Calories on menus risk encourage eating disorders, says mental health ambassador

Listing calories on restaurant menus will encourage children to develop eating disorders and derail anorexia sufferers who are in recovery, according to a mental health ambassador.

Samantha Crilly was speaking during a debate on a study which claims that 9,000 deaths could be prevented over the next 20 years in England if calories were listed on menus.

She told GB News: “I’m a part-time personal trainer, so I do understand it from both aspects. I train people who want to lose weight but also I specialise in people with eating disorders. It feels like they’ve tried to tackle one issue but really disregarded the other.

“People that are suffering from anorexia or orthorexia their whole life are trying to get away from calories in recovery. And a big part of recovery is going out for dinner and not looking at the calories, so having it kind of shoved in their face is really difficult for them.

“An option could be to have one with calories and one without calories, so you choose which menu you want.”

In a discussion during Breakfast with Ellie Costello and Pip Tomson, she continued: “I do think for people with eating disorders, which is rising, it’s the worst thing they could have done for them and their recovery, even just focusing on calories in general.

“For younger kids, I think it’s making them obsessed at a very early age, rather than looking at food for just being real food.”

“If you are suffering from obesity, you would think you need to start from home, you need to cook from home , you need to cook fresh, you’re not going to be eating out five nights a week. You’re going to be cooking at home and when you do eat out it will be a treat, it will be a guilt-free treat.

“I just don’t think having calories on menus is going to solve it, there’s a lot of deeper issues.”

Taking issue was former Fat Families host Steve Miller, who said: “We’re talking about putting in very small characters on a menu how many calories are in a dish to help people manage their weight. I think that is very constructive.

“In the UK, we are gargantuan gannets and we do need to stop, look and listen a little bit more. On a menu, just having the calories there to give us guidance, I think we’re being drama queens if we think that will cause eating disorders.

“Obesity is an eating disorder and with 25 per cent of the population now very fat, maybe we need these sorts of measures. We need to be more in people’s faces about these things.”

About Lisa Baker, Editor, Wellbeing News 4262 Articles
Editor Lisa Baker is passionate about the benefits of a holistic approach to healing. Lisa is a qualified Vibrational Therapist and has qualifications in Auricular Therapy, Massage, Kinesiology, Crystal Healing, Seichem and is a Reiki Master.