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The prac­tice of mask­ing eat­ing dis­or­ders with fad di­ets has be­come more ev­i­dent in re­cent years. Bri­tish celebrity cook Nigella Law­son, a critic of “clean eat­ing” di­ets that shun ev­ery day food­stuffs, spoke about the is­sue last De­cem­ber at Lon­don’s JW3 Speaker Se­ries. She said: “Peo­ple are us­ing cer­tain di­ets as a way to hide an eat­ing dis­or­der or a great sense of un­hap­pi­ness with their own body. “There is a way in which food is used to ei­ther self-con­grat­u­late - you’re a bet­ter per­son be­cause you’re eat­ing like that - or to self­per­se­cute, be­cause you’ll not al­low your­self to eat what you want.” Dr MK El Yousef, from the US-based Fair­winds Treat­ment Cen­tre, added: “What makes some eat­ing dis­or­ders dif­fi­cult to di­ag­nose is that many peo­ple de­fine a dis­or­der only by its symp­toms. “How­ever, in­di­vid­u­als don’t have to ap­pear ema­ci­ated to be suf­fer­ing from a harm­ful, some­times crip­pling dis­ease. “Many peo­ple are suc­cess­ful at mask­ing their eat­ing dis­or­ders by claim­ing that their di­ets have sim­ply been suc­cess­ful, even though they are ac­tu­ally suf­fer­ing from anorexia or bu­limia.”

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