Why people are furious at the BBC's The Restaurant That Burns Off Calories

Why people are furious at the BBC's The Restaurant That Burns Off Calories

A new BBC show aired last night, where unsuspecting diners are invited to eat a meal while a secret team of athletes, and then have to burn off every single calorie consumed at an onsite gym in the name of the “latest science research” on exercise.

People are not impressed.

Hosted by Extraordinary Places to Eat host Fred Sirieix and GP Zoe Williams, the duo open a restaurant for this so-called groundbreaking stunt, which suggests that “when we are shown the astonishing amount of exercise required to remove excess calories from our bodies, we choose to eat up to 20 per cent less,” according to the programme.

The programme is called The Restaurant That Burns Off Calories and aired on Monday evening as a Horizon special, but quickly sparked intense backlash across social media for a variety of reasons.

Here are some of the main criticisms.

People say it promotes disordered eating

“Exercise is a celebration of what your body can achieve – not punishment for what you've eaten,” one user wrote in response to a program that explains that: “The 495-calorie calamari starter demands a punishing hour and 12 minutes on the rowing machine.”

"This is a really horrible idea for so many reasons. we desperately need programming that celebrates the nuanced joy of cooking & dining, not the same 'human must earn food through punishing exercise," Beth McColl responded.

Charities say the show is irresponsible and "appalling"

Beat, an UK eating disorder charity, got involved in the discussion saying they would be keeping their online peer support group open late.

We're all in lockdown, so this just adds insult to injury

"Seriously? We're on a lockdown; I can't get to the gym; there's enough tension around not being able to get safe foods... I think this needs a rethink," one user tweeted referencing the anxiety of being in coronavirus lockdown.

If anyone has been affected by the issues raised in “The Restaurant That Burns Off Calories”, Beat’s Helpline is available 365 days a year on 0808 801 0677.

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