Really, Giada?

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Recently a news story came across my radar about Food Network chef and TV personality Giada de Laurentiis. According to an article by Fox News, a source on de Laurentiis’ show Giada at Home insists that the real secret to how Giada maintains her size 2 figure is not by “eating in moderation,” as the chef has often stated. Instead, the source reports that Giada refuses to actually eat any of the food she prepares on her show. But what about all of the scenes in which she takes a bite of the delicious food she prepares during the show? According to the source, Giada has a “dump bucket” on hand to spit out every bite she takes on TV.

Needless to say, I was disturbed to read about this. While I am not insinuating that Giada has an eating disorder, the act of chewing and spitting out one’s food is actually an eating disorder behavior that a number of my patients admit to engaging in. The individual who chews and spits out her food is trying to get the flavor of the foods she deems “unhealthy” without having to ingest the calories.

In every interview with Giada that I’ve read, the subject of her weight comes up. Of course, it’s not terribly surprising that these questions are asked since she is a chef who prepares decadent meals and desserts and yet manages to stay stick thin. And I guess I can’t blame her for her standard answer of “I eat a little bit of everything and not a lot of anything. Everything in moderation.” I mean, who wants to hear that a TV chef actually never eats her own creations on the show? And spitting out one’s food isn’t something that most people would admit to.

It makes me sad that Giada feels the need to do this. Given our fat phobic culture, I imagine she must feel a lot of pressure to stay thin as a TV personality. My guess is that if she actually did eat at least some of the food she prepared on the show, her figure wouldn’t be much different. Genes play a huge role in weight, and eating a few extra bites shouldn’t affect her waistline dramatically. It also makes me think of Paula Deen and how ruthlessly she has been attacked for her weight and “unhealthy” cooking style. I wonder how Paula would be viewed if it was discovered that she also has a “dump bucket.” Would she be praised for her “restraint?”

More than anything, I worry that stories like Giada’s will start a troubling new trend among young girls trying to “stay skinny.” No matter what, chewing and spitting out one’s food for the purposes of weight control is not a healthy behavior. Hopefully this will not catch on as the new weight loss “solution.”

4 thoughts on “Really, Giada?

  1. I’m not sure when this article was posted. I’ve been watching Giada and Bobby this season…2017 and I’m really concerned with Giada’s appearance. It’s pretty obvious that she has an eating disorder. Isn’t anyone at Food Network concerned?? The fact that she has a “dump bucket” is very worrisome, but the fact that the network allows this is even more worrisome! Please consider getting her the help she needs. She is a beautiful woman, 20 additional pounds would make her even more beautiful.

    • While I’m sure it is tempting to assume Giada has an eating disorder (ED) due to her appearance, I would be careful about making such an assumption. Weight does not equal health and just because she looks “too thin” does not mean Giada is sick, it could just be where her weight settles naturally. Another thing to consider would be whether she has a medical condition or issue going on in her life that could result in an unnaturally low weight for her. People struggling with cancer treatment, GI disorders and the like can find it very difficult to eat, which can result in unintentional weight loss. Similarly, stress from life situations such as divorce or losing a loved one can affect appetite. Finally, suggesting that she gain 20 lbs to make her more beautiful is missing the point. EDs are not about vanity – they are a mental illness that is very serious. Telling someone to gain weight so they look better minimizes the seriousness of EDs.

  2. if you have seen Giada lately she looks sickly terrible toothpick thin, old, her hair is thin and super dry…there is nothing left of her ….I don’t know why the food network doesn’t step in

    • If Giada’s change in appearance is due to nutritional deficiencies, I would hope that her physician would help her figure it out – I’m not sure that the Food Network could really do anything about it. But we can’t be sure that this is what is going on with her, as she could have a medical or stressful life issue that we are unaware of.

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