'Some do coke. Others do ciggies instead of eating'... Who do you mean, Beth?

The singer insists that, though fat, she is not unhealthy, and challenges the belief that skinny people are healthier.

Beth Ditto, the larger- than-life lead singer of the Gossip, has charged into battle with her size-challenged sisters. Forced to defend her weight once too often, Ditto cracked last week and launched an attack on the conventional belief that it is healthier to be thin.

Although she is several belt notches bigger than the average, size-16, British woman, this is no reason to believe she is unhealthy, Ditto declared. Her ample size-28 frame puts her firmly in the red danger zone of a body-mass-index chart, but Ditto insisted: "I'm not an unhealthy person and... one of the most tiring parts of being fat and being proud of it is... you do a lot of proving yourself all the time."

She added: "It's really interesting to me that people will look at a thin person and go, 'That's a healthy person'. I want to go: 'Come, open my refrigerator and look, and then let's talk about what you think is so bad.' To be thin and to stay really thin... some people literally do coke all the time. Some people smoke cigarettes instead of eating. That's crazy. But that's OK, because you look healthier."

And looking healthier is not enough, doctors have found. MRI body scans have shown that even thin people can have major internal fat deposits surrounding vital organs such as the heart, liver or pancreas. The most vulnerable are those who starve themselves thin because a look in the mirror convinces them they are healthy. Some doctors fear that being fat inside is just as dangerous as the more obvious external fat covering Ditto.

The Gossip singer's tirade, captured in an interview with the broadcaster Fearne Cotton, went right to the heart of the size-zero controversy that has dogged the fashion world in recent years. Campaigners, worried about the toll that being slim takes on models' bodies, have tried to persuade designers to avoid anyone who looks dangerously thin. But with even Mark Fast, the Canadian who kicked up a storm by using plus-sized models a year ago, having only one larger woman in his show last week, it is clear that the skinny aesthetic still dominates. Not that there isn't a demand for larger sizes. The launch of Ditto's second collection for Evans, the plus-sized retailer, last week prompted a global frenzy for her designs from so-called fatshionistas.

The skinny woman's view

Kate Moss The stick-thin model, who was snapped wearing the tiniest of leather hot pants last week, will never live down her admission that one of her personal mottoes was "Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels".

The starver's view

Elizabeth Hurley The actress wrote in a tweet earlier this summer that she broke every nutritional rule in the book by never eating breakfast. "Woken up to sunshine and lots of my best friends. Watching them eat pain au chocolat. Me drinking hot water," she tweeted.

The eater's view

Ashley Greene The Twilight actress spoke for many when she said recently: "A lot of people like to be super-tiny, but I don't want a child's body – I want a woman's body that is extremely fit. It's so much sexier. I'm a big believer in feeding your body what it needs. Deny yourself something and you're going to end up shoving your face full of it."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: HR Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are in need of a HR Manage...

h2 Recruit Ltd: Business Development Manager - HR Consultancy - £65,000 OTE

£35000 - £40000 per annum + £65,000 OTE: h2 Recruit Ltd: London, Birmingham, M...

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'