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When Can Clean Eating Turn Dangerous?

Orthorexia is an obsession with healthy food. In the age of Instagramming every meal, the hashtags #EatClean or #CleanEating are becoming more common and more dangerous.

Enter those hashtags into your social media search, and millions of photos will pop up on your Instagram.

But is paying attention to what's trending about eating healthy, actually good for you? Or could it make you obsessive? Experts say there's a fine line.

Nutritionist Mary Dye said being overly concerned with eating healthy is an eating disorder called Orthorexia.

"The term got coined in the mid 2000's but we see it as the most prevalent eating disorder," said Dye, who is the Director of Nutrition at Oliver-Pyatt Center for Eating Disorders.

Dye works with people battling eating disorders. She said although there isn't as much research on Orthorexia as there is on other eating disorders, "It's really a real fixation on healthy eating and an avoidance of what they perceive to be unhealthy."

It's a problem often fueled by social media.

"They almost get like a fan club, especially on social media. I think we see this a lot, posting pictures of food and recipes," Dye said.

Health and Fitness Coach Terri Swanson said there are real benefits to eating clean or eliminating processed foods.

"Better health, feeling better, higher energy," Swanson said. But she said people can go too far, "When people start to cut out food groups, such as carbohydrates or gluten because they think they will look better or feel better, it becomes an obsession versus a healthy lifestyle."

Experts said that obsession can have a psychological toll, often not recognized by others.

"Though we who working in eating disorders recognize this as a form of disorder eating and can be serious, what I will say is it seems society does not see it as a problem. It's seen as a model of health," Dye said.

For tips on healthy clean eating, click here.

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