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Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate amongst any other psychiatric disorder. Females ages 15-24 are 12x more likely to die from anorexia than any other cause of death. Furthermore, an estimated 70 million people are currently suffering from this disorder.
“Eating disorders are deadly… and the silence around them even more so.” -Anastasia Amour
“Eating disorders” is a broad classification that includes anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, purging disorder, avoidant food disorder, pica, orthorexia nervosa, rumination syndrome, muscle dysmorphia, body dysmorphia, feeding disorder, night eating syndrome and general eating disorders. These disorders have serious effects on your body including: muscle atrophy (including the heart), electrolyte imbalances (can lead to arrhythmias and heart failure), reduced metabolic rate, infections, constipation, damaged bowels and intestinal obstruction, stomach rupture, sore throat, malnutrition, pancreatitis, parotiditis, bezoars, intestinal, stomach, and esophagus perforations, fainting, dizziness, sleep apnea, neuropathy, decreased hormones levels, disruption to menstruation, osteopenia, type II diabetes, hair loss or lanugo, and more.
The science behind a ketogenic diet for Eating Disorders
While research is limited on the specific use of the ketogenic diet for eating disorders, we do know that because the the metabolic changes that occur during ketosis mimic a starvation response, it may be helpful to individuals who suffer from anorexia or other disorders associated with limiting food intake. The starvation response associated with ketone production mimics the anxiolytic feeling an individual might receive from starving themselves, but without risking medical harm.
Furthermore, countless case studies have shown individuals who suffer from an eating disorder may benefit from a more restrictive diet. Since the general guidelines to keto are so straight forward, i.e. limit carb intake, many people have reduced food anxiety because they know exactly what they can eat. Strong anecdotal evidence of reduction in food-related anxiety, feelings of guilt, and binging supports the use of a ketogenic diet for eating disorders.
Chef Debbie Lee
Chef Debbie Lee is a culinary visionary who gained a legion of fans as she reached the top three in Season 5 of “The Next Food Network Star.” She scored notoriety as the queen of modern Korean gastro-pub fare with “Ahn-Joo,” her clever fast-casual model of a Korean Drinking house. Lee was also the first chef from a food truck, The Poutine Truck, to be heralded as one of the top ten restaurants of the year by The Huffington Post in July 2001.
After a lifetime of struggling with her weight and trying a number of different diets, Debbie’s poor relationship with food turned worse. She restricted her calories to an extremely low amount, eating very small meals and sometimes skipping them entirely. Although she was losing weight at first, she eventually plateaued and began taking drastic measures to continue losing including laxatives and vomiting. Her bulimia was a daily secret that she kept to herself for two years. One day, during her junior year, Deb passed out on campus. Fortunately, her family doctor was well versed in the symptoms of eating disorders and he guided her to the help she needed to change her life.
Today Chef Debbie Lee has grown her business to help people with disordered eating. She focuses on having a healthy relationship with food with a keto-based protocol. Now nearly 30 years in recovery, Chef Debbie lives by the mantra: ”Don’t obsess, you are beautiful just the way you are.”