Eating disorders spring from extremely complex psychological issues that alter people’s perceptions on their own bodies. These types of disorders have become so diverse nowadays that they are getting harder and harder to identify and treat.
The latest type of eating disorder discovered by the medical community is related to men who take protein supplements regularly and end up getting addicted to them and replacing their meals with these products.
Despite the fact eating disorders are currently associated with women who suffer from anorexia and bulimia, the protein powder trend leads to an eating disorder that is just as dangerous as these conditions, because it leaves the body malnourished when actual meals are replaced with these products and because it embodies all the harmful characteristics of a psychological disorder.
Dr. Richard Achiro of the Alliant International University in Los Angeles and his colleague Dr. Peter Theodore have conducted a study on this particular matter, so as to assess the extent of the grasp that protein supplements have on the life and the health of men.
And so, they selected 195 male subjects, of ages between 18 and 65, who said that they had been taking protein supplements for at least 30 days prior to the study and that they were working out at least twice a week in order to maintain or improve their physical image.
The men were asked to complete a complex questionnaire, that was meant to assess the effects that the protein supplements had on them, but also some key psychological issues such as their views on their own physical appearance and self esteem.
The results of the study point out that protein supplement eating disorder should not be taken lightly, because it has the potential to cause significant damage in the people who go through it.
It seems that more than 40% of the subjects have ended up increasing their protein supplement daily quota over time and up to 22% ended up replacing meals with these products, despite being aware of the fact that they are not suited to replace the nutritional value of a meal.
This is particularly dangerous, because men might end up malnourished, as protein supplements do not include elements that are crucial to maintaining a healthy body, such as a wide range of vitamins.
Furthermore, the psychological grip that these substances have on the men who take them is quite significant. 30% of the study participants acknowledged that they had become concerned about how these supplements were affecting their lives and as many as 8% of them had been advised by their doctors to reduce the amounts of protein supplements or even eliminate them altogether.
3% of the study participants had actually been admitted to the hospital for kidney and liver issues associated with the protein supplements.
Taking into consideration the data revealed by the study, it becomes apparent that these men are essentially displaying many symptoms that are similar to those experienced by anorexia and bulimia patients.
It is extremely helpful that there is general awareness to begin from, as there have been numerous campaigns meant to make people acknowledge that eating disorders are extremely dangerous medical conditions.
However, the fact that eating disorders are associated with women might make the men who are fighting off protein supplement-related issues to avoid dealing with them, so that they are not perceived as being less manly.
Therefore, getting people to understand this type of eating disorder and actually acknowledge it a legitimate disease will be quite an intricate matter.
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