A term for a health freak who avoids many things

supermarioutd

Senior Member
Persian
Hello to all,

Let's say you have a friend who is a health freak and they are just too much concerned about what they eat and what they should not be doing / eating. For example, they don't drink, they don't smoke, they don't consume fast-food at all.
You kind of feel this is not normal.
Is there a term or an expression to describe such a person?
 
  • RM1(SS)

    Senior Member
    English - US (Midwest)
    I like your original term: Health freak. To me, being a food puritan doesn't rule out smoking, and possibly not drinking.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    There is a celiac website that is supposed to be helpful to people who can't eat gluten. So they make recommendations on what not to eat. People start feeling better as a result of the diet and then they start eliminating other foods for no reason at all. It becomes a form of anorexia nervosa. But because some people make money off treating these disorders a new term had to be invented.

    ARFID is the new term (Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder).

    Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID)

    Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) is a new diagnosis in the DSM-5, and was previously referred to as “Selective Eating Disorder.” ARFID is similar to anorexia in that both disorders involve limitations in the amount and/or types of food consumed, but unlike anorexia, ARFID does not involve any distress about body shape or size, or fears of fatness.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    Is there a term or an expression to describe such a person?
    I don't know any common term. I think this fad is too new, for a criticism of it to have a standard term and that term become used by everyone.

    But "healthy/health" (as in "healthy eating" and "healthy lifestyle" often refer to this kind of thing, so "a health nut" or "health-obsessed" are good suggestions
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    too much concerned about what they eat
    Here's another issue. You are asking for a negative term, a criticism of this behavior.

    But new terms spread nation-wide and world-wide thru the media (TV shows, news, books and magazines).

    The media is IN FAVOR OF this behavior. The media SUPPORTS this behavior. This behavior makes a lot of money for the media -- it is a billion-dollar industry. Books and articles on "what to eat" and "how to exercise" and "what supplements to take" are big sellers. There are thousands of recent books and an endless supply of new magazine articles on these topics. Every branch of the media makes money from consumers who are obsessed with "healthy eating", "getting fit", "living longer", "staying young". And the things that get advertised are food choices, medicines, vitamins and exercise machines.

    Nobody advertises "eat normally". Nobody advertises "behave normally". The media gets no money by saying "this is too extreme". As a result, this viewpoint is not talked about much in the media, so we don't learn new words or phrases for it.
     

    Truffula

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    The word I'd use for such a person is "ascetic."

    The definition says "usually for religious reasons" but it does not in this sort of context imply such religious reasons.

    "a person who leads an austerely simple life, esp. one who abstains from the normal pleasures of life or denies himself or herself material satisfaction."

    ascetic - WordReference.com Dictionary of English
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    I’d probably say “health fiend” because I prefer fiend to “freak”.

    On the parameters you’ve laid down (no smoking, no drinking and no fast-food) I qualify for this epithet. I kind of feel it’s very normal but I suppose it’s not.

    You need to add “no sweets” to get to something I’d call abnormal levels of healthiness..
    :D
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    For example, they don't drink, they don't smoke, they don't consume fast-food at all.
    I agree. That's pretty normal, in the US. The "health nuts" in the US go way beyond that. They eat a "paleo" diet or a "vegan" (vegetarian) diet. They eat only "whole-grain" grains. They can't shop at the local supermarket, because it doesn't have the right foods. Desserts are okay if made with honey, but "refined sugar" and "refined flour" and corn syrup sweetened products are unacceptable.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    I agree. That's pretty normal, in the US. The "health nuts" in the US go way beyond that. They eat a "paleo" diet or a "vegan" (vegetarian) diet. They eat only "whole-grain" grains. They can't shop at the local supermarket, because it doesn't have the right foods. Desserts are okay if made with honey, but "refined sugar" and "refined flour" and corn syrup sweetened products are unacceptable.
    Funny that - the composition of honey is about 90% the same as HFCS55 (high fructose corn syrup :))

    But I'd agree there are many like suzi who don't smoke or drink and eat "healthy" - but not to extreme measures as you describe. I suspect it is those people the OP wants a name for. I don't smoke (quit years ago!) and one or two drinks in a day perhaps, and a well balanced diet (lots of fruit and veg, not too much meat etc) is what I consider just sensible.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I very much like bennymix's find: "food puritan", especially if this person tries to convert everyone else to their strange eating habits.

    I happen to know someone of this type: in late middle age, he suddenly developed a host of food fads (I blame it on the internet). He gave up coffee and wine and restricted himself to raw vegetables with no dressing, some fruits, and plain boiled brown rice - with a little lean meat on occasion. It bordered on anorexia, as he shrivelled away to a shadow of himself. He claimed to have no health problems, but that everyone else should eat like him. On the other hand, he seemed to enjoy being the only "virtuous" eater at the table.
     
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