Experts warn restrictive eating with diet trend almond mom

Experts warn restrictive eating with "almond mom" diet trend

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Renewed warnings about a toxic dieting trend that's all over some social media platforms. Almond mom is code for potentially dangerous dieting. 

It started on reality TV and has trended on TikTok. Experts call this unhealthy eating advice from celebrities.

One mom suggested an almond to quell hunger. TikToks with the hashtag #almondmom have almost 360 million views.

"The term almond mom is used to describe parents whose beliefs and behaviors are deeply rooted in diet culture," Diana Winderman said.

Winderman with the Renfrew Center for eating disorders says conversations about restrictive eating can be harmful whether it comes unintentionally from celebrities or parents.

"These behaviors are really serious and it can be hard to break that cycle without help," Winderman said.

"I think it's so scary," Danielle Reitinger said.

Reitinger was treated at Renfrew for an eating disorder.

"I would never want my children to have those struggles and issues I have been through," Reitinger said.

The Montgomery County mom of four gets emotional talking about needing to be healthy for her children.

"I knew I had to be strong for them and show them I can take care of myself," Reitinger said.

As a constant reminder, she had the word love tattooed on her wrist.

"It's about loving myself," she said.

Reitinger says her eating disorder was about control, not food.

 "I was scared," she said.

Experts say low self-esteem often instigates eating disorders and that the almond mom trend is of special concern in mother-daughter relationships.

"It's not just about eating an almond or what food you're choosing it's really about restricting your whole world," Winderman said.

In addition to getting professional help, Reitinger got rid of social media which can glamorize unhealthy behavior.

"It's been freeing and very cathartic to live life outside scrolling," Reitinger said.

People with eating disorders are often advised to limit social media.

Doctors say about 30 million Americans will have an eating disorder at some point. There's a special concern with 57% of adolescent girls who engage in crash dieting.

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