An All-Junk Diet, in Extreme Cases, Is Now Considered an Eating Disorder
Avoidant restrictive food intake disorder isn’t just “picky eating.”
By Katie Way
Sep 25 2019
We’re conditioned to believe that being thin means, health-wise and otherwise, we’re doing something right. A skinny body and “normal” body mass index (or BMI) are often accepted as evidence of baseline wellness, even though, medically speaking, we know that isn’t true. We know that in the United States, around a third of the people designated as “obese” by BMI metrics, and more than half of “overweight” people, are actually metabolically healthy. We also know that the BMI is a questionable framework in general.
The idea that a thin body is a healthy body is persistently harmful, no matter what pops up when you step on the scale, because it obscures real health problems that aren’t tied to weight. 25-year-old Jade Youngman, who described her diet to the Daily Mail as “pizza, plain pasta, [fries] and chicken nuggets,” said even though she falls within the “normal” weight range ascribed to her by the BMI, she lives with an eating disorder that impacts her life, called avoidant restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID, for short).
ARFID tends to develop out of childhood picky eating, and is often found in people with anxiety or autism spectrum disorders, according to the National Eating Disorder Association. Symptoms of ARFID include extreme limitations on foods consumed based on texture or taste, fear of choking or vomiting, phobic reactions to certain food items (like fruits or vegetables), and a lack of concern surrounding body image or weight gain. Notably, people with ARFID also tend to fall within the normal range in terms of body weight, despite lack of nutritious intake.
Healthcare professionals often overlook this eating disorder due to a lack of weight fluctuation. Youngman told the Daily Mail that doctors and acquaintances alike tend to brush off her concerns about her restrictive diet, and her social circle doesn’t always take her disorder seriously, either.
Read the full article HERE on vice.com