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Dr Max Pemberton: I treat the Instagram food influencers with eating disorders

The medical doctor and psychiatrist, who worked in front-line NHS addiction clinics for a decade, on treating famous Instagram food influencers privately battling eating disorders yet being powerless to curb their social media feeds that bore no resemblance to reality
Dr Max Pemberton
Dr Max Pemberton

Dr Max Pemberton is medical doctor, journalist and author. He works full-time as a psychiatrist in the National Health Service, specialising in eating disorders and addiction. He has written multiple best-selling books, including Trust me, I’m A (Junior) Doctor; Where Does it Hurt?; and The Marvellous Adventure of Being Human. He lives in London, England. Follow him on X. Visit maxpemberton.com.

“The clean-eating craze is an eating disorder”

In a decade of running National Health Service clinics treating patients with severe eating disorders, medical doctor and psychiatrist Dr Max Pemberton treated a number of very high profile Instagram food influencers.

Patient confidentially tied his hands at the time, but now he can reveal his frustration that these social media personalities continued to post prodigiously about food, nutrition, recipes and “healthy” diet strategies to their hundreds of thousands of admiring followers, despite privately battling crippling eating disorder issues and having entirely dysfunctional relationships with food.

Dr Pemberton’s front-line experience paints a heart-breaking picture of our current social media world in which unqualified influencers who happen to look the part, or know how to create compelling content, wield enormous power and influence over young, impressionable and insecure people who are primed to absorb ill-advised comments and advice from people in no position to give it.

Trust Me, I’m a (Junior) Doctor by Dr Max Pemberton (£10.99, Hodder) is out now.

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