A seemingly healthy social-media craze is driving some seriously scary diet behavior.
Meal prepping — the chore-turned-art wherein social media users precisely plan and prepare meals and snacks ahead of time — has become a major trend: More than 8 million photos are tagged #mealprep on Instagram, and 800,000 Reddit users are part of a thread about Sunday meal prepping. Typical images show refrigerators stocked with a rainbow of fruits and vegetables, or neatly packaged healthful lunches for every day of the workweek.
But experts say the phenomenon is fueling a dangerous spike in an eating disorder known as orthorexia, or an unhealthy obsession with “clean” or “healthy” foods. Though sufferers aren’t typically as concerned with losing weight as those with anorexia or bulimia, their fixation over their food’s “purity” causes them to fixate on high-fiber, low-calorie foods, and can lead to dangerous malnutrition.
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