In this theoretical article we examine the idea of orthorexia, an unhealthy obsession with healthy eating. Firstly, we explore orthorexia as a cultural disease, by relating it to fundamental features of late modernity such as reflexivity, risk, decline of scientific authority and neo-religiosity. Secondly, we apply Ian Hacking’s notion of ecological niche with four principal vectors to discuss how a mental transient illness can come into being, and unexpectedly aspire to medical descriptions like «the fourth Eating disorder». Lastly, we conclude that orthorexia undoubtedly qualifies as a cultural disease, but ironically its close affiliation with contemporary Western moral and corporal ideals of health, undermines the likelihood of orthorexia earning status as a disease, when evermore people starts behaving orthorectic by being on a diet.
Tidsskrift for Norsk Psykologforening, 2018, 55 (1), 13-23.