Understanding of Nutrition for Eating Disorder Recovery on a Global Level

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The basic understanding of nutrition can be interpreted in many different ways across the globe, depending on where you may be.

For developing countries where food may be scare, nutrition may simply mean receiving adequate food and calories throughout the day from any available food sources. In many developed and Westernized countries, the concept of nutrition is often misconstrued to mean following a diet or eating rigidly for the purpose of weight loss and/or “wellness.”

When it comes to eating disorder recovery, nutrition takes on yet a different understanding and approach to healing from some of the most deadly psychiatric illnesses, including anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder.

Nutrition is Foundational to Recovery

Many individuals who struggle with an eating disorder are often malnourished as a result of poor eating habits, including restricting, bingeing, purging, overexercising, substance abuse and more. While an eating disorder can be present regardless of a person’s size or weight, some individuals with an eating disorder may be under or overweight.

One of the most fundamental aspects of recovery includes nutritional restoration. Helping an individual effectively nourish their body and replenish crucial nutrients lost from the eating disorder are necessary for physical, emotional, and mental wellness and recovery.

Nutritional rehabilitation occurs at the various stages of eating disorder recovery, from inpatient care through outpatient treatment, and includes everything from meal planning for recovery, learning how to normalize eating patterns, intuitive eating, grocery shopping, and more.

Evidenced-Based Approaches For Treatment

While eating disorder treatment may look differently around the globe, one thing that is generally agreed upon by the eating disorder community is that an evidenced-based approach toward treatment should be taken when possible.

With the advances of science, research, and technology, our understanding of nutrition as it relates to the human body recovering from an eating disorder is evolving and changing.

For example, scientists have uncovered the potential connection between the human intestinal microbiome and the brain, which may lead to nutritional treatment advances for eating disorders as scientists work to further investigate [1].

As clinicians, researchers and practitioners continue to collaborate for the advancement of eating disorder treatment, evidenced-based practices will evolve toward an improved prognosis for the eating disorder sufferer.

While there is some debate about nutrition practices, there is no question about the importance of nutrition rehabilitation for eating disorder recovery as a means of helping a person heal from the inside out.

Crystal Headshot 2About the Author: Crystal is a Contributing Writer for Eating Disorder Hope.

Crystal is a Masters-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with a specialty focus in eating disorders, maternal/child health and wellness, and intuitive eating. Combining clinical experience with a love of social media and writing,

As a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, Crystal has dedicated her career to helping others establish a healthy relationship with food and body through her work with EDH and nutrition private practice.


[1]: Bulik CM, et al. Gut feelings: A role for the intestinal microbata in anorexia nervosa? Int J Eat Disord. 2015 Jul;48(5):449-51

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Published on June 23, 2017.
Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on June 23, 2017.
Published on EatingDisorderHope.com

About Baxter Ekern

Baxter is the Vice President of Ekern Enterprises, Inc. He is responsible for the operations of Eating Disorder Hope and ensuring that the website is functioning smoothly.