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‘Diet Culture’ is Causing Eating Disorders

‘Diet Culture’ sensationalizes losing weight, and only gives representation to a small percentage of the size spectrum. © 2018 Natalie Maier

Click play to hear more about why eating disorder specialists think ‘diet culture’ can be dangerous. 

Audio Transcript: Eating Disorders Caused by ‘Diet Culture’

By Natalie Maier SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – More than 214,000 people have signed an online petition to stop Netflix’s show “Insatiable.” Those who have signed feel the show contains triggers for people who suffer or have suffered from eating disorders, and will perpetuate a negative message about body image.

Pop culture moments like these are what local eating disorder educator Holly Lowery calls “diet culture”. Lowery works as an educator and ambassador for Ophelia’s Place, an Eating Disorder Treatment Service in Liverpool, N.Y.

“We are steeping in what’s called ‘diet culture’,” Lowery said. “It’s everywhere. It’s on the cereal box that we start our morning with to the TV show we end our night with.”

Lowery said many of the patients she sees have been directly affected by pop culture that sensationalizes being thin. And many feel “Insatiable” does exactly that. Actress Debby Ryan wears a fat suit in order to play the first portion of the role, before her character loses weight.

Lowery said casting decisions like these continue to give a voice to “normal-bodied” people, and fail to represent other bodies on the spectrum.

“Sixty-seven percent of women live in somewhere between size 14 and up. But they’re only represented in 2 percent of our media. That’s pretty much all that needs to be said about what pop culture says our bodies are supposed to look like,” Lowery said.

Netflix has acknowledged the petition, but says it still plans to air the show on August 10, 2018. The petition is still gaining signatures on Change.org.