Spending more than an hour in front of the food aisle to read the composition of each product, chewing 50 times to give the impression to your brain of eating more: orthorexia, or the obsession with healthy eating, develops.

For now, there is no scientific consensus on orthorexia. The two positions most often supported consist in classifying it either among eating disorders (ED) or among obsessive behavioral disorders.

Orthorexia, which is still the subject of little research, could be detected via a ten-question test developed by Steven Bratman, an American doctor who in 1995 gave this name to the disorder from which he himself suffered.

“If the patient makes a distinction between healthy and unhealthy foods, if strong or even disproportionate emotions invade him towards unhealthy foods and this has an impact on his daily life, he is probably suffering from orthorexia”, summarizes Alexandre Chapy, a French psychologist.

Orthorexia has a “proximity” to anorexia, he assures, but a difference remains between the two: “An orthorexic does not want to lose weight”, when it is the objective of an anorexic person .

“People with orthorexia value aesthetic body image less, but look at their body through the prism of their health,” analyzes dietitian Laurence Myr.

More than the wish to be in good health, “they are afraid of being poisoned by pesticides or by food, of dying of cancer”, details Alexandre Chapuy.

They adopt strict diets, which are not, in themselves problematic, “as long as we do not suffer from it, that we do not isolate ourselves and that health is not affected”, underlines the psychologist.

For Laurence Myr, however, people who follow specific diets by eliminating certain types of food could “be more prone to developing an eating disorder”.

“Developing extremely strict behaviors, as an orthorexic person does, leads to social unrest” and can create “a shift” towards harmful obsessive behavior, she adds.

Especially since over the various agri-food scandals, such as the recent contamination of chocolates or pizzas by bacteria, “consumer confidence is very weakened”.

Dietician Laurence Myr mentions a prevalence of the phenomenon among “athletes, health students, researchers or dietitians”. Still, official figures on the extent of this disorder in the world do not exist.