Healthy living is balanced living

It is generally helpful to adopt healthy dietary habits in the pursuit of a healthy lifestyle. This is important in preventive medicine.

A balanced approach to diet, exercise and rest is mandatory to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and this should be encouraged.

However, there is wisdom in moderation and there are dangers in pursuing things to the extreme.

We are aware of anorexia nervosa - where patients constantly think they are overweight when, in most cases, they are extremely underweight.

The other problem highlighted in the report (When 'healthy eating' can make you sick; Oct 9) focuses on individuals who pursue exclusive diets in an obsessive manner, in the belief that it will prevent them from consuming food which is harmful to their bodies.

Foods that are not part of the diet are regarded as "poisonous" or taboo.

Supplements prescribed are rejected because of the misguided belief that they are not in line with their understanding of a healthy diet.

As a result, some of these individuals have ended up being sick, losing excessive hair and even facing the prospect of going blind.

Related to this obsession is the avoidance of food these individuals consider themselves to be "allergic" to.

Some have resorted to blood tests which pinpoint foods that can trigger an allergic reaction in them.

Allergy specialists can tell them that they can't rely fully on these tests.

Still, some individuals end up avoiding a whole battery of food groups in the belief that they are allergic to them.

Sticking closely to "rules" and "avoidance" based on wrong understanding and compulsive obsessive tendencies may develop into an eating disorder, which may have tragic consequences.

The pursuit of "beautiful bodies" to the detriment of our general health may be unwise. Good health encompasses beautiful minds and healthy emotions, not to mention healthy relationships and spiritual well-being.

Quek Koh Choon (Dr)