There is a correlation between weight loss diets and eating disorders according to some nutrition professionals. In Western countries, body models are strongly supported by important industries such as weight loss.
Eating disorders are serious and complex problems, and fall under the DSM-V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, American Psychiatric Association, AAP).
In 2002, the Mental Health and Well-being survey conducted by Statistics Canada showed that 0.5% of Canadians aged 15 and over had an eating disorder. The survey also found that women were more likely to suffer from an eating disorder. Among young women aged 15 to 24, 1.5% reported having an eating disorder.
The most famous disorders
Eating disorders are numerous, the best known are anorexia, bulimia, orthorexia and binge eating disorder. They have a prominent place in the lives of people who suffer from them. “These are conditions that greatly affect mental health,” explains Isabelle Huot, doctor of nutrition. As the relationship with food is disrupted, the person who suffers from binge eating will feel guilty as soon as he eats a food that, for him, is not part of a healthy food. “
Stakeholder in eating disorders
At a time when social networks are rife in the lives of everyone and especially young people, the image of the perfect body and weight loss diets is everywhere. From Instagram to Facebook, social networks glorify the perfection of the body by giving a lot of visibility to very thin bodies and various weight loss diets. Very early on, we see that teenage girls have a real concern about their appearance and are already thinking about going on a diet.
“We cannot deny that the presence of social networks has an impact. This creates problems in terms of body image. ” – Jérôme Tremblay, sexologist and clinical coordinator at ANEB
Although there are no statistics on the proportion of people who started a diet and fell ill afterwards, several studies have looked into the question. For nutritionists, it is obvious that there is a concordance between restrictive diets and eating disorders.
For Isabelle Huot, the triggers are numerous and the fact of following a restrictive diet, of having dietary rules is one of them.
“Any restriction, be it calorie or cognitive (I can’t eat certain foods), can lead to a disrupted relationship with food. Whatever its nature, it can lead to obsession, ”says the nutritionist.
Several factors involved
There are many other factors that can cause an eating disorder. People who suffer from it usually have predisposing factors. According to Jérôme Tremblay, sexologist and clinical coordinator at ANEB, these factors must be separated into four categories. “There are individual, family, environmental and socio-cultural factors.”
In addition to the factors, we also note that for each disorder there are people at risk.
According to statistics obtained from ANEB, we find that in Canada, 5 to 10% of cases of anorexia nervosa and 10 to 15% of cases of bulimia are observed in men. Also, 1 to 3% of young women will suffer from bulimia during their lifetime. As for overeating, it affects up to 3.5% of women and 2% of men.
Eating disorders are a recurring problem in our society. According to Isabelle Huot, nutritionists advocate intuitive eating to help these people “eat mindfully”, without counting calories, by consuming small amounts and taking the time to savor.