The Impact of Calorie Labelling: Insights from the LEED Research Collective study

by | 5 Feb 2024 | Eating Disorders, Research | 1 comment

I am really happy to be back here with you after a significant period of transition in my life, including a move to Wales.  More details about these changes will come in future posts…. but for today, I’m keen to share with you an update on the research project I introduced over a year ago regarding calories on menus and its impact on individuals with Eating Disorders.

Just as a little refresher, in 2022, I co-founded the ‘Lived Experiences of Eating Disorders’ (LEED) Research Collective and the afore-mentioned project was our very first piece of research together as a team.  The findings from the study have been available online for a little while.  However, as this is now being published in the February issue of the Health Psychology Journal, now felt like the perfect time to share a short plain English summary.

In essence our study found that calories being placed prominently on menus creates significant challenges for those on the path to Eating Disorder recovery.  These challenges were not limited to the direct impact of making food choices and increased anxiety and fear, but also impacts on social relationships, exacerbating feelings of exclusion and further disconnection from one’s body. The findings echo existing concerns regarding the potential harm posed by such policies and this ‘war on obesity’.  Don’t forget, most people with Eating Disorders are not underweight – and so these policies may well be harming the people that the government believed them to be helping. 

In light of these findings, I want to encourage you when you are eating out to ask serving staff for a copy of the menu WITHOUT the calories printed on it.  The more people that ask for this, the more we can contribute to normalising doing so, and quietly show our objection to attempts to control our personal food choices.

For those interested in delving deeper into our study, I invite you to explore the full open access article in the Health Psychology journal.  Additionally, I want to express my gratitude to the 399 participants who generously shared their insights and experiences.

I will be continuing to contribute to research, as I’ve come to believe that dedicating this time is part of attempting to contribute to wider change.  Each study, each insight contributes to our collective understanding and gives us fuel to drive tangible change.

As we move forward, I’m curious to hear your thoughts.  Would providing plain English summaries of our research findings in the blog be helpful to you?  Your feedback is invaluable as we strive to make our research more accessible and impactful.

Thank you for your continued support and engagement.

1 Comment

  1. Sam

    Thank you for doing this important research


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Kel O'Neill

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