Im a Celebs Bushtucker Trials food have clear health risks, dietician warns

I'm a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! fans were left ecstatic earlier this week, as presenting duo Ant and Dec headed into Wales for another series of the iconic reality show.

Preparations are well underway at Gwyrch Castle in North Wales, since Covid-19 restrictions meant the show couldn't return to the Australian jungle for another year.

The celeb line-up – which is as yet unknown – are in for the usual host of tricks and tribulations, and none are more challenging than the Bushtucker Trials… or are they?

Daily Star Online chatted to two nutritional experts on what exactly the castle diet of purely rice and beans would do to a person's body – as well as how the food-themed Bushtucker Trials would affect our health.

Roxane Bakker, a registered dietician and Head of Nutrition at Vitl, warned there are "clear risks" involved for any celebs who do decide to step up to the plate.

Speaking of the trials, which tend to involve such delicacies as kangaroo testicles, cockroaches and witchetty grubs, Roxane's initial words didn't bode well.

"The impact of eating animal organs that aren’t typically found in the western diet will depend more so on the quantity of which they’re being eaten; as with many foods in our diet, too much of anything is never good," she explained.

"There are some clear risks to bear in mind, such as eating liver or kidneys which carry a huge build-up of toxins."

TV nutritionist Gillian McKeith certainly seemed aware of those risks, as during her own eating trial way back in 2010, she managed just one of the five dishes on offer to win stars for camp.

Beside Happy Mondays star Shaun Ryder, Gillian insisted: "I need you to know that I'm vegan so I won't eat any insects.

"It goes against everything I believe in so I'm just not going to do it. I have tried very hard but I'm definitely not going to eat an insect."

However, there are also plenty of benefits to the eating trials, as Roxane added: "However, some body parts are actually very nutrient dense. Most of the Bushtucker dishes are very high in protein such as crickets, crocodile meat and pig’s tongue, which have a high amount of vitamins and minerals."

And Dr Sunni Patel, scientist-clinician and gut health coach, said: " These are delicacies already consumed by natives of particular countries. Though they aren’t consumed by the general masses these obscure foods are sources of protein and wouldn’t cause severe harm.

"Kangaroo meat for example is a lean protein (22g per 100g) and a rich source of B vitamins for energy production."

He added: "Fish eyes provide some sources of lutein and zeaxanthin, vitamins C and E, and omega-3 fatty acids important antioxidants and sources of good fats but with the amount eaten it would seem to have nothing more than a flavour and texture benefit but can be consumed."

However, Sunni warned that subsisting on a diet of rice and beans if the celebs can't earn enough stars for camp, isn't a positive for gut health.

He explained: "The body thrives on variety and a balanced meal that helps to provide different sources of micronutrients is essential for normal functioning of the body.

"Though three weeks seems short and not sustainable beyond that for long term health, the rice and beans would provide short term sustenance in terms of sources of carbohydrates and protein with some fibre and micronutrients.

"It really is to help keep the body going and functioning but we have to be aware that with simple meals and carbohydrates, they won’t keep sugar levels stable and therefore will cause energy and mood spikes and lows.

"The lack of different plants and fibre could leave some feeling bloated, constipated and gassy as it’s not helping gut health diversity overall," he summarised.

The castle environment, meanwhile, can also alter our perception of taste.

Roxane explained that in the jungles of Australia, nutritional needs and how we satisfy our own palate can differ: "Changes in temperature can actually change our perception of taste.

"For example, if all else is equal, at hot temperatures bitter and sweet tastes should dominate salty and sour ones."

She continued: "As well as this, different environmental temperatures can indirectly affect nutritional needs. For example, if you’re hotter, you may experience a decrease in appetite while your body makes more effort to cool the body down instead.

"There’s not much evidence out there just yet to support this so more research needs to be done in this field."

And Dr Sunni added that this can lead to "exhaustion", elaborating: "I n these severe temperatures we tend to find our hunger is affected, which can further lead to calorie deficit, which in turn can worsen the symptoms of exhaustion.

"When it’s hot we feel we need to eat less and in the cold we want to eat more to feel warm and function."

As though the celebs didn't have enough to worry about with all the creepy crawlies, now they'd better keep half an eye on what they're consuming too.

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