Supplement use might be a sign of disordered eating in men

Posted 08 October 2015

A recent study suggests that the growing use of dietary supplements in men, driven by the need to attain an ideal body image, might signal a new kind of disordered eating. Researchers found that of 195 men who had admitted to taking legal dietary supplements, such as whey protein, creatine, or L-carnitine, over 40% had increased supplement use over time, and 22% had replaced regular meals with dietary supplements that were not meant to be used that way. Furthermore, 29% of the men actually expressed concern about their increased supplement use, 8% had been advised by their physician to cut back on supplement use, and 3% had been admitted to the hospital for kidney or liver damage associated with dietary supplements.

From Natural Medicines Integrative Medicine Newsletter

Achiro R. Excessive Workout Supplement Use: An Emerging Eating Disorder in Men. Aug. 8, 2015, presentation, American Psychological Association annual meeting, Toronto, Canada.


From Science Newsline – Psychology

“Achiro and co-author Peter Theodore, PhD, also at the California School of Professional Psychology, found that more than 40 percent of participants indicated that their use of supplements had increased over time and 22 percent indicated that they replaced regular meals with dietary supplements not intended to be meal replacements. Most alarming, said Achiro, was that 29 percent said they were concerned about their own use of supplements. On the more extreme end, 8 percent of participants indicated that their physician had told them to cut back on or stop using supplements due to actual or potential adverse health side effects, and 3 percent had been hospitalized for kidney or liver problems that were related to the use of supplements. These data were obtained as part of a scale developed by Achiro and Theodore to decipher risky legal supplement use; the scale was found to correlate significantly with well-established diagnostic indicators of an eating disorder such as eating concern and restrictive eating”.

Read the full article

The article was published on August 7, 2015 based on a release by the American Psychological Association

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