Aug 22, 2018
Self Screening

Orthorexia is a pattern of disordered eating when an individual becomes obsessed with only eating foods they consider to be “clean” or “healthy.” As a result, they can experience a host of detrimental physical and emotional consequences.

After he coined the term “orthorexia” in 1996, Steven Bratman, MD, MPH, co-author of Health Food Junkies: Orthorexia Nervosa: Overcoming the Obsession with Healthful Eating and current Staff Physician at NorthBay Healthcare in Fairfield, Calif., developed the following “Bratman Orthorexia Self-Test.” It includes a number of questions to help individuals identify if they have gone too far with healthy eating.

If you are a healthy-diet enthusiast, and you answer yes to any of the following questions, you may be developing orthorexia nervosa:

1. I spend so much of my life thinking about, choosing, and preparing healthy food that it interferes with other dimensions of my life, such as love, creativity, family, friendship, work, and school.

2. When I eat any food I regard to be unhealthy, I feel anxious, guilty, impure, unclean and/or defiled; even to be near such foods disturbs me, and I feel judgmental of others who eat such foods.

3. My personal sense of peace, happiness, joy, safety, and self-esteem is excessively dependent on the purity and rightness of what I eat.

4. Sometimes I would like to relax my self-imposed “good food” rules for a special occasion, such as a wedding or a meal with family or friends, but I find that I cannot. (Note: If you have a medical condition in which it is unsafe for you to make any exception to your diet, then this item does not apply.)

5. Over time, I have steadily eliminated more foods and expanded my list of food rules in an attempt to maintain or enhance health benefits; sometimes, I may take an existing food theory and add to it with beliefs of my own.

6. Following my theory of healthy eating has caused me to lose more weight than most people would say is good for me or has caused other signs of malnutrition, such as hair loss, loss of menstruation, or skin problems.

The Bratman Orthorexia Self-Test is printed with permission from Dr. Bratman. More information about the test can be found at:

Image by Peggy Greb, U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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