Can you live without junk food

Article series “The Right Measure” III - Orthorexia vs. Junk Food

What is the topic of nutrition doing on a blog about triathlon and fitness - especially in a series of articles about the right measure? Very much! Because, as some know, efficient bodies are only partially formed through training.

The rest is made up of nutrition, our fuel, so to speak.

It can either support our training success or destroy it completely.

There are of course a wide variety of opinions about how we should eat best.

At this point, however, it should rather be about the question of which extremes harm our body and what, in contrast, represents a good average.

On the one hand, there may be people who have lost their temper because they eat too much and too unhealthily.

But there are also those who get sick because they try exactly the opposite of it and fall into a pathological compulsion to control, orthorexia.

The following contribution is the III. Part of the series of articles about the “right measure”. You can read the first two articles about the balance between routine and variety or sports addiction and power couching in the provided links!

The article content for you at a glance:

Why junk food is addicting

In theory, I think it is clear to everyone that junk / fast food is usually not the healthiest way to eat.

In practice, one or the other is probably more often drawn to the chip shop, to the kebab shop or to chips, cola and chocolate.

Be it out of a stress reaction, out of boredom or simply because the body is not supplied with sufficient nutrients and vitamins and then cries out for faster energy (keyword cravings).

This - rather counterproductive - reaction can sometimes also occur as a reward for a certain amount of exercise.

Unfortunately, this popular combination of sugar and fat doesn't just make you hungry, fat and fat
sick - to put it very drastically, but also addicted.

Because the ingredients used for this do not contain any high-quality nutrients, but trans fats and artificially produced carbohydrates, which upset the metabolism and can cause cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, for example.

In addition, those contained in fast food are Flavor enhancers designed so that you need something to eat again as soon as possible and preferably exactly the same unhealthy burger, pizza or ice cream.

This is why it is so difficult to get used to "healthy" eating habits.

Orthorexia vs. Junk Food

Suppose your body has been trimmed to Nutella for a lifetime.

Whether you like it or not; he then no longer perceives the sweetness of an apple or a banana at all, because your sense of taste is more or less “spoiled”.

Getting your taste buds used to food as bland as fresh fruits and vegetables takes a while and requires some training, but it is possible.

For example, by gradually giving up additional sugar and sweetened foods (from soft drinks to fruit yoghurts to ready-made meals) and trying to taste the natural flavors again.

And also by keeping in mind what the body actually needs in order to be efficient and to function:

good fats and proteins and carbohydrates from foods that are as natural as possible. (More on this in our article on nutritional basics)

If you absolutely do not know what is healthy and good for your body, you can also use this food overview as a guide.

What can i eat?

Despite or perhaps because of the unhealthy alternatives that are always available, it has become more and more fashionable in recent years to eat healthily.

But in times of Veganism, Low carb diets and all kinds of Food intolerance (against lactose, gluten and recently also fructose or sorbitol) it is sometimes difficult to keep track of the healthy or "allowed" foods and ingredients.

The question really arises:

What actually is “correct nutrition”?

First of all, it is important to note that there is no universally correct form of nutrition!

Even if scientific studies want you to believe that one or the other method has proven to be the most successful - there are certainly just as many studies that claim the opposite.

The problem with the matter is that the clients themselves often come from the food industry and therefore have an interest in obtaining certain results in order to be able to sell their products better.

I don't want to say now that science in general cannot be believed.

But there is not just one single path that leads to the goal.

The human body is not only very adaptable, but also individually different and needs different fuel for different requirements.

While one swears by raw food, the other can cause extreme digestive problems.

And if someone has had good experiences with not using cow's milk and products made from it, this does not have to apply equally to you.

It is of course perfectly understandable and logical for people with a food intolerance to avoid foods that have been shown to be bad for their bodies.

It is also quite understandable that people should refrain from consuming animal products for ethical reasons (be it animal welfare, the ecological footprint or other aspects of meat production).

There is absolutely nothing wrong with such a decision of conscience. However, this is no reason to make others feel guilty because they are so “backward” to still eat meat.

Or rather, trying to convince them that animal products are sure to harm their organism in one way or another.

Just as with veganism and vegetarianism, in my opinion, it is also with low-carb diets or other diets where certain foods such as wheat and dairy products are taboo.

