Nutrition and eating disorders

If you are looking for support from an eating disorders service, you are likely struggling with your diet and unsure what changes to make. If you have been referred to our service or you are concerned about your diet, read the points below and start working towards these to help ensure that your diet is safe and protects your physical health.

Below are important points we would ask anyone entering our service to work towards:

  • Begin taking an A-Z multivitamin daily: This is essential as when people are restricting their diets they are likely to be missing out on key vitamins and minerals essential to keep the body healthy. Specific minerals found in the multivitamin (potassium, magnesium and phosphate) will help your body adjust to having an increased diet so are essential for recovery. When buying a multivitamin supermarket or pharmacy own brand is fine, it does not need to be expensive.
  • Regular meal pattern: We would encourage anyone struggling with their diet to have a regular meal pattern. This involves eating meals that are appropriate portions at set times each day even if you do not feel hungry. If you are struggling with your diet we would advise you to start by aiming to have an appropriate breakfast, lunch and dinner each day. If you are managing this you should aim to add in snacks between meals to help build a regular intake.
  • Ensure you are not excluding any whole food groups: All nutrients play an important role in supporting the body to function. If you are concerned about your diet it is important that you are including foods from all food groups in your diet. You should ensure that all meals contain a source of carbohydrates, protein and fat
    • Carbohydrates (bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, chapatti etc.) are essential as they are the main fuel used by your body and the primary fuel used by your brain,
    • Protein (meat, fish, eggs, Quorn, tofu, nuts etc.) is essential for building muscle and carrying out repairs around the body. 
    • Fat (oil, butter, avocado, mayo etc.) is essential as it provides fat-soluble vitamins, is used to make enzymes and hormones and repairs your skin and cells
  • Fluid: It is essential that you are aiming to drink a minimum of 1500mls of fluid per day. Drinking less than this can be harmful as you risk becoming dehydrated, especially in the summer months. It is also a concern as if you are not drinking enough your kidneys will not have enough fluid to excrete the waste products of the body leading to a build-up of these toxins. If you are struggling with drinking try asking those around you to encourage you to drink or set reminders on your phone to remind you to drink a small amount every 30 minutes.

Vomiting and dental health

Vomiting and be harmful to your dental health as the stomach acid regurgitated can erode your teeth causing dental issues. If you are struggling with vomiting the best thing you can do to protect your dental health is to work on reducing how often you are vomiting.

If you struggle with stopping vomiting the below points can help you protect your teeth:

  • DO NOT brush your teeth after vomiting: while you may feel the urge to brush your teeth after vomiting please do not. The acid brought into your mouth by vomiting can weaken the enamel of your teeth. Brushing when this enamel is weakened can brush the weakened enamel away harming your teeth. You should wait an hour after vomiting to brush your teeth
  • DO  rinse your mouth out with a high fluoride mouthwash as the high fluoride content will help replenish the enamel of your teeth protecting them.  You can also rinse your mouth out with a teaspoon of baking soda in water as this will help neutralize the acid on your teeth protecting them from further damage
  • If possible try to rinse your mouth with mouthwash or baking soda in water before rinsing your mouth out with water. This is because if you rinse your mouth out with water first you will be spreading a diluted form of the acid around your teeth possibly damaging them further

If you struggle with vomiting please seek support from your dentist as they will be able to help support you further in protecting your teeth from further damage.