The other day I heard a radio 4 interview with the well-known comedienne Joan Rivers, on her attitudes towards food and life-long battle with her weight.
In this extremely candid interview she revealed that her usual diet consisted of Cherios with some kind of cream substitute for breakfast, two diet ice cream sandwiches for lunch, cooked chicken with cottage cheese and tomato for a snack and fish for dinner. Yes that's right ... Ice cream sandwiches for lunch! This was down to the fact they tasted good and were less than 300 calories together.
Although Joan is an extreme case I think her example illustrates a common fear, particularly in women, of food in relation to weight gain and the bizarre eating habits this can lead to. Celebrity diets reported in the media exacerbate the problem - often dangerously low calorie and with insufficient variety to provide a full range of vitamins and minerals. Joan herself attributed the fact she is still fit and well to the 36 different nutritional supplements she takes daily (and I thought I was bad)!
Very restrictive diets are often counter-productive, leading the body to think it is in famine, slowing the metabolism and leading to more fat storage. The sad truth is that Joan, along with millions of other dieters out there, could probably eat a much more varied and enjoyable diet without gaining weight, but will probably never try due to a fear of food and mistaken obsession with calories.