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People Are Raging At Fred Sirieix's New BBC Show

People Are Raging At Fred Sirieix's New BBC Show

A new food-based TV show hosted by First Dates maître d' Fred Sirieix and Dr Zoe Williams has come under fire from viewers for its controversial premise.

Titled The Restaurant That Burns Off Calories, the programme aired last night as part of BBC Two's Horizon.

The programme showed restaurant diners tucking into meals before a secret gym team of fitness experts revealed how many calories they had consumed, and how much exercise was needed to burn them off.

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The show was intended to give insight into "the latest research into the science of calories", looking at our metabolisms and the differences in how men and women burn calories.

The BBC Two programme showed restaurant diners tucking into meals before fitness experts revealed how many calories they had consumed (Credit: BBC Two)
The BBC Two programme showed restaurant diners tucking into meals before fitness experts revealed how many calories they had consumed (Credit: BBC Two)

But the programme came under fire from enraged viewers who criticised the show format for being "irresponsible", "out of touch" and "triggering".

One angry Twitter user wrote: "It's taken me nearly 10 years that it's ok to eat food and to not punish myself with exercise after eating said food. TV shows like BBC Two's The Restaurant That Burns Calories is so out of touch and insensitive [sic]."

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"Absolutely disgusting that BBC are airing a programme that basically encourages eating disorders," said another. "ESPECIALLY at a time when people are staying home so likely to be struggling with eating, exercising, body image & self worth."

A third fumed: "The restaurant that burns off calories on bbc is absolutely grim, people can eat whatever the f*** they like. We shouldn't be made to feel like we need to 'earn' our food."

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Eating disorder charity Beat was so concerned by the programme's premise that it not only actively discouraged people from watching the show but also offered support for anyone impacted by the show through its online support group The Sanctuary.

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The charity tweeted: "We strongly discourage anyone with an #eatingdisorder to watch the BBC programme The Restaurant That Burns Off Calories airing tonight," adding that they would "keep their online support group open" for anyone affected.

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Chef, food writer and former Great British Bake Off contestant Ruby Tandoh also criticised the ill-advised show.

"It horrifies me that the BBC would think this is remotely responsible programming at any time, let alone now," she tweeted.

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"It is SO well established by now that this kind of focus on numbers (minutes exercised, calories in, calories out) feeds into disordered eating. we deserve better."


Well said, Ruby.

In a statement addressing the reaction to the show, the BBC said: "The intention of the programme was to give viewers information about the latest research into the science of calories, about why our bodies need them and how our bodies use them.

"In particular, it looked at recent studies by academics in both the US and the UK, which suggest that diners may make healthier choices when presented with information about how much activity is required to burn off the calorie content of dishes.

Viewers were left angered by the programme's
Viewers were left angered by the programme's

"The voiceover is clear throughout that there are government guidelines for the recommended number of calories needed for the average man or woman to remain healthy (2500 for men and 2000 for women).

"The programme never endorses or suggests restricting calories below these levels."

Eating disorder charity Beat's helpline for those aged 18 and over is 0808 801 0677. There's also a dedicated Youthline for those under 18, which can be reached on 0808 801 0711.

Featured Image Credit: BBC Two

Topics: TV News, Zoe Williams

Mary-Jane Wiltsher

Mary-Jane Wiltsher is a freelance lifestyle and culture journalist. Elsewhere she writes for Stylist, Euronews, PHOENIX and What We Seee.