April Fulton

April Fulton is a former editor with NPR's Science Desk and a contributor to The Salt, NPR's Food Blog.

Whether its gluten-free, dairy-free, raw food, or all-organic, many people these days are committed to so-called "clean eating" — the idea that choosing only whole foods in their natural state and avoiding processed ones can improve health.

It's not necessarily a bad thing to eat this way, but sometimes, these kinds of food preferences can begin take over people's lives, making them fear social events where they won't be able to find the "right" foods. When a healthful eating pattern goes too far, it may turn into an eating disorder that scientists are just beginning to study.

Some who have given up booze altogether join "sober sometimes" friends to enjoy nonalcoholic drinks at Sans Bar in Austin, Texas.
Julia Robinson for NPR

For 18-year-old high school senior Ellie Rapp of Pittsburgh, the sound of her family chewing their dinner can be ... unbearable.

"My heart starts to pound. I go one of two ways. I either start to cry or I just get really intensely angry. It's really intense. I mean, it's as if you're going to die," she says.

Rapp has been experiencing this reaction to certain noises since she was a toddler. She recalls a ride home from preschool when her mother turned on the radio and started singing, which caused Rapp to scream and cry hysterically.

In the past few years, coconut oil has been called a superfood that can help you blast belly fat and raise your good cholesterol. The sweet and nutty trendsetter has been featured in many cookbooks as a substitute for olive or canola oil — and it can cost a bundle at the store.

A recent survey found that 72 percent of Americans say coconut oil is a "healthy food," but many nutrition experts aren't convinced.

The wrenching testimony of Christine Blasey Ford, who is accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of a sexual assault years ago, raises questions about the long-term emotional and physical toll this kind of trauma takes on survivors and how our society responds to those who come forward long after the assault.

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