International Federation of Eating Disorder Dietitians
    International Federation of Eating Disorder Dietitians

In 2013, Dear Abby, received a letter from  a reader describing his experience of orthorexia. Several IFEDD members replied to Abby regarding her response:

Dear Abby,

I am writing to you in regards to your response on Friday to the Obsessed in Boston, who wrote about excessive time spent on worrying about  food and planning what to eat.  I really appreciate your addressing a person who people needs some help with balanced nutrition and getting healthy, but not going overboard (which can very easily and quickly become a problem).  There are many who would say that she is just being super healthy. 

It is important that this individual speak with a dietitian who specializes in eating disorders.  These are the dietitians that understand both the physical and mental aspects of eating.  This is a unique specialty and often hard to find.  There is a great organization that has a list of dietitians who truly do understand eating disorders and disordered eating, the International Federation of Eating Disorder Dietitians. 

Eating disorders are extremely dangerous and require a treatment team to best recover. You will note on the IFEDD website there are also success stories of how dietitians have helped many clients, not just clients with eating disorders.

What better person to address these nutritional and obsessive needs than someone who has a minimum of a bachelors degree in nutrition, plus specialized training in eating disorders, which focuses on the emotional aspects of eating.  We sometimes work with other treatment team members, if appropriate, to move the client in the best direction for mental and physical health. There is even  an additional credential that shows a documented higher level of expertise, the Certified Eating Disorder Registered Dietitian.

In my practice, I have worked with many individuals who have obsessive problems with eating, just as Obsessed in Boston and have been able to help them with the anxiety and stress around food.

Thank you for all you do.

Kathryn Fink, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, CEDRD,

Ambassador for The International Federation of Eating Disorder Dietitians



Dear Abby,

I’ve been reading your mother’s column and now yours for half a century. In reading your response to Obsessed’s orthorexic behavior from Boston on October 19th, I applaud your referral to a psychologist, but I believe that you left out the other half of the equation, which is a referral to a dietitian trained in treating eating disorders.  Yes, there are underlying psychological issues in most eating disorders, but there are very clear nutritional issues as well.  The ED Dietitian works as a team member with the psychologist, leading to the healing of the eating problem.  Thank you for considering my thoughts,


Elyse Resch, MS, RD, FADA, CEDRD

Nutrition Therapist/Registered Dietitian,

Co-author of Intuitive Eating


I am responding to ‘Obsessed in Boston’. I have sat across many women with issues like ‘Obsessed’ in my practice of dietetics, with a specialization in eating disorders.  I would like to add to your advice - Do seek out an Eating Disorder Dietitian (EDD) asap for three reasons.  First is that EDD are trained to help all eating disorder patients to distinguish between irrational food beliefs/thoughts and rational food beliefs.  In that context, we teach them how to put together a healthy eating plan that will help them feel better both physically and mentally.  We often forget that what we eat impacts our physical, cognitive and emotional self. Second, EDD align themselves with both physicians and therapists who specialize in eating disorders whom they use as a referral base.  This team approach has been found to produce the best outcomes from this complicated, multifaceted illness. Third, the sooner the eating issues are addressed the better the outcomes. EDD can often expedite the treatment process.


Nancy C. Kuppersmith, RD,MS,CDE

Nutritionist, Department of Family &Geriatric Medicine

University of Louisville



Dear Abby,

 Your encouragement and advice for people to develop a plan, move forward, make a choice, take action and/or your many other ways to help those requesting a listening ear and perhaps hope for their place in life has been recognized worldwide.  Often you have introduced people to ideas, actions, or services of which they were unaware or just hadn’t given thought. This is the case for your Obsessed in Boston last Friday, October 19th, 2012 when you recommended a physician and a psychologist who specializes in eating disorders. Please add an RD, Registered Dietitian, who is


·      - experienced in working with persons who have eating disorders or disordered eating of all types 


      - an expert in nutrition guidance and treatment for body and brain for good health and appropriate thinking – both need to be nourished adequately 


      - knowledgeable regarding the client’s food experiences and obsessive/anxious thinking  and actions(different than the obsessive/anxious thinking the psychologist or psychiatrist would address) 


      - understanding of the importance to refer and work with other mental health professionals 


      - committed to recognition of and improvement in care options for persons with eating disorders


How persons struggling with eating disorders and the world as well to know how to can to locate such a dietitian?  Go to   We are a forward thinking group of RDs with the knowledge and experience to address the food and nutrition aspects and issues of eating disorders. 

Thanks for your time and support to those in need, especially for those who are unsure or just don’t know where to turn for help and hope.

Mary M Tholking, MEd, RD, LD, CLT

Member of IFEDD



Dear Abby,


you recently had an article from Obsessed in Boston last Friday October 19th. you made the recommendation that this individual seek out treatment to consult with her MD or a psychologist. As a registered dietitian who specializes in eating disorders i wanted to let you know that for future inquires i would suggest sending your readers to a RD who specializes in eating disorders. that practitioner could then help them find a psychologist who specializes in eating disorders since the obsession to eat healthy (also known as orthorexia) is an eating disorder. that person could find us on the website also the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals has created and eating disorder credential which we support for eating disorder registered dietitians. i thought i would pass this information along. Healthy Regards,  Robyn L. Goldberg, RD, CEDRD


Robyn L. Goldberg, RD, CEDRD
Nutrition Therapist
Beverly Hills




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