Diet of deception: Social media fuels unhealthy obsession with eating healthy

Eating healthy and getting exercise is something doctors have always said is good for our bodies. But for some, the combination can be bad and even deadly.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Eating healthy and getting exercise is something doctors have always said is good for our bodies. But for some, the combination can be bad and even deadly.

Orthorexia is a little-known diagnosis that has lately been fueled by diet and workout trends on social media. Over the past five years, local therapists have seen a startling spike in cases.

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“Foods were clean or unclean. Bad or good,” Amanda Barber, who dealt with orthorexia, said. “I would choose to go to the gym over being with friends. I would choose working out over being with my kids.”

She explained to Action News Jax’s Robert Grant that foods, in her mind, were either clean or unclean. Barber became obsessed with knowing the ingredients.

“I found myself just kind of grasping and needing control because I couldn’t control other things I needed in life.”

It came after Barber had her second-born, who struggled with serious health issues. As a result, the Barbers embraced the idea that food is medicine. But something that’s supposed to be good quickly became bad.