Sky News Sunrise: extreme diets

I snuck my way onto Sky News Sunrise yesterday morning to talk about the perils of extreme diets – in this case, a nasogastric tube diet, which I wrote about in a piece for the Guardian. My giant news head (friend on Twitter: “This particular extreme diet involves being large enough to eat only unsuspecting news anchors.”) managed to get a few decent comments into the discussion.

I was glad I made the point about women’s bodies being judged more for size than strength or agility, and how stupid and destructive that is; and pleased that I mentioned the problem of rapid weight loss destroying muscle mass rather than fat, creating a smaller body with lower caloric needs that’s likely to grow fatter still when normal eating patterns are resumed. Anyone who aspires to be slim while feeling uncomfortable about developing strength (a problem a lot of women have, hence the obsession with pointless “toning” exercise) is locking themself into an unwinnable, and miserable, battle with their body.

Sky News also had nutritionist Dora Walsh in the studio, whose website rather unpromisingly announces her as an “electro magnetic field balancing practitioner”. However, though I’d rather the producers had looked for a qualified dietitian, it turns out that shoving a tube up your nose to replace your meals is considerably more absurd than wafting magnets around, and Walsh had sensible things to say about the failure of extreme eating plans to alter underlying habits and attitudes around food. Hopefully, no one in the audience decided to swap their Saturday croissant for nose-fed goop after hearing us talk.

Text © Sarah Ditum, 2012; screengrab from Sky News 

4 thoughts on “Sky News Sunrise: extreme diets

  1. Clicked through to the Guardian article (nice article – enjoyed it) then went on to the comments, anticipating some witty rejoinders about dieting experiences and instead found myself reading about….wedding dresses?

    What is it about weddings that addles the brains of otherwise rational women? One glimpse of a swatch of seed pearled silk and we’re sticking tubes down our noses and spending Rwanda’s GDP on flower arrangements.

    Anyway, I’m going on the sunshine diet because it means I have to move to somewhere hot and not wear any clothes.

  2. Jesus, we are fucked. What an utterly pointless exercise. When did we get to the stage that four essentially unqualified people can talk rubbish in a TV studio and it gets beamed into living rooms across the nation?

    I despair when I read about balancing electomagnetic fields. Why is mediocrity so championed and in this fucked up nation? It seems self-promotion is more important than knowing anything about anything. I think I should give up teaching and whore myself around the media outlets though I suspect that the sofa conversations would be rather brief but much more informative. “That’s bullshit and I’ll prove it with Maths” or “anyone stupid enough to use a nasogastric tube should be kept away from influencing our children forever, and be banned from (even half-arsed) TV shows” would be a bit too short for them I suspect.

  3. Valid as your opinion is, I’d be more impressed if you’d actually seen the segment. I’m pretty well informed about diet and nutrition, given that it’s one of my main journalistic interests. As I said above, I think it would have been preferable to invite a qualified dietitian, but the discussion was ultimately of as good a standard as I could hope. And if you’d like to put yourself forward as a guest for future editions, why not email some producers with the comments you’ve just thrown at me? I’m sure you’ll get exactly the response you deserve.

Comments are closed.