<p>Dame Prue Leith at the Virgin Media British Academy Television Awards 2019</p>

Dame Prue Leith at the Virgin Media British Academy Television Awards 2019

Prue Leith says ‘perhaps’ she’ll stop talking about calories after eating disorder backlash

Eating disorder charity BEAT has warned the presenter that her catchphrase may be ‘triggering’ for some

Saman Javed
Monday 20 December 2021 01:40

Great British Bake Off presenter Dame Prue Leith has said she is considering abandoning the use of her catchphrase after it was criticised by viewers and eating disorder charities.

The 81-year-old regularly asks contestants whether their baked treats are “worth the calories” before taking a bite.

In the latest episode of BBC’s Desert Island Discs, Leith said eating disorder charity BEAT had urged her not to use the phrase.

“I don’t know why I say it. It’s just an expression of how much I love something, ‘Oh, this is worth every calorie’, I’ll say,” she explained.

“Beat, they are a charity that tries to tackle eating disorders. They say that I mustn’t say it because people then, who have an eating disorder feel guilty, they feel unhappy, and so they’ll eat more.

“So perhaps I’ll stop saying it,” she added.

Leith’s use of the catchphrase has been criticised on social media, with some users describing it as “harmful”.

“PLEASE could someone tell Prue that ‘worth every calorie’ is a harmful sentiment that she should really not be making into a catchphrase?” one Twitter user said.

Another wrote: “The way Prue Leith ‘jokes’ about how fatty [or] calorific the bakers’ food is totally destroys GBBO.

“Every time she says some beautiful, rich, chocolatey dessert is ‘worth the calories’ I come closer to turning it off forever.”

In October, BEAT warned Channel 4, which airs the baking competition, that mentions of calories can be “triggering” to those who are vulnerable to eating disorders or suffering from one.

The charity estimates that around 1.25 million people in the UK have an eating disorder.

“Talk of food being ‘worth the calories’ is very unhelpful,” Tom Quinn, BEAT’s external affairs director told Mail Online at the time.

“We would strongly encourage Channel 4 to be conscious about the way food and exercise is discussed, for instance not mentioning calories or specific weights, in order to protect their audience.”

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