The real problem is not so much the apparently ignorant meat eaters, white bread munchers or cow's milk drinkers, but the assumption that there is a universal diet and that it has to be preached to everyone.

Everything is allowed!

So don't let the many nutrition trends drive you crazy!
Quitting wheat may help you lose weight. It is equally possible that not.

What is definitely of no use to you is a cramped attitude towards food!

Because stress (for example with the nutrition plan) increases your cortisol level in the body and tends to cause fat to be stored.

I am not saying that it is not worth eating healthily in general.

But the right weighting and attitude are also important.

After all, it is nourishment for the body there and not the body for food!

Eating should give us strength for our daily tasks, instead of pondering what to “should and shouldn't” rob us of energy for everything else.

Orthorexia or the fear of the unhealthy

As you can see, there are people who get sick from an unhealthy, unbalanced or unbalanced diet.

But there are also people who are sick because they are constantly wondering what is healthy for them and what is not!

This can be seen as a particularly elaborate lifestyle or as compulsive behavior that robs all vitality and energy!

This clinical picture is called Orthorexia, i.e. the Compulsion to eat “right”.

This compulsion often arises from the fear of losing shape, face or control if one does not stick to the given eating schedule.

And it can make you sick not only in the head, but also in the body.

Eating sickly healthy !?

As orthorexia has not yet been adequately researched, its character is controversial among medical professionals.

Whether it is a sub-form of other eating disorders or just an independent clinical picture has not yet been conclusively clarified.

Fundamentally different, however, is that it is not the amount of food that is consumed that is decisive, but its quality.

The transitions to a consciously healthy diet are also fluid.

Many of those affected have very complicated rules regarding the quality, ingredients and preparation of their food.

Some believe that they are only allowed to eat certain foods or combinations of foods.

Others have very precise ideas about when they will have their meal.

What they all have in common is the fear of getting sick if the rules are broken.

And the risk of slipping into a more serious eating disorder such as anorexia.

The orthorexia is probably caused by psychological factors.

Eating disorder makes people feel like they have control over their lives that they may have lost elsewhere.

Orthorexia is therefore not infrequently associated with depression or anxiety disorders.

It mainly affects people who, for example, are very much concerned with the topic of healthy eating in the course of a change in diet or because of their job.

It is estimated that around 1-3% of the population suffer from it, two thirds of them women.

Symptoms

Even if the tests developed so far to determine orthorexia were unsatisfactory, some symptoms can indicate abnormal eating behavior:

  • constant thinking about meal planning
  • Orientation of the entire day to the food
  • Time consuming preparation of meals
  • strongly ritualized eating behavior
  • Enjoyment takes a back seat
  • Missionary zeal for "proper nutrition"
  • no insight into compulsive eating behavior
  • low motivation to change

consequences

Since many people do not realize that they are suffering from an eating disorder, many only seek medical help when they have physical symptoms.

The consequences of orthorexia can endanger health, but are usually not life-threatening:

  • Malnutrition
  • insomnia
  • Skin problems
  • exhaustion
  • unwanted weight loss
  • social isolation

treatment

If you now have the impression that you may have orthorexia yourself, then you should definitely seek professional help!

Usually such an eating disorder is treated with a combination of psychotherapy and nutritional advice.

Since it is difficult to get rid of these controlling thoughts, a lot of patience and time is required.

But it's worth working on!

Otherwise, your attitude towards life will be so impaired that you simply can no longer enjoy a lot.

And eating in particular is a way of enjoying life.

Conclusion

Have you ever been annoyed when you intended to eat in a controlled manner, but occasionally went overboard?

Comfort yourself: then at least you don't seem to be affected by orthorexia! ;)

It's perfectly okay to eat fast foods or unhealthy foods every now and then.

And even if it feels good to be in control of what you eat, don't overdo it!

A meal that is not completely what you want to eat healthy is not going to make you sick!

Your body will thank you if you pay attention to what you eat; but it will certainly do your psyche good if you ignore it a few times. It all depends on the right amount!

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Note: All of our recommendations have been carefully selected, developed and checked. They are aimed at healthy adults who have no (previous) illnesses. None of our articles can or should be a substitute for competent medical advice. Before you start training, please consult a doctor and get a check-up.