By On July 20th, 2018

Renowned chef Nigella Lawson calls out “clean eating” for enabling eating disorders

While many popular chefs promote trendy diets, internationally renowned food expert Nigella Lawson says these fad diets may be doing more harm than good. In fact, they may be promoting unhealthy eating habits that are often used to disguise eating disorders.

In a talk with catering industry students at a Toronto College, Lawson explained, “I do think that a lot of so-called healthy eating is a cover-up for an eating disorder and I think people persecute themselves for what they do eat and they don’t eat.”

Nigella Lawson speaking in 2016
Source: Wikimedia Commons/Cecile van Straten

The TV cook isn’t trained to spot eating disorders specifically, she says she has observed that some of her friends that deny themselves specific foods seem more likely to binge later.

“We do live in an age of fads,” said the 58-year-old TV cook. “I think there is an awful lot of mumbo jumbo spoken.”

Lawson is not alone. Many health experts have criticized healthy eating trends for focusing more on losing weight or achieving a certain type of body rather than focusing on scientifically backed health practices.

In the past few years, many have even developed a term for the phenomenon when “healthy” or “clean” eating develops into an unhealthy obsession similar to eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia. They call it “orthorexia”.

This is not the first time Lawson has criticized diets or health fads that stigmatize specific foods.

Speaking at a Jewish community centre’s Speaker Series in London in 2015, Nigella questioned how some foods are considered “good” or “dirty”.

“People are using certain diets as a way to hide an eating disorder or a great sense of unhappiness with their own body.”

“There is a way in which food is used to either self-congratulate – you’re a better person because you’re eating like that – or to self-persecute, because you’ll not allow yourself to eat what you want,” the chef observed.

Three years later, those words seem almost prescient as a growing number agree that “clean eating” does not mean “healthy eating.”

If you believe you or someone you love may be living with an eating disorder like orthorexia, please call Brookhaven for help at 888-298-HOPE (4673). We can answer any questions you have and find the right treatment plan for you.

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