Health & Fitness Zac Efron's 'relatable' pasta moment sparks conversation about eating disorders and body image
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© Denise Renée Schuster - Foodlovin ' Vegan asparagus pasta from Foodlovin' Denise Renée Schuster - Foodlovin ' Enough spaghetti with tomato sauce? Tired of the same salad forever? Cooking in the home office can quickly become monotonous - especially if you try to feel your way to healthy eating. We know someone who knows something about cooking and healthy eating. Denise runs the very successful Foodlovin 'blog and is a home office professional.
Trigger warning: eating disorders
When actor Zac Efron dropped a surprise Netflix travel show about sustainable living, people were pleasantly surprised.
Titled Down To Earth, the documentary follows Efron travelling to countries like Iceland and Costa Rica to learn about wellness, living in an environmentally friendly way and enjoying pasta.
It’s the latter moment, which occurs when Efron visits Sardinia, Italy, to make his own pasta, that has set the internet alight.
Here's why you shouldn't put oil in pasta water ... And they won't be sticky
Cooking pasta is quite an art ... And they will be tastier still by following a few cooking tips. The drizzle of olive oil in pasta water is useless ... Here's why. © iStock Olive oil for cooking pasta in water is useless. The pasta … Everyone has their own trick for cooking. There are those who follow the recommendations written on the package to the letter and the team that relies on its instincts.
As he chows down on a big bowl of the starchy stuff, Efron speaks about a period in his life when he didn’t eat carbohydrates and becomes visibly emotional.
Zac Efron almost being moved to tears by pasta is the most relatable thing I’ve ever seen on television— Laura (@ElleEmSee)
“I’m so happy I’m eating carbs again,” the 32-year-old says, continuing:
I went years without eating carbs.
When I shot Baywatch, I didn’t have a carb for six months. I almost lost my mind.
You… you need this.
I still can’t get over how this diet of carbs and low protein is the exact opposite of everything any trainer has ever taught me.
In a tweet that has racked up nearly 300,000 likes, Twitter user @ElleEmSee posted screenshots of the scene, writing alongside it:
Quick recipe: Orecchiette with salmon and asparagus
Your mouth will water! This recipe for salmon and asparagus pasta is child's play and tastes really refreshing © ddp images Whether fresh salmon or smoked salmon: This pasta recipe is a pleasure ddp images In summer we don't want lunch dishes that are heavy on the stomach, but prefer the light kitchen.
Zac Efron almost being moved to tears by pasta is the most relatable thing I’ve ever seen on television.
But others think that the scene – and its relatability – has more worrying undercurrents.
People with experience of eating disorders spoke up to say they’d had very similar reactions during their recoveries.
People who haven’t gone through EDs wont really understand, but I still clearly remember eating my first vegan pizza and pancakes. I cried, the emotions were just so much, and my mom was so confused. The problem is that these thoughts never really go away.— StreamRenjunfoolscover (@Blondetaeyongi1)
That's not to say anyone who reacts in such a way will have experienced an eating disorder of course. Nor would we want to speculate as to whether that's Efron background or not. But it's definitely sparked conversation for people.
Some have argued that Efron’s tears at eating pasta are only ‘relatable’ because so many people have likely restricted their eating, as Efron spoke about doing himself.
Spaghetti with Creamy Meat Sauce
This simple meat sauce will persuade you to ditch the jarred stuff for good. Yields: 4 servingsPrep Time: 5 minsTotal Time: 30 minsIngredients450 g spaghettiextra-virgin olive oil450 g beef minceSaltFreshly ground black pepper2 garlic cloves, crushed1 onion, chopped60 mL dry red wine1 tsp. dried oregano1 tbsp. tomato paste2 (400g) can chopped tomatoes 180 mL double cream50 g freshly grated ParmesanFresh basil, for garnishDirectionsBring an 8-litre stock pot of water to a boil and generously season with salt. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Reserve 240ml pasta water.
People also used the opportunity to speak about the sometimes forgotten fact that men can often suffer in silence because eating disorders and body dysmorphia can be missed in young men, so normalised are unachievable male body types.
Tw / ED
it’s so important to bring up that men deal with body issues eating disorders and body dysmorphia as well extreme dieting etc like when it comes to men it gets overlooked so often not tryna to label Zac Efron but just saying in general cus this made me sad for him— ????-???????????? ????????????????????⁷⁷ (@fIeurjaehyun)
In fact, Efron himself was recently labelled as having a “dad bod” (meaning slightly ‘out of shape and doughy’ – aka standard) for not being as ripped as he has been in the past.
This obviously .
Efron has also gone on record talking about how unrealistic his ripped physique is for most people – even himself.
last year about his Baywatch body, he said:
That’s too big.
For guys, that’s unrealistic. I’m telling you. I got very big and buff for that movie, but I don’t want people to think that’s the best way to be.
Classic Pasta Salad
© Provided by SevenCooks Quick Info: 548 kcal Simply 25 minutes Pasta Salads shouldn't be missing from any grill party or buffet! They are prepared in no time, can be prepared well and in the end everyone likes to grab them. Pasta salad is also a great remnant food.
Like, be your size… I don’t want to glamorise this.
The actor also said he “never” wants to be that ripped again.
Appearing on YouTube show in April, he told host Sean Evans that it made him too fixated on his appearance.
“That was actually a really important time to do Baywatch,” Efron revealed.
Because I realised when I was done with that movie I don’t ever want to be in that good of shape again.
Really. It was so hard. You’re working with almost no wiggle room. You’ve got things like water under your skin you’re worrying about. Making your six-pack into a four-pack. S**t like that that’s just not… it’s just stupid, it’s just not real.
What is real is eating well and healthily, doing exercise for yourself, not for an unattainable ideal and feeling good about your body.
Plus pasta; pasta is very real (and delicious).
If you have been affected by any of the issues mentioned in this story, visit for further help and advice.
Bridget Jones Was Never Overweight .
This week, Alex Light's Instagram post went viral after she talked about how the film's obsession with weight fed into her own unhealthy relationship with food and did little to help her self-esteem.I used to feel a hot flush of panic and disgust wash over me when I saw Bridget Jones’ weight flash up on the screen - it was almost a stone less than mine, and I was 13. Riddled with shame and embarrassment, I silently vowed to stick to my diet - Atkins, at the time - better. No carbs for me.