USA: (Huff. Post) Study Finds Vegetarianism Can Hide Eating Disorders
Study Finds Vegetarianism Can Hide Eating Disorders
Posted by: Bridgette P. LaVictoire <http://lezgetreal.com/author/sei/>
on August 3, 2012.
There are many valid reasons for someone to go vegan or vegetarian.
While not everyone can, and those who cannot often revert to a non-meat
exclusionary diet fairly quickly, there are people who validly need to
exclude meat from their diets. Unfortunately, this can also mask a real
problem- eating disorders.
New research may surprise those who do not deal with those who suffer
from eating disorders, but it has shown that a large percentage of women
who have eating disorders use vegetarianism and veganism as a way to
mask their eating disorders.
The study published by the Journal of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
found that 52% of women who have a history of eating disorders have been
vegetarians at some point in their lives. Only 12% of women without
eating disorders have even experimented with vegetarianism or veganism.
Vanessa Kane-Alves, a registered dietician with Boston Children's
Hospital's Eating Disorders Program, told the Huffington post that
"Going vegetarian can be another way to cut out a food category, or a
number of food categories, if you become a vegan. It makes it easier
when people ask you questions about where those foods have gone. It's a
more socially aceptable way to restrict foods." Kane-Alves was not part
of the study.
She also stated that "The takeaway of this study is, as a clinician, if
you have a patient who tells you they want to be a vegetarian, it's
worth exploring that more than you would have otherwise," she said. She
suggests doctors ask their patients why they want to go vegetarian.
The study did not find that vegetarianism causes eating disorders.
The Huffington Post explained that:
In the study, the motivation to go vegetarian was starkly different
between women with eating disorders and those who were not. None of
the women without eating disorders reported becoming vegetarians to
lose weight. In contrast, almost half of those with an eating
disorder history said weight was their primary motivator.
Of the women with a history of eating disorders and a history of
vegetarianism, 68 percent said there was a relationship between the
two. A vegetarian diet helped them lose weight, cut calories and
feel in control, they reported.
Going vegetarian in order to lose weight and control eating can also
fall into the category of orthorexia --- an obsession with healthy
eating that can cover for an eating disorder, according to Kane-Alves.
"It's one and the same," she said. "It's all restricting food
groups, spending a lot of time in your life thinking about food,
preparing food, reading labels, when you don't necessarily have to."
She pointed out, too, that only five percent of those fully
recovered from their eating disorder were still vegetarians.
"We always try to respect vegarian eating practices, but what this
suggests is that maybe we should have different recommendations for
vegetarians with eating disorders who are trying to get better," she
said. "We need to at least have a discussion with the person about
how it might be getting in the way of their recovery."
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