Why a new online food challenge has experts worried – Firstpost

One of the indicators of an eating disorder is a fear of food, which leads to restriction or avoidance of certain foods. Pixabay/Representative image

In this digital age, food has become a viral trend, with flavors ranging from comforting to extraordinary.

Still, experts worry about the health of many people who suffer from eating disorders in light of the new diet trend on TikTok.

Aspiring creators on the video-sharing site are taking part in the #Fearfoodchallenge by eating foods they normally avoid.

Check it out quickly.

What is the #Fearfoodchallenge?

The 'Fear Eating Challenge’ is designed to help people struggling with eating disorders.

It involves the person putting their courage to the test by randomly choosing a food item from a „fear jar” and swallowing it in front of the camera.

The meals are often high-calorie items like burgers, tacos, or chocolate bars.

To date, the craze has amassed over 500 million views Indian Express.

A fear of food, resulting in restricting or avoiding certain foods, is one of the symptoms of an eating disorder. Pixabay/Representative image

What is food phobia?

One of the indicators of an eating disorder is a fear of food, which leads to restriction or avoidance of certain foods.

Although eating disorders can affect anyone at any age, they usually begin in young adults (up to age 24) and teens (ages 10 to 19).

People with diabetes and medical conditions that affect digestion and appetite, such as irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease, have been reported to be more susceptible to eating disorders. NDTV.

First-line treatments for eating disorders include psychotherapies such as the well-known cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

What are the risks?

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Experts such as psychologists have warned against the latest trend.

Attempting such trends in the absence of appropriate professional supervision and assistance can worsen mental health conditions and possibly lead to impulsive behaviors, they say.

Neha Gadabham, Senior Psychologist and Managing Director of Gadabhams Hospitals and Mindtalk Indian Express„For people with eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia, these challenges can be incredibly triggering. They can lead to a roller coaster of emotions, from intense anxiety and guilt to shame, and even relapse into harmful behaviors. It’s like stabbing a wound that’s trying to heal.”

A person with an eating disorder who records a video can suffer mental health problems due to harsh comments from viewers.

Thus, the challenge is more likely to fail.

Ipsita Chakraborty, senior nutritionist at Hungry Cola, told the paper, “For people recovering from eating disorders, the challenge may be more 'fear’ than 'food’. Doing just that can mess up your eating patterns and actually make your food worries worse.

Why is expert supervision necessary?

Research indicates that exposure to the feared object can have positive effects, but in the absence of trained supervision, there is a clear risk of eating problems leading to fear.

The issue here is that fear eating challenge videos are often created by someone without expertise in exposure-based therapy.

A type of CBT therapy that uses the theory of exposure and response prevention in a therapeutic setting is called exposure-based therapy and helps patients overcome certain types of fears.

NDTV The „exposure” section explains that it involves the practice of confronting anxiety-provoking images, ideas, things, and situations.

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„Response inhibition” refers to not acting compulsively in response to fear. It is a popular method of treating OCD.

Having a qualified therapist to provide direction to the treatment process, especially in its early stages, is essential. The goal of therapy is to retrain the brain to stop seeing the fear-inducing object.

Research suggests that social media should not be used to treat these types of conditions due to a lack of evidence to address self-concept, self-esteem, self-criticism, and nutrition.

The fear eating challenge can be used to increase public awareness of illnesses and encourage eating disorder sufferers to begin exposure therapy.

with inputs from agencies

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