Almost every eating disorder starts with a diet. In a person with a genetic predisposition, a diet can set an eating disorder's downward spiral into motion. Seemingly innocent statements of intention may include: "I want to eat healthier;" "I just want to cut back on snacking and sweets;" "I want to get in shape;" or "I want to be vegetarian." These diets often start with dietary changes and oftentimes include increases in activity. The safety and efficacy of dieting is currently controversial, even for those not predisposed to an eating disorder. For those with this predisposition (there is no test for this) a diet can lead very quickly to anorexia nervosa or other eating disorders.

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