eating disorders

Whether it's gluten-free, dairy-free, raw food, or all-organic, many people these days are committed to so-called "clean eating" — the idea that choosing only whole foods in their natural state and avoiding processed ones can improve health.

It's not necessarily a bad thing to eat this way, but sometimes these kinds of food preferences can begin to take over people's lives, making them fear social events where they won't be able to find the "right" foods. When a healthful eating pattern goes too far, it may turn into an eating disorder that scientists are just beginning to study.

Karla Mosley wants you to know that people with eating disorders look like her too.

"I'm a woman of color and I certainly didn't know that people like me had eating disorders," she says. "I thought it was a white, rich, female, adolescent disorder."

Only one of those identifiers fits Mosley who's black and binged and purged for years. But Mosley, an actor and a regular on the day time soap, The Bold and the Beautiful, is sharing her story of battling bulimia and getting her health back.

NPR / Courtesy

Eating disorders affect millions of Americans every day. Binge eating, anorexia and bulimia represent some of the more severe cases, but emotional overeating is affecting even more Americans struggling in the relationships they have with their food. The underlying emotional problems that can contribute to these disorders vary greatly and so does the available treatment.

A panel of experts, who’ve worked extensively with those suffering from these disorders, spoke with Sundial’s Luis Hernandez about the complex issue.

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Anorexia, bulimia and binge eating affect tens of millions of Americans, but eating disorders remain very difficult to treat, in part because it's not clear what goes wrong in the brain.