember that people are more than their eating disorder.

"They have interests, beliefs and values that are very important to them, which cannot be dismissed, and may be valid reasons for pursuing a vegan diet.

"The difficulty comes with the entanglement of the eating disorder’s agenda and a person’s true self.”

This is a further concern of dietitians, with it stressed that 'breaking' a vegan diet should not be seen as a failure, but necessary if for health or other reasons.

And while adopting a vegan diet may be an ethical decision based on animal rights, experts warn against joining the movement for 'unhealthy' reasons - such as dramatic weight loss through excessive restriction.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, you can contact the National Butterfly Helpline on 1800 33 4673.

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