Channel 4’s Secret Eaters shows how ‘dieters’ pile on the weight
5th March 2013
foodHave you ever begun a ‘diet’ and after a while found you are still not losing the extra weight. More often than not, this failure is blamed on an apparent ‘slow metabolism’ - a mythical logic that has previously been dissected by Medical Specialists Pharmacy. However, a new Channel 4 show to be aired later this month called ‘Secret Eaters’ has decided to explore the day-to-day eating habits of people complaining of slow or non-existent weight loss in order to find possible reasons why. The results seem to be far more transparent than first thought. The main problem appears to be when people snack during the course of the day – sometimes even unaware or oblivious to it, often eating a lot more than they think. Secret Eaters, presented by Anna Richardson, documents every single bite of food taken by the show’s participants via secretly concealed video cameras in their homes. If this wasn’t interesting enough for viewers, when the participants decide to venture out from their house, two private detectives trail them and take photographs of them eating any ‘bad’ calorific food such as takeaways, crisps and fizzy drinks. After five days of the hidden video cameras recording them and the private detective’s espionage trying to catch them in the act, Anna Richardson leads the dieters into the ‘Incident Room’ in which all their food intake – however good or bad – is laid out before their eyes and demonstrates the damning evidence explaining their lack of successful weight loss. The Secret Eater’s dietician Lynne Garton explains: “You can see the look of astonishment on their faces when they see the food they’ve actually consumed. They have no idea. Snacks can add up to more than 500 calories a day but too often people get distracted by their busy lives and forget the chocolate bar or biscuit they ate earlier and it soon mounts up. Cutting out those calories can lead to a 1lb loss per week.” The first episode of the series show Stephanie and Lauren Spearman, sisters who are both struggling to lose weight. Stephanie, 23, lives on a diet of junk food, while Lauren, 28, is in training for the London Marathon despite still consuming alcohol and chocolate. After cameras had recorded their snacking habits, the sisters realised the shocking reality of their situation that if they had carried on as they were, each would have gained over 2st within just six months. Stephanie, a sales manager for High Street chain Matalan, tipped the scales at 12st 6lb when she first contacted the show. The hours she worked meant she regularly skipped eating breakfast but would snack on biscuits or cakes prior to lunch. The work vending machine meant she had easy access to high calorie snacks and fizzy drink. This all added to the calories from takeaways Stephanie often ate, meaning that on some days her daily intake was around 4,000 – incredibly this is double the recommended calorie intake for women. Dietician Lynne comments: “Millions turn to the latest fad for a quick fix but to lose weight long-term requires a change in eating habits. Eating three meals a day and snacking only on healthy foods such as fruit can be all that’s needed to lose weight.” Between them the sisters have lost 21lbs since the programme reinvigorated their dietary choices and Stephanie says: “We feel so much better since we’ve replaced sugary drinks with fizzy water, swapped crisps for fruit, and burgers for healthy sandwiches. I’ve managed to save £100 a month by not buying ready-meals and sugary snacks. We’re losing weight and we’re not even on a diet.”