It’s an unfortunate truth that women’s struggles with eating disorders are far more prominent in the media than those of men. The prevalence of eating disorders among young women is understandable given that our society objectifies women’s bodies for commercial gain. But men have their own body insecurity to deal with, which might be the cause of a new male eating disorder, reports Quartz.
According to Dr. Richard Achiro, an LA-based psychotherapist, more men than ever are using and abusing supplements like protein bars, whey protein, and creatine. Although Achiro’s research is still unpublished, his survey of 195 men (all of whom went to the gym at least twice a week and had consumed a workout supplement within 30 days of the survey) found that one man in five had replaced a regular meal with a supplement that wasn’t designed to be a meal replacement. What’s more:
Eight percent [of men surveyed] had been told by physicians to consume less or no supplements at all because of actual or possible health impacts; and 3 percent had been hospitalized for supplement-related kidney or liver problems. Twenty-nine percent said they were worried about their supplement use.
Achiro says the findings make sense when we consider the increased objectification of men in mass media. They’re also a factor of changing times—these days the hulking Schwarzenegger bodybuilder physique is out, and a more lean, chiseled Ryan Gosling body type is in. Unfortunately for dudes, the Gosling look is harder to achieve.
Low self-esteem and insecurity were also factors among those who’d abused supplements. This “points to the fact that using these supplements excessively is about more than the body,” Achiro said. He hopes to carry out more research on the topic in future. In the meantime go easy on the brotein, and try not to drool over shirtless Ryan Gosling pics.